You're 40 And You Want To Change Careers - Should You Do It?

You're 40 And You Want To Change Careers - Should You Do It?You're 40 And You Want To Change Careers - Should You Do It?

It's never too late to change careers!

Reaching the age of 40 is a big milestone. At this point, some people may have started hitting that mid-life crisis. Nothing feels right – you want to change your car, you want to go off on spontaneous holidays (but can’t because of the kids), or you might just want to change careers altogether. But you’re probably wondering how to change careers at 40? Isn’t it too late?

The good news is that it’s never too late to change careers. Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks, only found his true calling late in life. So don’t lose hope, we’re here to tell how to change careers at 40.

how to change careers at 40

Source: Shutterstock

How to change careers at 40

how to change careers at 40

Source: Shutterstock

If’ you’re 40-years-old, you’ve accumulated a lot of life experiences already. You’ve likely got two decades of work experience under your belt. You may have climbed the ladder and reached the top of your game. It could be that you’ve reached a point where you can’t advance in your career anymore. Or you can’t learn any new skills. Or it may be that you just don’t like what you do anymore.

It is normal to feel a bit worried about this topic since you’ll likely ask “what can I do about this?”.

It might be better to ask “is changing careers the best thing for me right now?”. Here are some things for you to consider.

A new sense of control

You’ve had a lot of responsibilities so far. Statistically speaking, you’ve got a house (and a nice mortgage to go along with that!), a car, maybe a family. But in your job, you may not always be in control of what you want to do. By now, you’re old enough to know yourself better than anyone else. So that means you know what you want, and what you want to do shouldn’t be decided by others.

Take signs of unhappiness seriously

how to change careers at 40

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Job satisfaction plays a big part in us wanting to turn up to work every day (other than getting paid!). But sometimes, we wait for the situation to become really bad before we decide to act on what we thought of months ago. Your gut instinct probably gave you a heads-up. Maybe your one-to-ones are becoming increasingly stale, or you’re getting less praise for your work. You might just dread going in every morning even though you get on really well with everyone.

Getting rewards you REALLY want

A lot of people stay at their job because it’s basically comfortable. You know the receptionist’s name, the routine is steady and the pay is decent. But is steady what you were looking for or are you seeking a bigger challenge? Just because the health insurance is a nice perk doesn’t mean it’s what you have been looking forward to. 

Knowing you’re worth your salt

how to change careers at 40

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It can be easy to feel like you’re decent at your job. Netting big customers for your company or smashing targets like never before is a great feeling. But staying too long at one company runs the risk of you becoming institutionalised. Put simply, you only feel useful at that specific place. But your skills can be transferred to any area and they’ll be of real value wherever you go. You’re not a big fish in a small pond. You’re a big deal! And it’s time to show why you’re a big deal to others outside of your workplace!

Finding out how green the grass is on the other side

As with anything new, the only thing that is constant is the unknown. The challenges, types of problems and people you’ll be interacting with are just so wide and varied. But that’s the thrill of it. Maybe you need to change things up because where you are now just feels stale.

5 tips on how to change careers at 40

how to change careers at 40

Source: Shutterstock

It’s never too late to make a change. In fact, it probably is a bit easier to move into a new line because you know yourself best. After all, how many of us knew exactly what we wanted to be at 40-years-old after we left university?

Nothing is set in stone. It doesn’t mean it’ll be easy, but you’re more than well-equipped to handle the hurdles and trials. After all, with age comes wisdom. Here are our tips on how to change careers at 40. 

1. Be intentional

It’s human nature to react instinctively. Let’s say something is causing you pain, so you move away from it or stop doing that activity. The same applies to your job.

You feeling discontent or unhappy with the current job shouldn’t be why you move. You should move because you want to be at a certain place, or in a specific industry. It’s like thinking about building something. The final product won’t be any good if you aren’t intentional about building it piece by piece.

2. Be aware of new opportunities

There’s nothing wrong with keeping an eye out on what new opportunities there might be. In fact, you might even see something you like, which will give you the motivation to skill up with night classes.

Networking never did any harm, as you get to meet people from all walks of life. You might find out what life is like working in your dream role and realise it doesn’t sound like all it’s hyped up to be.

3. Make a move when you’re at your best

So tying back into the first point, you might be tempted to move when you lose all job satisfaction and can’t stand your job. We say the opposite – if you’ve found that you’ve always wanted to be a teacher, you should move. ESPECIALLY when you are at the top of your game.

As counter-intuitive as it sounds, you’re at your most confident point and will be ready to handle any obstacles in your way.

4. Move when it’s the right time

This is a trick question really… as you’ll naturally ask “when IS the right time?”. Is it when you’ve turned 40? When you’ve saved up enough money? The simple answer is don’t move when you hit a milestone. Instead, consider changing the environment or career if you can’t answer the question “what have I learnt today?”.

5. Go.

Once you’ve spoken to all your friends and family about making the right move and you’re assured that you have their support, then GO! 


If it applies to you and you wondered how to change careers at 40, then these are all the things you need to consider! Share with your friends if any of them are having a career crisis!

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Written by

Vinnie Wong