How Do I Make A Midlife Career Change?

Women’s Executive Coach Jenny Garrett, Black Life Coaches contributor and author of the self-help book,Rocking Your Role,” appeared on Ask the Expert to respond to a viewer’s question about women changing careers later in life. The viewer asked, “I have a friend who is 49 years old, and wants to change careers from a current career in design. What steps should she take to change careers at this late stage? She wants a more stable way of making a living.”

In response, Jenny first assured the viewer that at 49, a woman should not feel it is too late to change careers. In fact, at 49 you may only be halfway through your life, because apparently one in four of us will live to 100 years old or beyond – so that is plenty of time to have even two more careers.

Ms. Garrett provided a few other suggestions for someone in this situation:

  • First, take a step back and think about why you have decided you want a “more stable career,” and what exactly “more stable” means to you. What is the impetus for wanting this change?
  • If she doesn’t really want to leave her design career altogether, there may be some tweaks she could make in that career that can make it a more stable option. Often, people who have pursued a career on a freelance basis or have their own business don’t treat it as a full-time job, thinking of it more as a way to earn just enough to get by each month.
  • Consider all of the experience, qualities, and attributes that you have acquired in life and your previous career, which newcomers to the workforce do not have. Do an audit of skills you have acquired, and think about how they may be put toward a new career.
  • You do not have to completely quit one career path to pursue another. She could have a “portfolio career,” with a part time role in a second line of work to provide more financial stability while still engaged in the aspects of the design career that she most values.

49 years old is not too old to make a career change, and in fact the years of experience already acquired can be an asset in new endeavors.

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Jenny Garrett
Jenny Garrett is the Award Winning Coach and founder of Reflexion Associates, a leadership and coaching consultancy. She’s also the author of Rocking Your Role, a how-to guide to success for female breadwinners.