The Backstory: Late last year I was contacted by Morey, with MarketWatch.com who was writing an article on men and women over 50 starting a new career at 50. Morey wanted to interview me to learn what I was observing as the most popular 2nd chapter jobs, how big of a leap were they taking, were 50-year-olds going back to college for advanced degrees or technical schools for new job training, etc…
To prepare for the interview, I tried to think of who I knew or had interviewed that fit the bill and I drew a blank. I knew plenty of people who had ditched the career to start a new business or had given up a salary for a contract job working at home. But nobody who had made a true change from one skill set at one employer to completely reinventing themselves and been hired in that new profession. Not one.
I emailed my listeners, posted on social media… crickets! Plenty of new business owners, plenty of freelancers or contract workers, but nobody who changed careers from one paycheck to another.
When I did the interview I had to tell Morey, a guy on deadline, that I was arriving completely empty-handed.
Is the career change at 50 a myth? Was I looking for a unicorn?
As luck would have it, I received a book in the mail from Lucia Knight, author of X Change, a British career satisfaction researcher, on this very subject. Maybe SHE knew something about what 50somethings were finding as they changed careers. She is my guest today, to share her research on the topic, as well as her own story of chucking her successful but unfulfilling career to going back to college in her 40s to start a completely new career and you’ll learn how that worked out!
What really happens when changing careers at 50?
Inside the episode:
Lucia’s story of falling out of love with her work.
Her decision to quit her job AND career, going back to college for a degree in psychology.
Corporate Toast at 50
What style of career change is possible and common based on her research with 100+ midlife UK professionals.
Your options: Same job – different company or industry. Same job and company – different division, or location including working remotely. Freelancing or contract work, doing your current job under contract. Become a freelancer or consultant.
Some of the patterns/secrets behind career change at 50.
The four questions to ask yourself BEFORE you quit you make a plan. You should have a deep understanding of what you want – exclusive of what you don’t want – as you decide which option is best for you.
The necessity of finding and directing your unique 5 or 6 Superpowers at a Superproblem that matters to you and then finding a model to make that interaction commercially viable.
New career at 50 stats
Lucia’s personal research of 100+ workers over 50 who left their jobs on their own terms to find greater satisfaction reveals the following true story stats:
0% retrained for a completely different career with a new employer
25% found a better working situation doing the same work but with a different employer
75% gave up the security of a paycheck and benefits. They became freelancers, doing the same work for one or more clients (33%), or launched a completely new business – which may, or may not be related to their previous work
If you are looking for your happy place, do your research. This is a huge decision with major implications as you approach retirement. Lucia Knight’s book will provide many stories of those who went before you and may provide inspiration and ideas that had not occurred to you. It’s time to get creative and explore the possibilities of a new career.
Lucia Knight is a midlife career satisfaction researcher and designer. She spent 20 years in the world of corporate headhunting in the United Kingdom and Australia before embarking on her quest to design work that mattered more to her and felt more enjoyable. After diving headlong into an MSc Psychology, she spent a year researching work happiness before setting up Midlife Unstuck where she now helps midlife professionals who feel stuck doing work that isn’t making them happy to design work that does.
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OfficeAnywhere.com and The Escape The Office Game Plan are presented by my awesome Aussie pal and fellow podcaster, Peter Fritz. Peter was my guest on Episode 179 Office Anywhere with Peter Fritz.
Since that episode, Peter and I have become good friends, midlife confidantes, and business buddies. I’ve previewed all of the course modules and materials and can assure you that you are getting exactly what you need to make the best pitch possible to a stubborn boss. Best of all, you’ve got nothing to lose. Peter offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. More info on the course HERE.
Check out Peter Fritz describe his escape story: