When is it too late to change careers?
I worked as a project coordinator and project lead for a consulting firm for almost twenty years.
I took a break from the paid workforce to help my parents during their decline. Mom passed away last year and Dad is in assisted living. I want to get my career going again but I worry that I am too old.
I haven’t gotten any nibbles from consulting firms and I’m also interested in trying something new, but I don’t know if it’s feasible.
I’m 54. Is that too late to consider starting over?
I also worry about what employers will think of the two-year gap in my resume. What should I do?
Thanks Liz –
My condolences on the loss of your mom.
It is never too late to change careers, unless you are planning on doing something that only young people do — like playing for a major league baseball team.
The important question is not “When will it be too late for me to change careers?” but rather “What do I want from the rest of my life?”
That answer can only come from inside you. You will find it by reflecting on your life so far. No book or quiz can tell you what you’re passionate about!
Your experience is much more valuable than you know. Nearly every job-seeker experiences a Mojo Drop that makes them forget how talented they are.
People who have stepped off the conveyor belt may experience a bigger Mojo Drop than other folks, because they worry about what employers will think of the gap on their resume.
When you experience a Mojo Drop, you start to wonder whether you were ever as competent and successful as you remember feeling.
Your fearful brain might say “Maybe you never had your act together. Maybe you were faking it all along.”
Yes — of course you were faking it!
We all fake it every day, every time we step into new territory and say “Well, this will be a learning experience!”
How sad would it be if the only things we did every day were things we already knew how to do?
Your assignment is to step into your reinvention and revel in it. Reinvention is not a puzzle to solve in your head. It’s a physical transformation, like water turning into steam.
Don’t rush into a job search if you can afford to take a little time to reflect. If you need money right now, get a survival job that may have nothing to do with your career goals. It will still give you a place to go every workday and an income, at least a partial one.
You are finding your way in new terrain. You’ve performed a wonderful service for your parents by taking time off to tend to their needs.
As for your two-year resume gap, you have nothing to apologize for. Of course your duty to your parents comes before anything else.
Some employers won’t like the fact that there is a gap in your resume. Run away from them. They don’t deserve your talents.
Take some time to think deeply about your 54 years on the planet so far and the rest of your path leading over the horizon.
Your time is precious, and you get to decide how to invest every second of it. That’s a big decision. Make your decision from a place of trust in yourself — not a place of desperation!
The time and energy it takes to feel calm and centered again will be the investment that will make you successful in your upcoming Chapter Two. We can’t wait to hear about it!
All the best,