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Thread: Mid-life career change is it possible? is it a good idea?

  1. #1
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    Mid-life career change is it possible? is it a good idea?

    Well I'm still unemployed, looking hard for work but it's not looking very hopeful (not that it's 100% hopeless either of course). So what other alternative is there I guess but to do something entirely new.

    I know there are all sorts of huge obstacles one will likely hit trying to retrain for and change a career in mid-life (like huge age discrimination especially if just starting out in a career, it's one thing to start out in a new career in your 20s and 30s but ...). But this depends somewhat on what one switches to as well, some careers are maybe more open to people starting in them even if they are over 40 or 50 (I'm in my early 40s but after I retrained I certainly won't be any younger). Does anyone know what these careers might be?

    Also what would you consider if you were retraining? Yes of course one considers if there are jobs in the field. But again if there are hidden barriers like age to enter a new field these aren't easy to suss out. Also if a field REALLY ISN'T that great and doesn't have that many openings period compared to applicants, it isn't always that easy to tell by jobs ads either, because there might be job ads and an ok amount, but it might also be the case of employers being flooding with enough resumes that they are able to be EXTREMELY picky in who they actually consider (what I am encountering now to an almost absurd degree - the purple squirrel phenomena in full effect) so that almost noone even gets considered for an interview.

    If the problem was me screwing up interviews rather than the job market seeming very very very tough out there so that interviews are very sparse, then I wouldn't be thinking career change, but I am. It could be this part of the country isn't so hot for anything I've done, but I don't plan on relocation either (or I would relocate in the area perhaps but not moving cross country - my man and my mom are here what can I say). Yea training for a new career would be expensive, time consuming, and PLENTY risky as well, but it may be the best option.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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    Is there a way to repackage your skills into a new job where they would pay for the retraining?

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    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I went back to school in my mid-fifties to get certificates in technical writing and editing. My career trajectory was on point--I had a paid internship, and was getting interviews--until the great IT crash of 2000 happened. So I think mid-life career changes are possible.

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    I finished my master's in social work at the age of 39. Human service and teaching are all careers where they value age over youth.

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I began my entry level job in market research at the age of 46, never having had any experience, other than typing up other people's reports. One of the best decisions I ever made from a financial perspective. I think what helped me was a genuine interest in the field and a fortuitous blend of skills needed that just happened to match skills I had accumulated over my adult life. As nswef suggested, it was kind of a serendipitous repurposing of assorted things I was already good at.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    I started my nursing career at age 37. Itís been good for me and we take people of any age in healthcare.

    An ancillary role like radiology tech or lab tech would only require less than a year of training I think, and they are in high demand.

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    Here a rad tech needs an associate degree (2 years). Might be a good idea to look up jobs in the medical field with a year or less of training. Here a phlebotomist can train in just a few months.

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    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    I was definitely thinking nursing or other positions in the medical field.

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    I think medical support positions look promising. My BFF from high school is in hospital administration and he says such jobs are usually in demand. RNs are golden, of course--you can write your own ticket. But like others have said here, there are all kinds of support positions you can train for. I'd check your local community college(s) to see what's on offer.

    I wouldn't put too much stock in the current popularity of any given job type. Obviously, don't retrain for a profession that is clearly circling the drain, like journalism. But pick something you think you'll like. At the community college see if you can talk to some alums from any given program.

    I wouldn't be overly concerned with age, either. At my job (corporate writing/editing) I've seen a number of recent hires of people in their 50s. If you've got the skills they're looking for, you'll get hired.

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    Well an update of sorts. I will see soon if I can get unemployment (fired for a mistake like I said and from an abusive work environment, without any warnings etc.).

    I interviewed with a different company each of the last 3 weeks. Quite a winning streak for me. HOWEVER, I got none of those jobs and I usually don't have such winning streaks, interviews are harder to come by. So things are hard here and I don't know when or if I'll find work.

    I don't know about healthcare as a field for me because 1) I REALLY don't have the background, I really have NO science background BEYOND general ed type science courses for non-science majors. So I don't know what that really leaves without a long time acquiring a biological science background first. My dad switched to lab tech from doing low level chemist work late in mid-life but he had science courses, had done pre-med and even some med school years earlier (a med school dropout). So I don't know how directly applicable that is to me who hasn't gone in that direction in life at all. 2) I'm not sure I have the temperament, I mean we are talking can't watch violent movies due to blood so ... yea I can do jobs I don't love, I pretty much always have. But we do have to ask not what we love (that question is indeed a waste of time) but rather what we can *tolerate* and what we can't.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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