Career changes after 50 can seem very daunting because you might feel like you need to start everything over, but that just isn’t true. Skills that you have acquired in your past career can be transferable to any position you want. For instance, thinking clearly and conveying meaning is easily transferable from one job to another and is necessary for a career in something like writing, but is also extremely important for other careers that involve structuring paragraphs and words.
The good news about changing careers after 50 is that you should have a much better idea of what you like doing and don’t compare to most young people. You have decades of experience and have learnt from your mistakes.
The bad news is that you’ve probably still got a decade or more before your retirement kicks in. Fortunately, there are career opportunities in many fields, some of which you might have not even considered or heard of.
The important thing to consider is the attitude. Listen to your own intuition and if you aren’t sure that a career advisor is a great place to start. It doesn’t matter if people think you’re a fool for wanting to start your own business or you want or need to go back to school. Trust yourself and listen to that inner voice! There will obviously be fear but you will soon realise that most people will support and applaud your efforts.
Working in Technology
An unlikely career you might not have even considered is working in tech. An assumption about this industry is that they don’t welcome older works but this isn’t necessarily true. Having attended a number of ICT events in recent times, a common topic discussed is diversity in the workforce – age, gender and ethnicity. The fact is many positions require multiple skills. For example, being an experienced architect will make you a valuable asset to companies providing architectural software. This is the same for many other careers such as engineering, law or other fields where professional software is used. Tech is the fastest growing employment area with 300,000 new jobs by 2024.
Getting your degree could have taken 4 years or longer but learning computer programming or using an app only takes a few months, and by adding this skill to your resume will open a whole new world of possibilities.
Before the internet, jobs you could work from home probably meant low-end incomes with dodgy companies, but the internet has changed that significantly. Many jobs that used to be strictly workplace jobs are now commonly done at home. For example, television editing and scoring, copyediting, journalism, tutoring and fact-based writing. Applying for jobs online is now more common than ever, it doesn’t matter where you are located or how old you are so far as the hiring manager is concerned you could be 32 or 65. If you worry about your age is an issue, note that your employer only sees your work output on your resume.
Careers in Healthcare
If working with people is more of your thing than healthcare is an area that is expanding rapidly due to the increasing age of the population and people deciding to have families later in life. There are many opportunities in this industry and they are open to anyone regardless of prior experience in health-care. The positions usually only require short-term on-the-job-training or up to 12 months at a polytechnic college – the opportunities are endless.
If you are tired of working for other people and have an idea that the world needs then starting your own business is a great way to set yourself up for retirement. If you’re an auto technician you might want to start your own specialist automotive business where you could tune sports cars or service electric vehicles. If you’re an instrumentation and controls engineer you might want to start up a consultancy providing outsource expertise to a mining company. If you’re a dermatologist you could start a company that provides laser skin care or cosmetic dermatology.
The point is you already have the skills and years of experience that you can take to your own business. There won’t be security and it might be tough to start off but it means you’ll be the one in charge and can shape the business any way you want, work your own hours, take as many holidays as the business allows and have a good fortune to sit on for your retirement.
No matter what it is you are interested in doing for your next career, it is important to remember that age is not a barrier and there are many positions that haven’t even been created yet due to the rapidly growing rate of technology that you could be a part of. If you want to bounce your ideas off someone, then a career counsellor is the ideal person to speak to as they have the knowledge to flesh out your thoughts and ideas to help you on your path to your new career.