It’s never too late to change your career.

The thought of making a career change in mid-life can be a cause for much stress and anxiety. You may know in your heart that you wish to change the course of your life, but it can be a daunting prospect, especially after having spent years doing one thing. Talking to a counsellor can help you decide which part of your career you have enjoyed so far and work out a new course for your life. But even if you know what is it that you want to do, sometimes you might need a little push before you can actually take the plunge. Professional counselling can help overcome the fears and anxiety associated with big life decisions and help you move forward in life.

How come we find it so difficult?

For some of us, there comes a point in life, where you feel burnt out and just know that you want to change course. You know that you have put in as much as you can and got as much as you could out of your current activity, and that it is time to move on. It is surprising how many people have this feeling, but decide not to act on it. Very few people actually pay heed to their instinct and take the big step to start a new career. This is largely due to fear – fear of the unknown and fear of whether they will be up to it.

Tough economic conditions, increasing job cuts and redundancies and unending spending cuts mean that many of us have to change careers at a time that we were least expecting, let alone, prepared to do it. Having to start from scratch after years of hard work doing something else, can cause a big blow to one’s self confidence and even self esteem. Having to face your own personal fears and tackle the realities of day-to-day life at the same time can make the problem appear even larger than it really is. Talking to someone about this or seeking professional counselling can help externalise the problem and put things in perspective.

Knowing our strengths as well as our limitations

It is said that people become less and less flexible as they grow older, not necessarily physically, but mentally. It seems difficult to conquer ones perceived limitations and fears after a certain stage in life, and this is why the thought of a career change after a certain age can be so intimidating.

Getting out there and finding the perfect new career based on your skills and interests requires confidence and motivation, and the ability to overcome fear. A big life decision such as this can often leave you feeling lost, not knowing where to start and what to make of your feelings.

Counselling can help deal with these factors and help streamline the process of embarking on a new path.

Loss of confidence is often the biggest factor that plays into people’s aversion to a career change. Starting afresh is often wrongly viewed as failure, when in fact, the very act of starting something new means you are not giving up, but people seldom realise this. It usually takes another person to help us get a more complete picture of ourselves. Even if starting over may not be personally viewed as failure, there is a lurking fear that society views it as such, which stops us from taking action.

Could Counselling be useful?

Counselling can facilitate an understanding of what success means to you as an individual, and what signifies success. It can help you develop an understanding of yourself and what is important to you.

Understanding your own version of success is a key factor in building the confidence to change your career. Often societal norms and expectations can bog an individual down as they create anxiety and fear. The pressure of having to achieve and conforming to a prescribed form of success can stop one from achieving or even trying to achieve all that they are capable of. But in order to even have a chance of being successful in a new venture it is absolutely necessary to go into it with a positive attitude. And for this, it is necessary to remove limiting psychological perceptions from your mind.

Counselling can help you see what exactly it is that you deem as success. It can help you make a clear distinction between what you personally want, and what you think is expected of you. By opening up and exploring your personal fears and concerns, you can begin to deal with them instead of just being confronted by them. Therapy and counselling are meant to provide a space for frank and open discussion, in a non judgemental and professional setting. This can be the perfect avenue to explore your personal limitations and to find ways to get around them in order to set off on a new career path.

Images on Creative Commons license courtesy of slightly everything, deanmeyersnet, SashaW

8 thoughts on “It’s never too late to change your career.

  1. Fantastic inspiring read, that lead me to question my own thoughts on career change this week and today I successfully got a job offer. The idea of changing career is certainly an anxious frightful time, even if you don’t realise it until later on in the process but as you have discussed it’s a move not to shy away from and I am happy to say I am glad I have, with the support of family and friends changed my career line. counselling is a great way to think and discuss ideas and possibilities. Thank you for your post.

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  2. I was curious as I see you are following me on Twitter – I scanned through & found this interesting post, which I was tempted to share as right now many in Probation are realising the job has been changed by the employer to be very different to how it was when they joined.

    Via the Internet (I am retired) I have been following the travails of probation bods and can see many are really unhappy or worse, so I try to support where I can.

    I wont be sharing your blog, because, though it contains wise words it is primarily (understandably) an advertisement for your services, with much repetition of suggestions that counselling may help – which it might – thogh the wisdom of your thoughts about job change might be submerged by the advertising.

    During my working life – I made several career changes at 19 when I left one employer for another in the same trade (bank clerking) because Idisapproved at how I was being treated

    At 22, when I realised what I really wanted to do (probation and social work).

    At 39 when I disapproved of how I was being managed and felt trapped when I needed a change of placement. – after filling in with temporary driving type jobs, I then did a locum social work job for about 6 months before returning to a new probation employer until enforced early retirement just before I was 55.

    My first priority of work was always simply to get an income to legally support me and my family – everything else was secondary. Early retirement was not welcomed – I was ‘burnt out’ and had not self managed well and been allowed to burnout by my employers who did not provide the support an addict who is motivated by the work task needs.

    It took me some while to adjust, I felt shame at early retirement and described my self as a pensioner who was open to work possibilities – for several years – until I realised I can survive adequately on my pension, so the drive for paid work left me.

    I write this – because I have the time – reflection is a sort of therapy, that helps put my current situation in context, it maybe of some help to others – that was the ‘driver’ that got me from banking to probation – to do something in my paid work, that I felt was worthwhile and so gave me a sense of satisfaction.

    However, in reading your blog and many comments elsewhere about folk dissatisfied with their existing work or even those who are unemployed – especially those with hidden disabilities (like me dyslexia/dyspraxia) I rarely get a sense that a basic need to be a (self) provider is what drives people to seek work in the first place. It seems to me if that is the driver, one will do just about anything that gives a greater income than one gets currently if unemployed or receiving an insufficient income. So on those, fortunately very few, occasions I have been without work, I have just searched the vacancies or gone round employment exchanges until something was available,

    I was once a rubbish porter in a departmental store (In an area of great unemployment – when I was merely between jobs) and on another occasion took the first locum social work job that was offered after in the interim taking the first driving job and just working for single days, until that led to a full week’s work. I guess I was fortunate as having started part time work as a 13 year old, I always had transferable employment skills, which I could then hawk around, until someone was prepared to pay to use them, if only for one day. That meant for one day I earned something more than nothing and consequently although on two occasions I was eleigible to receive what was then termed unemployment benefit – I earned more casually than permitted by by the benfit regulations, so never actually claimed a payment.

    I do realise I was very fortunate, for those without any employment history, in some localities it is very difficult to even get work delivering leaflets or collecting glasses in a pub, which is how I have known others get started. When I was a teenager and working part-time for my father’s then (sawdust) delivery business, I got to go to street markets and such like and realised there are folk who turn up looking for cash jobs to help set up and such-like. I do not sense that there are many who approach employment in such ways nowadays, nor advisers that say if you are without work and do not know what else to do, just go to the nearest place where money changes hands and say I am available now – it can and does lead to more opportunities, if you keep on going and think creatively. If a person sees a job that needs doing offer to do it for a fee, probably the worst that will happen is your offer will be refused, but even that is a learning experience – maybe that can be turned into a 5 minute comedy routine at club and so on and on and on!

    No response needed!

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