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One of the most common fears I hear from those contemplating a change is that they’ve run out of time to do what they really want.

They see the distance between where they are today and where they’d like to go and tell themselves, “It’s too late for me.”

What’s interesting is this complaint is largely independent of age.

Athletes who came to their sport in high school think they can’t compete with those who started in elementary school.  College grads feel shackled by their major.  New parents focus on stability, then kick the can of their dreams down the road another 18 years.  New retirees believe in the concept of a Third Chapter, but only as a minor pivot from their current expertise.

Many of you know I’m currently in a mental tug-of-war over the direction of my own career.  How do I balance my interests in both entrepreneurship and writing? Are my goals mutually exclusive or can they support each other?

Most importantly, how much time do I need to spend writing to quell the anxiety inside me?

After a nudge from my mentor Jon Morrow, I picked up Stephen King’s book On Writing to help find some answers.

This isn’t your typical book on craft, although there are plenty of good tips for writing better.  What struck me most was the warning King delivers to dreamers on page 76.

He’s talking about how he’s finally made the jump from doing industrial laundry to teaching English at a local college.  At first glance, you’d think this would be step in the right direction for a writer.

If I ever came close to despairing about my future as a writer, it was then.  I could see myself thirty years on [...] with six or seven unfinished manuscripts which I would take out and tinker with from time to time.  I’d lie to myself, telling myself there was still time, it wasn’t too late, there were novelists who didn’t get started until they were fifty, hell, even sixty.

I felt like Stephen King had just given me the Vulcan death grip.

I’m 40. It occurred to me that I’m dangerously close to the sad portrait of wanna-be writer he describes, except I don’t even have the six or seven unfinished manuscripts.

I knew I had to answer the question for myself: was it, in fact, too late for me?

Here are three reframes that helped me realize what a silly question that is, regardless of your age or situation, and how to finally put the issue to rest.

Remember when your dreams were small

When I first started sending work to journals for publication, I couldn’t imagine a bigger thrill than seeing one of my poems in print.  A journal with buttons on the cover that looked like an elementary school project?  Hey, I was still published!

After that, the dream was a more respected journal.  Then it was a book.

Pretty soon, my aspirations were outpacing my abilities.

When we change careers, we often fail to resize our expectations accordingly.  Which is too bad, because it’s a sure set-up for disappointment.

If you’re feeling like it’s too late, maybe you just need to rethink what you need to be satisfied.  The leap you need to make may not be as large as you think.

Remember what you’ve already accomplished

Nobody likes the idea of occupying the low position on the totem pole again.  While it’s true you may have to take an entry-level position to get your foot into the door of a new career, you’re not really starting over.

No matter what two jobs you’re trying to bridge, I can almost guarantee you’ve picked up some transferable skills.  These aren’t just feel-good, resume-stuffers either.  A nurse who wants to become a website designer may have to learn coding, but she’s already lightyears ahead when it comes to thinking about the user’s navigation needs.

Just because HR tends to think narrowly doesn’t mean you have to.

Remember what brings you joy

Is your dream job only dreamy if you’re the celebrity, the winner, or the big cheese?

Then maybe it is too late for you.

I know it sounds harsh.  But don’t attempt Everest if you don’t like climbing mountains.  You’re asking for trouble.

But if you do like climbing mountains, it’s an activity worth doing, whether or not you have time to scale the world’s most notorious mountain.

What I realized is that I don’t have to worry about what happens with my writing over the next decade.  I’m a writer, right now.  I’m sitting at my desk, putting words together the best I can.

I hope I get better at it.  I hope I publish a book that people can’t stop talking about.  I hope I help people find the courage to do what they love, whether they’re 16 or 60.

But mostly, I hope I enjoy my work: today, tomorrow, with whatever time I have left.

Still struggling with this question?  Tell me your situation in the comments below.  For a select few, I’ll offer some suggestions on how to get started and feel good about it.

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63 Responses to Is It Too Late To Change Careers?

  1. For anyone who is considering becoming a freelance writer, I highly recommend the book My So-Called Freelance Life by Michelle Goodman. It’s really well written and covers all the important aspects of the “business” side of, well, the business AND it offers tips for managing family/friends, self-motivaton etc. Plus, it’s entertainingly written. I was REALLY impressed by this book!

    • On
    • May 29, 2012 at 11:20 am
    • Danielle
    • Said...

    Here’s the interesting thing, I want to edit. Writing I do because it’s an ok thing, but editing is my passion. The problem I struggle with is that I only want to do technical editing – engineering-speak to laymen, science-speak, etc. I have an affinity for the scientific disciplines and that makes me want to work in a very specific niche. I also want to teach at the college level. Instruct all those newly budding engineers and scientists in the fine art of getting their ideas across to the public and the number crunchers. For most college instructors, a masters is the minimum requirement or 20+ years of experience. I am a long way from 20 years, nor do I want to wait that long. I’m in a position now that will help with the cost of the masters, but I’m stuck with how to approach my boss on my keeping the job and going back to school. Any suggestions?

    • Danielle,
      I would think about whether you need to be a college instructor, which requires a degree, or if you want to serve as an outside expert/consultant to your target audience, which doesn’t require a degree. The technical editing could be a great foot in the door. Do some before and after with scientific papers and show them what a larger impact they could be making (and perhaps gaining more exposure through the popular press) if they only knew how to communicate their ideas better. Tie it to things they care about (getting exposure, getting more grants) and I promise they won’t care one wit about your degree.

  2. We all should take time to remind ourselves of the reason we ventured out on our own journey in the first place, but I think it’s more important nowadays to give ourselves a pat on the back once in a while when we see where we’ve come from and how much we’ve accomplished along the way.

    I’m 42 and just started my writing career so you could say I have a rather unique view from the bottom of the totem pole. I recently started a freelancing writing job with the local newspaper. When my first story was published, I was beyond ecstatic to say the least. I doubted everything from the way from my interviewing skills to my writing ability and style (I guess you call that your voice.) Surprisingly, I’ve had 6 stories published in the last 6 weeks which sparked my interest in blogging. The learning curve to be a successful blogger has been challenging. Honestly? Most days I feel like a blind person just trying to find my in the ever expanding blogosphere.

    • But that’s the adventure side of it, isn’t it? I was just thinking today how many of us say we want more adventure in our lives, but without acknowledging that adventure means risk and potential failure. Adventures aren’t easy! Sounds like you’re doing great to me, Colleen!

      • Yes Jennifer, it is a great adventure and what makes it even better is having people like you and your Everyday Bright Luminaries along for the ride.

        Personally, just from reading your replies to the other readers, I think you would make a great counselor too.

        • LOL. I don’t think I could hack it as a regular counsellor. It seems okay to approach a subject like this as logically as possible, but when it coms to relationships, the emotions start flying! Too much for this conflict-adverse introvert!

            What a team we would make. I’m a conflict-adverse extrovert that finds it much more comforting to behind the computer screen than being out in the world.

            Even with that being said, I’m glad that you’ve created a place for all of us to meet, spend time with, and encourage one another. :-D

  3. Brava, Jen! What a refreshing and honest perspective. As you say, what matters is focusing on what IS, and doing what brings joy today. Thank you for the reminder of the fact that doing what I love (digging for treasure by telling stories and connecting with people) will keep me grounded no matter what form my career may take. I’m walking through each door as it opens, and celebrating each one along the way. And you’ll appreciate this – I just received an invitation for my first paid speaking gig – a podcast for parents of children with special needs. :)

    • Hey! That’s so fantastic! You just keep hitting them out of the park, Caroline. I’ll get to say I knew you when. :)

    • On
    • May 29, 2012 at 4:55 pm
    • Sharyn
    • Said...

    My struggle is in helping a non-profit I firmly believe in to grow into a viable, sustainable organization…while still maintaining some semblance of personal balance and my income level…not an easy road….thanks for letting me share!

    • That’s a tough one, Sharyn. It may not be possible, at least in the short term, to help the non-profit grow and maintain balance. You might want to look through my archives on balance. Sometimes it’s not really balance we crave, but something simpler and far more specific. Maybe it’s 8 hours of sleep. Maybe it’s time to have dinner with friends once a month. Find out what that specific thing is, and make time for that. Maybe then you can let go of the idea of balance long enough to get that nonprofit off the ground.

  4. Love this Jennifer! “But don’t attempt Everest if you don’t like climbing mountains.”

    Exactly.

    I’m very much in a 2nd Act transition. Early 50′s. Feeling it very necessary to make a change from a small business that was surrounded by dreams and expectations that haven’t come to fruition. Scary as all get out. And demands grieving.

    I’ve a meeting tomorrow to assist as a volunteer with a major, local nonprofit. Just sticking the toe in the water at this point.

    Have old Masters degree but was never licensed. Considering obtaining that or something related that may not require me to go back to school.

    So while that door closes, new ones open. It’s just so hard to see them until you step out from behind the old one.

    • Yep. You gotta get out of the door frame to see the next opening. Beautifully said. Believe in yourself. That helps a lot too. And wherever possible, make the next step for yourself as easy as possible. If you can do something without going back to school full time, do it. Despite what you hear in the news, technology is making degrees worth less and less. Take some online courses and blaze your own trail of experience. You can do it!

        • On
        • May 31, 2012 at 4:40 pm
        • Garry Stafford
        • Said...

        Thank you Jenn!

        I just added a reply to Chris. I’m taking it one step at a time!

        “Believe in yourself.” That has taken some time but am doing better.

  5. I think sometimes it’s too late to go into a bunch of student loan debt, but it’s never too late to simply change directions.

  6. Hi Jen,

    Great points in a very honest post.

    Well, I have eight years on you and I feel like I’m just getting started.

    Every time I read a post like this I’m reminded of that great Malcolm Gladwell piece in the New Yorker about Late Bloomers. Some people just need a bit more time to develop their genius ;)

    • I think that’s an important point about feeling like you’re just getting started. That’s a feeling that never really goes away. The further you get into it, the more you realize you don’t know. I think that’s where I got with poetry. Maybe the trick is to set your expectations such that you embrace that feeling the rest of your life instead of trying to outrun it.

    • On
    • May 29, 2012 at 8:36 pm
    • Nancy McMahon
    • Said...

    Interesting article, Jen. At the age of 51 I struggle with your last point, ‘joy’. I’m not even sure what brings me joy. Right now I am on the treadmill of work and keeping up home stuff before collapsing into bed at night. I don’t feel I have the luxury of going back to school {if that would bring me joy, having a different job} as I have a highschooler to still put through college, a mortgage to pay, and our retirement future to think about…

    • Oh Nancy, I’m sorry. It sounds like you’re running yourself ragged, and I can tell you from personal experience that it’s nearly impossible to find the joy in that situation. We gotta think of a way to break the cycle you’re in to give you some perspective on joy. It would take me an entire coaching session or two to do that for you, but I bet you could make some tweaks to how you’re doing things. Not as big changes, but experiments to see what the effects are. My first suggestion? Try to get in a work-out (the treadmill of work doesn’t count!) and get more sleep. As my friend Jonathan Fields told me, “If you think you don’t have time for exercise, then you are exactly the person who needs it most. It will give you more time than it takes in terms of productivity and performance.” Ditto all that with sleep. Maybe try it? I think you’ve got nothing to lose.

        • On
        • May 31, 2012 at 8:07 pm
        • Nancy McMahon
        • Said...

        Thank you Jen for your feedback. {I’ve also enjoyed reading everyone elses posts and comments}. It is comforting to know we all struggle in some way. At any rate I am going to start with a half hour earlier bed tonight and some type of exercise tomorrow…

        • You’re welcome, Nancy. Let me know how the experiment goes. And I agree on the other responses. I’m always impressed. :)

    • On
    • May 29, 2012 at 9:05 pm
    • Zeus Yiamouyiannis
    • Said...

    Jen,

    Two things:

    Writers write. You are writing, so you are a writer. There is no greatness without practice. Some of the greatest writers, like Mark Twain, were also reporters who engaged life and struggle (as you are doing) and found the story elements within reality. This practice combined with engaged life experience opened the door to a great story and recognition. (http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Mark-Twain-as-a-reporter-found-recognition-456106.php) . See also Tillie Olsen’s story (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tillie_Olsen)

    2) Find time in all your advice and sounding out of your audience’s needs and struggles to find your own path and challenges that are independent of your business, “A Room of One’s Own,” if you will. That is just as precious as being able to write to an audience. Practice in that room as a matter of love and self-regard. Don’t let it get lost in the shuffle.

    • Thanks, Zeus. I agree that many of the best writers were also engaged in some other work, if nothing else as a way to make a living when writing didn’t pay. But I agree it adds perspective.

    • On
    • May 30, 2012 at 12:55 am
    • Francisco Soriano
    • Said...

    Hey Jenn!! I deeply appreciate all your post, I want to change “careers” again but I am lacking courage and discernment. See, I studied to become a Franciscan Friar and left formation, 3 years ago, but I have never really closed that circle, and I am still thinking if that was my vocation…

    • Clarity and courage. That’s what it’s all about. Only you know, and if the thought is still niggling at you, I think you owe it to yourself to find a definitive answer however you can. I think examining your reasons for leaving are a good place to start.

  7. Hitting those nails on the head once again Jen & hey you’re a Spring Chicken at only 40!!

    Great to hear other peoples’ views too. I know things can be tough but I think the upside of the current economic climate & the job / business market is that it’s forcing people to change direction. Giving people that push to do something different & follow their dreams.

    I heard today of a 29 year old in the UK who’s already been made redundant twice. She’s now set up as self-employed.

    At 46 I decided to change career. I had to study for a diploma but I did it all online at home to keep the costs down. I’m a different person than the one I was 20, 10, even 2 years ago & what I do reflects that.

    Thanks for the ‘Remember’ advice. I have to Remember to Enjoy The Journey.

    • Yes, I agree. There’s a benefit in rampant instability–no one gets fooled into thinking they’re “safe” by just sticking it out. It’s scary to change under any circumstance, but I think realizing that our best security lies in our own abilities, not one person’s recognition of it, is a good thing.

    • On
    • May 30, 2012 at 11:27 am
    • Ritu
    • Said...

    There was a time when I was the youngest in the room (the class, the job, my own practice). I’m not anymore. The more I’m around people, and listen to their experiences, I realize that late is a state of mind, and tougher to come to grips with than the actual challenge we’re considering (or being intimidated by).

    I think the timing of making a change–whether early or “late”–has pros and cons at either end, and for the eternal late bloomers like me ;), trying something early on would have resulted badly, most likely. So, these days, I try to focus not on the “late”, but the “blooming” instead (which the writer-wanna-be inside me wants to do;)

    • I agree, Ritu. I went to grad school late because of the way the military does it. I was much older and I worried I’d be at a disadvantage to the younger students who had just finished college and all that schoolwork was still fresh in their minds. I needn’t have. My work ethic and ability to see things from the instructor’s perspective more than made up for my age. Let’s keep blooming!

    • On
    • May 30, 2012 at 12:54 pm
    • J Brown
    • Said...

    So I get that age is not so much a factor, but it seems that these little factors add up to be a larger overall factor… age, debt, family, skill set, education, location, etc… = feeling stuck in the mud.

    Part of me is looking for the more than just the first step, but the first 5 steps… then those steps will open other doors. At times, the risk of being here vs. there feels too great to even take one step.

    Overall, I hear the message, I believe it works for some, but am not sure how to apply it for myself – today.

    • Just gotta reply because your comment really hits home. “Stuck in the mud.” Yup.

      I’m 53, was sole proprietor while trying to keep an alcoholic marriage together. After 17 years, it didn’t stay that way. I’m degreed, okay skills in a lot of things. Now living in an apt with my 17 and 8 year-old kids. Not making enough money. Etc, etc.

      I, too, REALLY want to know the next 5 steps. Hell, I’ve a lot of trouble with the first. I just know that, for me, I’ve gotta get out there and bust it. DO Good Work. Even if it’s volunteer work that I can slap on a resume. And get good references. I’ve burned too many.

      I feel like I’m just coming out of school realizing that I’ve far to go. And with opportunities ahead of me. Yet time is short. It’s too easy to regret what I didn’t do which too easily feeds what I think I can or can’t do.

      But I just really stinkin need to take that first step. Just one. Just today. Cuz when I look at two or more my natural inclination is to take out the white flag.

    • I actually wrote a post outlining what I think the six steps are to choosing a new career. You can read it here.

      The issues you talk about may lengthen the time it takes to get through the process, but it doesn’t impede you from starting. In fact, the first three steps don’t cost anything but your time and effort. But most people don’t do them, and thus doom the process to failure.

      Work on clarity first. Understand what you want and why you want it. Then you can start making small steps to get you there. And as I said in this post, don’t think of it as “I’m not there until the full vision has come to fruition.” If you tell me you want to be, oh I don’t know, a school nurse because you like helping kids but the idea of going to nursing school is daunting, then think about how you can help kids today without that nursing background. That doesn’t mean you don’t move forward on the end goal, but you can make an impact well before that.

      Make sense?

  8. Wow Jenn! I love your posts, but I’ve just got to add that I’m amazed by the comments too. The quality and character of what your readers add says so much about you.

    I can so relate to the fear, the feelings of being stuck and overwhelmed, the regret, the not knowing, yet even the joy, positive change, and opportunities. It’s all there and helps me to know that we’re in this together!

      • On
      • May 31, 2012 at 5:23 am
      • Chris Lappin
      • Said...

      Garry your comments moved me to reply to you. I completely understand your feelings. Feeling totally overwhelmed can cause paralysis & a total state of confusion. I was in a place where not only did I not know the answers but I couldn’t even work out what the questions were. Make sense? I felt lost & scared. I wanted to wave that white flag too. I sometimes still do.

      It’s hard to help over a laptop & I wouldn’t dare to assume to know exactly what you’re going through, but maybe try asking yourself some really great questions. Stay clear of ‘why’ that can cause more problems. Maybe ask yourself what you could do if money wasn’t a factor & you knew for a fact that you couldn’t fail. Don’t think about the how just yet. That can come later. Just explore.

      Maybe think about when you were happy & doing Good Work. What was it about it that made you happy? Ask yourself what has to happen for you to not feel stuck?

      It won’t solve it all but it may help with a starting point. Break everything down as that may help with the overwhelm.

      I hope this doesn’t sound flippant. To me you sound like you’re now ready to move forward. And yes you’re definitely not alone in this :)

      • Thank you, Chris, for your reply. I greatly appreciate it. Your suggestions are spot on.

        Your last comment doesn’t sound flippant at all. I definitely feel that I’m at the ready to move on and am taking some steps to do so. It’s time. (well, actually, it’s past time. But I’m not going there! ;-) Not asking “why” other than to learn the lessons of the past.)

        This morning I had an excellent interview for, well, volunteer work (for the time being) that involves my desired new direction. Yet although a small step it’ll put me out in front of others, decision makers, and provide evidence of skills. I see it as an opportunity to put this change into overdrive, as opposed to merely sending resumes and going to too often fruitless networking meetings and job fairs.

        This too provides a sense of purpose and of feeling more useful by being of service while doing Good Work.

        This one step has already shifted my perspective.

        Thanks again Chris!

          • On
          • May 31, 2012 at 5:44 pm
          • Chris Lappin
          • Said...

          Garry that sounds amazing & you sound … content with what you’re doing. You seem energised, positive & determined by the words you use.
          I can totally empathise with you when you mention purpose. For a while I had no purpose or I was doing work that went against my core values. I didn’t realise it at the time but I just knew it just didn’t feel right.
          Please keep in touch. I’d love to hear your progress.

        • Garry,
          Ironically, the perspective shift is almost more valuable than the volunteer work itself. Or rather, it’s the necessary step that makes the volunteer work worthwhile. Good luck and let us know how things progress!

    • I know!! I really do think that it’s the readers of my blog that really set it apart. Believe me, I count my lucky stars all the time!

      I agree that a sense of community is so valuable. Many don’t appreciate how much farther and faster you can go when you have a group supporting you. Happy to the Everyday Bright Luminaries (as I call my readers) can help you, Garry. Dare to shine!

        • On
        • May 31, 2012 at 5:45 pm
        • Chris Lappin
        • Said...

        Yes but you light the fuse.

    • On
    • May 30, 2012 at 5:45 pm
    • Yuniya
    • Said...

    Thanks for your insights, Jen. I think sometimes we deliberately (but unconsciously) build the dream too big, so that we can justifiably let ourselves off the hook. We can look at all the mountains in the way and say, “Oh well. It can’t be done.” And then we feel frustrated, resigned, even resentful that we can’t get to where we want to be. As a late bloomer myself, one thing that’s really been impressed upon me lately is the need to start with where I am. Look around me and embrace who I am and what I have, right here and right now. As I do that, I find that my perspective changes. The mountains might still loom, but some become part of the landscape of my dreams and I come to appreciate them. Or I might discover I have the tools to whittle away at others, bit by bit, or even scale them. Either way, perspective–how you view the current landscape of your life–plays a huge role in the career/calling process…

    • Yes, I totally agree. I think it’s okay to say, “I don’t really want to do that (whatever that is) because I’m not interested in working that hard to get it.” Completely justifiable decision. But it’s not okay to simply blame circumstance. Everyone has their own mountains to scale. Some are higher than others, some more numerous, but every one of us has to find our own way.

    • On
    • May 31, 2012 at 5:30 am
    • Aarti
    • Said...

    Hello,

    Thank you for the inspiring post. I am from India & want to change my carrier. I am M.Sc (Cell Biology) after my post graduation, I could not find the job suitable to my educational background, so I accepted the job for the secretary I have 4 years of experience as secretary, In last 4 years, I tried lot to get job in my field but every time I received the comments like It’s too late for you to change the carries because I had changed my track. Now I am doing Oracle developer course, this will help me to become the domain expert (as I am M.Sc) with the technical knowledge.

    I have enrolled for placement cell also but they said like no call for you, because you don’t have any experience in this filed & as fresher they prefer to take the just pass out students. I am 28 yrs now, for this reasons I am unable to get single call for interview. You please guide me how I can convince employer that I will be a best candidate for their company. Waiting for your reply.

    • Have you tried going back to the university to see if you can get a job as a technician in a lab? Even if you have to intern for free on evenings/weekends, it would get you recent experience you could put on your resume. Would be even better if you could get a publication or two with your name on it. Try to find a professor with ties to industry who could then connect you to potential jobs if you do good work.

  9. Hi Jen, thank you so much for writing this post. It really resonated with me. I grew up with parents who both made profound career shifts in their mid 40s, so come into this conversation with a mindset that it’s only too late when I say it is. :)

    On writing, I’m now 51 and have just started the writing part of my career. I now have two finished manuscripts and ideas for many more. I venture forth with confidence, humility and a light touch – with a deep respect for the miracle that is life in the present moment.

    Thank you so much, Jen. This post has revived me in ways your can’t imagine – or maybe *you* can. :)

    Plus – you’ve given me an outstanding idea for my next toon post.

    Best to you,
    Robin

    • Robin,
      I’m delighted to hear you’re two manuscripts down with many more to go. You’ll definitely have to let me know when the toon post goes up. Would love to see it.

      So happy this was able to provide some inspiration. That just makes my day. :)

    • On
    • June 3, 2012 at 9:37 am
    • S B
    • Said...

    I am hoping to graduate as a medical doctor in a few weeks time but somehow I’m always talking to others about technology and how people should be innovative. Everyone is telling me that I should have been some kind of technology expert…I have been studying medicine for 6 years now and my aim is to graduate. Yet somehow my heart and brain are struggling! I have a lot more to say…but aaaaarrrgghhhh!

    • So combine your interest/skills in medicine with technology. Goodness knows there’s a huge need. Take a look at what the Quantified Self movement is trying to do with healthcare. There’s an enormous, emerging market there and lots of room for innovation.

        • On
        • June 3, 2012 at 11:08 am
        • S B
        • Said...

        Wow, that was a quick and amazing reply. I have been following this Quantified Self Movement in an indirect way. I totally agree with you! Thank you for reading and replying back, I’m eternally grateful! I’m also thinking about a future in Health Informatics. I hope that I will be able to find an area which will give me the energy to get out of bed every morning :)

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    • On
    • June 21, 2012 at 3:51 pm
    • Jeffrey Riley
    • Said...

    Nope, it is never too late to change! I used to work in a nine-to-five for 20 years but one day I got fed up with it. I started to look for a more interesting one and when I found my favorite, I composed a fantastic resume (to tell the truth, after so a long time I needed some advice but no worries, there are super tips here and there, e.g. this article is really useful: http://moneyland.time.com/2012/04/13/how-to-make-your-resume-last-longer-than-6-seconds/), applied for it and now I am again happy and creative :)
    So no, it is never too late.

  12. Pingback: Is It Too Late To Change Careers? | Everyday Bright | Change Careers

    • On
    • June 29, 2012 at 4:26 pm
    • Luis
    • Said...

    Hi Jen,
    I will finish my PhD on chemistry in about one year. I decided that meanwhile I investigate how to attain a lifestyle that I love while doing something for others.
    I never felt so young in my life :) And I am willing to change my career so badly and jump into adventure already!

    • Fabulous! Sounds like a good plan. Don’t forget to use the free videos at the No Regrets Career Academy as a resource. I think it’s great you’re using this time to get a plan in place. Let me know how it goes!

        • On
        • August 7, 2012 at 11:33 am
        • Luis
        • Said...

        Many thanks Jen, I’ll check it out :)

    • On
    • July 26, 2012 at 2:49 am
    • Utsav
    • Said...

    This post was really the thing i needed to read. Been searching for some good advice and posts for career changing online, and yours seems quite helpful. Hope im able to get some good guidance from you guys, cause im getting none in real life.
    Now i probably have an advantage over some cause im just 26 years and am already thinking of a career change, so maybe my age won’t harm me. But im also at a disadvantage compared to some cause i think im a chicken when its coming down to changing fields, and can’t find myself to put my foot down and share my dilemma with someone and take the chance of being laughed at or looked at weirdly. I spent nearly 4 years behind a big accounting degree, its the ultimate degree one can pursue in Accounting..like the CPA. But im already bored of the work. I want to change into something more creative and dynamic. But then again i have no way to find out what else suits me, and am further confused with the thought that what happens in-case i mess up in the new career after shifting into it. Now i know some of my skills include good communication, slightly creative and organisation skills too..but where all do i go with this, and how do i find something that pays decently too..or rather how do i firstly find something in the first place itself with the economy in India going downhill with no immediate signs of recovering anytime soon ?
    P.S. sorry for the long comment..but feel so much better now that i was able to share my dilemma with others in the same boat as me :)

    • I tell people it’s a matter of finding the intersection between your passions, your personality, and your strengths. Think about the activities you love doing and brainstorm possible careers. Think about your skills and aptitudes, the things you’re naturally good at, and brainstorm possible careers. Then think about your personality and what kinds of jobs and work environment best suit you. Use the insights from each round of brainstorming to narrow down the lists of the others. Then pick something. Do some test-drives of the new career before fully committing to it. Talk to people to make sure you know what the new career is all about. There are no mistakes, just learning opportunities, esp. at your age.

      Hope that helps!

    • On
    • August 5, 2012 at 3:46 pm
    • Ss27
    • Said...

    Jennifer,
    Came across your post and thought will reach out to you for your guidance and advice. I am an Indian woman, 33 years old. I had a successful career in the ITES industry for the last 12 years. I was successful, got frequent promotions, grew up the ranks and was managing a decent living. All this in the midst of 2 divorces (going through a 2nd one right now). Finally after about 12 years, my personal situation hit me hard emotionally and I sank into depression. Bad news.. I had to quit my job to take care of myself for obvious reasons.. good news is that I am out of it completely. I started looking for a job again..unfortunately things have really slowed down and I haven’t been able to get one as yet… I started preparing for GMAT ..thinking I will get a fancy MBA degree from a good school and get back to the corporate world with a bang. When I started studying for it .. I realized this isn’t my calling. I have now figured out that I would love to be a clinical psychologist. I always wanted to become a doctor but didn’t work too hard to fulfill that dream of mine. Being a psychologist will get me closer to what I always wanted to do. Also now when I started thinking hard as of what would I love to do… actually I love working with people. I am genuinely interested in people and have a sense of deep care and concern for them. When I personally visited a psychiatrist for my own treatment, I fell in love with his job…lol. I have been an extremely successful manager primarily because of my genuine interest in people. I have been thinking of pursuing this dream of mine and was wondering if I am too old for it and whether I have the courage to start all over again in life. I want to go abroad (U.S. or Australia) to study psychology. This is also something that will help me create value in the society and I have a burning desire to do that. That’s my story… would love to hear what you think and have to say?

    • I think you should brainstorm all the different ways you could work with and help people. You don’t have to be a psychologist or a doctor to create value for others. I used to be an advisor for students considering a major in chemistry. So many kids thought about going to med school because they wanted to “help others.” I’d say half of them were miserable, because there’s so much more to being a doctor than that (esp. these days, where being a doctor in a large clinic or hospital is more akin to being a mechanic). I think you need to think about your next career more more deeply. What do you really want? Helping others, creating value…that’s a start, but it’s still way too general. Have you watched my videos on how to design a new career at my No Regrets Career Academy? I think that’s a good place to start. Hope that helps!