Changing Careers in Your 30s and 40s - 5 Myths

Bad day at work? We’ve all been there. But is it enough to make you want to take a totally different direction in your career? And are you brave enough to take that step? Allow us to inspire you by debunking the 5 biggest myths about changing careers in your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond. 

Are you having a mid-life career crisis?

Had a bad day, week or year at work? When you’re not feeling great about your job, it’s easy to daydream about a totally different career. After all, we spend more of our time at work than we do at home, so it should be something that’s more financially rewarding, mentally stimulating and something that gives us more satisfaction. 

If your ‘off day’ at work changes into a nagging feeling of unhappiness that simply won’t go away, you’re probably at the point where you need some sound change of career advice. According to a research by Vodafone,

the 31-35 age group is the most unhappy at work. When asked about their negative feelings towards their jobs, 59% of them said that they felt undervalued, while 49% were unfulfilled and 43% were demotivated. 

If so many of us are dissatisfied with our jobs, why don’t we take the brave step towards a career change? Is it because we worry that we’re not as young and promising as those fresh-faced graduates, or think that our home budget isn’t prepared to take the pay cut that comes with a career change? 

Here are some of the top myths about changing careers at 40, 50, 60 (or any age!). Once you know them inside out, you’ll be able to put them behind you and take your first step towards a better and happier future…

Wooden, blank sign post against a blue sky with clouds

You should know what you want to do with your life

Having a career change at 30 or changing jobs at 40 is completely normal. Chances are, you’ve wanted different careers at different stages of your life. Your university aspirations were probably very different to what you wanted to do at secondary school. Because let’s face it, deciding what you wanted to do for the next 50 years of your life when you were still at high school was always going to be tricky. Accept the fact that you’re constantly changing, and your interests and abilities grow with you. You don’t need an answer to what you should do for the rest of your life – no matter what age you are.

You're too old to change careers

One of the most popular myths about changing careers in your 30’s or 40’s is that you’re simply too old. Says who? Haven’t you read the story of our student Val who is currently studying her first degree at the age of 75

(yes, you read that right!)? Or heard the news about people who became millionaires in their 40’s? 

Alan Rickman didn’t get his first film role until he was 42. Stan Lee created his first hit comic, "The Fantastic Four," just shy of his 39th birthday. Milkshake device salesman Ray Kroc built the world’s biggest fast food franchise when he was 52 - that’s McDonald’s to you and me. When it comes to your aspirations, age really is just a number.

Your career is for the rest of your life

Something that many people falsely believe is that your career is something you should stick at forever, and changing jobs at 40 or 50 is a mistake. That might have been true 20 years ago, but times change – and so does the job market. The reality for most of us these days is that it’s completely normal to have had several complete career or job changes over a working lifetime. 

Though it’s not good for your resume to have multiple and frequent job changes, as long as you’re not hopping jobs every two years, a few career changes won’t hurt you (and will hopefully make you happier). 

You have to start over at the bottom

While you may not be able to move directly into a senior level position in your new field, don’t discount the amount of experience, skills, and talents you’ve developed throughout your current career. You have an arsenal of tools at your disposal in the form of skills – such as clear communication, tech savviness and time management - which are valuable attributes in any workplace. 

You must go back to school full-time

For most people wondering how to change careers at 30 or 40, the thought of going back to education full-time is one of the biggest considerations. We’ve already talked about the work experience that could get your foot in the door, but what if extra qualifications are necessary to grow your new career? The good news is, you can still make the change and keep earning money while gaining a qualification by attending seminars and completing your classes online in your spare time.

At Arden University, we offer both online and blended learning options, meaning you can fit your studies around any other commitments you have. So if part time is what works for you, we can make that happen! 

Better the devil you know?

The longer you choose to stay in a job you dislike, the more dissatisfied you’ll become, and the constant strain will start to have a big impact on all aspects of your life. You spend a massive chunk of your life at work – so don’t spend it being unhappy. 

Changing careers at 30 – or older – is made easy with Arden University. Ready to get started?