Do you like your job? Have you ever wanted to change it? It seems that such thoughts sometimes visit any person even when he is generally satisfied with the work, and he likes the profession, and the office is not far from home. It is human nature to strive for the best always, which is right.
But what if you want to change your job because you didn’t like or initially didn’t really like the profession in which you now have to work? Then the idea of a radical change in profession can become obsessive. And okay, if you are 20 years old and have your whole life ahead of you: you have mastered one profession, master another.
But what if you are considerably older and you are already “hung” with obligations, like a Christmas tree with toys? How to change a profession in 30, 40, 50 years? Is it possible to change profession in adulthood? If you have already completed our programs ” Best Self-Education Techniques ” and ” Best Communication Techniques “, you already know that it is not only possible, but also necessary, if there is such a desire.
However, you can still join our discussion today on the topic “how to change profession at any age.”
Why and why do people change their profession?
To begin with, let’s look at the reasons that encourage people to change the vector of career development. When the “why” is clear, it becomes easier to find the answer to the question “how?” Psychologists from time to time make attempts to investigate the question “Why do they change their profession and is it worth doing it in adulthood?” [ M. Smirnova, 2017 ].
Usually, there are several main reasons that encourage a person to change their profession at 35, 40 or more years old:
- Desire to earn more.
- “Glass ceiling”.
- Tired of routine.
- Unhealthy work environment.
- Interest in another field of activity.
- Imbalance between work and leisure.
Please note that this study was conducted in 2017, when there was no covid or military action in the immediate vicinity of state borders, and the specter of unemployment due to the withdrawal of large international employers due to sanctions did not loom and did not get on your nerves .
About the same blessed times is the study of the HeadHunter portal, which found out the percentage distribution of those who and those who do not want to change their field of activity [ hh, 2019 ]. As it turned out at that time, approximately one in five of those surveyed intends to change the scope of employment, and another 37%, when asked about the presence of such a desire, answered that “more likely than not.” In total , more than half of people dissatisfied with the current state of affairs:
Even earlier, scientific centers at higher educational institutions were engaged in such surveys and studies. For example, one very large-scale study was conducted in two stages in 2005-2008 and covered almost a thousand respondents in Ufa, Sochi and Samara [ G. Gorbunova, 2009 ].
It turned out that the decision to change a profession is influenced by such factors as the desire to obtain a higher social status (from 62% to 74% of respondents in different regions), a change in life goals (from 30% to 53%), a rethinking of one’s place in life (not confused with a change in life goals, from 15% to 54%) and professional deformation (from 6 to 14%):
But the desire to earn more, get rid of the routine, achieve life goals and more fully fulfill oneself in the professional field is for well-fed calm times. During the pandemic and the mass transition to “remote work”, the atmosphere in the office has ceased to be at least somewhat of a decisive factor, and “other areas of activity” that could potentially be replaced by an office routine have similarly experienced hard times.
By the way, the balance of work and leisure is also disturbed. Almost from the start of the coronavirus restrictions, it turned out that “22% of Russians began to work more during the pandemic” [ I. Chernousov, 2020 ]. True, this paid dividends: many doctors, builders and couriers began to earn more [ U. Novikova, 2022 ].
But in 2022, the topic of emigration has gained new relevance. The mass exodus of representatives of the intelligentsia and show business has already been nicknamed the “Philosophical steamboat. Attempt number two” [ O. Andreeva, 2022 ]. Whether all of them will be able to continue to work in their specialty abroad is a big question.
So, the actress Tatyana Lazareva, who left for Spain, has already managed to say that “Washing toilets is not shameful for me, but I can afford a normal life” [ G. Bogaeva, 2022 ]. Just in case, let’s clarify that, according to the situation as of May 2022, Tatyana does not wash toilets, but tries to work in her specialty, and it seems like she is succeeding in something.
One way or another, cultural and show business figures are not the poorest audience, which can wait out hard times and soon be in demand wherever there is a Russian-speaking diaspora. Citizens of a neighboring state, who were forced to emigrate due to hostilities unfolding right at their place of residence, had a much worse time. Many will be forced to change their profession, and not at all because they have an interest in unskilled work, but because without knowing the language of the host country, one cannot count on any other.
By the way, even knowledge of English does not help employment in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Germany and other countries where English is not a state language. Of course, people who have received a good basic education will learn at least Polish, even Italian, even Spanish, but mastering a new foreign language for themselves can take several years. But this is a forced option, and it does not concern Russians on a mass scale.
What other reasons do people change careers in adulthood? For example, if the profession in which they worked has ceased to be in demand or has ceased to exist at all. And this is not only the work of a lamplighter, an alarm clock man, and “12 professions that have lost their meaning” at the beginning of the last century [ G. Prorokov, 2015 ].
Our grandmothers remember the times when, in order to call relatives in another city, one had to go to the Main Post Office and order long-distance calls, and the telephone connection was made manually by telephonists. Then, of course, the function of long-distance calls appeared on ordinary landline home phones, but not everyone had them in the 80s and 90s.
Or, for example, the profession of secretary-typist. Young people will not immediately understand that this meant the work of a secretary-head, whose duties included typing on a typewriter. In fact, on the scale of history, this was not so long ago, but disappeared only with the development of computer technology and the beginning of the mass use of computers for industrial and office needs around the end of the 90s of the last century.
Add to this the trend of closing plants and factories, including in small towns where the plant was the only city-forming enterprise. And also the decline of villages and villages, from where residents are forced to move to big cities in order to just live normally, having the opportunity to go to the cinema, get an appointment with a doctor and other opportunities that are self-evident for citizens.
So the question “How to change the profession of a resident of the outback to one in demand in a big city?” is also very relevant. So, we figured out that there can be a great many reasons to change a profession at the age of 40-50. Now we will figure out how to do it.
“I want to change my profession”: how to do it?
It’s worth starting, perhaps, not with what to do, but with what you definitely shouldn’t do. Psychologists warn in plain text: “Do you want to change your profession? Be careful, don’t burn bridges! [ E. Polyak, 2020 ]. Simply put, you must first make sure that the matter is precisely in the profession, and not in physical fatigue or illness, when a person needs rest or treatment.
In addition, it is better not to quit immediately, as soon as you were visited by a brilliant idea that you deserve more. Of course, they are worthy, so try to keep the income you have, and start learning new things and gradually monetize new professional skills in your free time.
Creative fields of activity – a photographer, a DJ in a nightclub, a singer in a restaurant, a guitar teacher – quite allow this option. Yes, and a part-time job as a tutor in mathematics or a translator from German can also be scheduled for the evening after the main job.
And you should definitely refrain from clarifying the relationship “finally” if you decide to leave a boring job. Any professional field is a large village, and sometimes it is a small one, where all the news is spread in the blink of an eye. In this case, the reputation damaged by the conflict may prevent returning if a person, for example, realizes that photography is better left as a hobby, and not as a new profession.
And now the most important thing: what to do and how to change a profession even at 50 years old [ SuperJob, 2022 ]. There are several basic tips, and they are suitable for almost all situations.
Top 6 steps to change profession:
- Consider related professions and areas of activity. If the profession of a Russian language teacher is tired not at all because of checking notebooks, but because of children who do not want to learn and their parents who are not always adequate, it may be reasonable to master the work of an editor and check texts before publishing on the site.
- Get ready for some serious work. Any new profession has its own nuances unfamiliar to you, and the farther the new profession is from the one you are currently engaged in, the more such nuances will be necessary for mastering.
- Get trained. Even if the future profession does not require mandatory certification and you, as a foreigner, do not need to change your profession in a patent, it is better not to rely solely on natural data and the fact that “you already know everything” and cope with the work of a photographer, a designer of printing products, a carpenter, carpenter, plumber, etc.
- Include in your resume everything that presents your skills in a new field. Even if these are only study cases and portfolios “for yourself” so far. Otherwise, it will not be easy for a new employer to decide to hire a person who has not worked in his specialty for a day, while not being able to assess what this person (meaning you) can do.
- Be modest in salary expectations. Call the average market salary or, if you pick the right arguments, the salary is slightly higher than the average market salary in your region. Agree if the employer offers the amount a little less, citing your lack of experience. Too low your salary expectations is also not worth it, because it makes you think about your very low qualifications.
- Prepare an answer to the question about the reasons for changing profession . The question will sound with a probability of 9 out of 10, because most HR managers think quite stereotyped, or simply work according to a standard list of questions like “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”, “Why do you want to work in our company?”, “What are your strengths?”
What else do psychologists often advise? Psychologists advise dealing with your fears that prevent you from acting and doing at least something if you don’t like your profession [ HeadHunter, 2018 ]. By the way, this should be done in any case, even if you have not yet finally decided whether you will change your profession radically or look for an adjacent field of activity where it will be easier to present old experience in a new light.
Top 5 fears for a career change:
- What to do with the old profession and “lost” time.
- It will take a long time to learn new things and it is not known what will come of it.
- Starting from scratch is scary.
- What will the people around you say?
- All of a sudden you won’t be able to earn anything.
Let’s say right away that there are usually grounds for such fears. Yes, if you are a humanist and have decided to become a back-end developer, you will have to study for a long time and most likely to no avail. It is better to start with something simpler and try to master, for example, the profession of a tester in your free time from your main job.
Yes, you will go to a Junior position in IT, but it depends on you how quickly you gain the necessary experience and can move forward. Actually, there are people whose not too analytical mindset does not allow them to move beyond the Middle position and even after 15 years in IT they cannot reach the Senior level. There are people whose hands are clearly “from the fifth point” and in any working specialty they will never receive higher than the 4th category.
Yes, if you have a wife and three children, your family is unlikely to be delighted with the news that the commercial director is “not yours”, so now you will leave as a surf instructor in Bali (Maldives, Egypt). Especially if you gave up surfing 5 years ago, and now spend the summer in your country house (on the beach, in a hammock) with beer in your hands. Your future demand in this situation naturally raises doubts.
Does this mean that everything should be left as it is? Of course not, because “It is not possible to change a profession after 35 years, but it is necessary” [ D. Pantyukh, 2017 ]. Among the benefits are a fresh outlook on life, the development of adaptive abilities, new knowledge and skills that you will receive in the course of learning a new profession, and often much more income than while you were sitting from 9 to 18 and waiting for your salary to increase.
Of course, provided that you have thought everything through and taken care in advance so that you have something to live on while you are mastering a new area for yourself, so that you have the opportunity to immediately try out all the new knowledge you receive in practice and that you have adequate expectations from life.
It should be understood that earning a lot of money, knowing little, is unlikely to succeed. And at the same time, the first steps to monetize skills should not be postponed for a long time either. Practice is the test of truth, and with practice, you’ll see potential knowledge gaps faster, understand earning opportunities faster, and discover your niche where you can become an expert . Remember that even if you have mastered a new business on a 4 out of 10 scale, you can become an expert and mentor for those whose knowledge is 0 or 1.
By the way, a person who has changed his profession in adulthood is more likely to become an expert than a young specialist who has just got on his feet. Contrary to common misconceptions, if people change jobs after 40 or 45, they don’t start from scratch. And the first profession and work experience in it is not at all wasted time. At a minimum, they have experience in communications in the field in which they worked.
Often this boring and not very interesting job of an office manager, administrator, sales manager, technical support specialist involves many contacts with a variety of people. So a person learns to interact with a variety of people and understand what and from whom to expect, and this is truly an indispensable skill at the stage of forming a portfolio of orders.
And if the desire to change a profession appeared after a person hit a “glass ceiling” and there is nowhere to go higher than a top manager in his field, he has already formed a huge baggage of connections for all occasions. A former executive or commercial director has the ability to quickly resolve almost any issue, whether it is a “roof” for a new business, finding an office for rent, opening a bank account, etc.
If we are talking about a related profession, retraining is reduced to the level of short-term courses, if you need an official document, or even to several webinars, if you just need to “enter the topic” and understand the features of the chosen specialization. You just have to present your previous experience in a new context and you can get to work.
And now some more useful tips on how to change a profession from experts who say that in today’s conditions, a career path is no longer a straight line and not a ladder, but a real labyrinth [ D. Guzhelya, 2021 ].
What to consider when changing profession:
- Make an analysis of the labor market and your own desires. It will especially help those who chose a profession not too deliberately or under pressure from their parents.
- Try and learn new things, even if there is no final decision to change profession. Practice will help you quickly find what you need.
- Combine different professions. For example, to learn a programming language, which takes a long time and is a job for the future, and to complete courses for a bartender, barista, sushi master, which allow you to start earning very quickly.
- Open up to new experiences and impressions. Perhaps you have no idea what you will do best, and by trying a lot of different things, you will quickly figure out your aspirations.
In fact, today you can see a lot of examples from a well-known anecdote, when in response to the question “Why do you work as a doctor?” the young man sincerely replies that he did not have much choice because he graduated from medical school. How he chose the medical university remains behind the scenes, and not only in a joke, but also in life.
And it is worth dwelling separately on a burning question exclusively for the post-Soviet space: how to change a profession at the age of 40 for a woman? It just seems that the adage “40 years – the Indian age” from some dense Middle Ages should go into oblivion due to the changed pace and life expectancy. In reality, it still remains a guide to action for a large army of personnel officers and HRs.
What to do? Yes, in general, everything is the same as that we listed above. Moreover, today a huge array of remote work is offered, where gender and age have a minimum value, helping the boss decide whether to address you as “you” or “you”.
There are many traditionally female professions offline, such as a teacher, psychologist, cook , seller, hairdresser, makeup artist, florist. There are many gender-neutral areas of employment, where, perhaps, a man will be hired more willingly, only men are not in a hurry to go there. For example, a journalist, editor, realtor, tourism manager. Traditionally, there are more women than men in editorial offices and real estate agencies.
What if you are applying for a high-paying job in traditionally male fields such as construction, manufacturing, IT, telecommunications? There’s nothing you can do about it: you have to comply! And yes, do not be offended if at first there will be “11 out of 10” failures: a person who “switched” into a profession with a high entry threshold and who does not have practical experience is always perceived with caution.
However, successful examples of extreme career change in adulthood were, are, and, we are sure, will be. So, in 2012, the media avoided the story about Anna Kharandyuk from Ivano-Frankivsk, who worked as an accountant all her life, and at the age of 62 she mastered the profession of a DJ, gaining unspeakable popularity, which cannot even be dreamed of in accounting [ I. Druzhuk, 2012 ]. Notice that I didn’t even change my profession at the age of 35, but at 62!
You will find more different inspiring examples in the article “How to change a profession at 30, 40 or 50 years old” [ O. Lurie, 2021 ]. In addition, there are comments from HR managers about “age” candidates who have recently changed their profession, and useful tips for such candidates. In particular, take care of the portfolio, be able to clearly explain the reasons for changing the career vector, and, of course, confirm your competence in the chosen field.
And our review will not be completely complete if we do not touch on another important aspect. How to understand that you do not need to change your profession, even if you really want to?
When should you change your profession?
We have already mentioned in passing that the desire to change a profession does not always indicate that it should be a guide to an immediate change of profession. If it’s physical fatigue or burnout , it’s a matter of rest and health, and that’s how it should be approached: take a vacation, get psychotherapy, play sports. But this is not the only case when one should not rush to “re-profiling” [ Work, 2013 ].
Top 6 reasons not to change profession:
- You find it difficult to fit into the corporate culture. If you are annoyed by office wars or endless meetings, believe me, there are plenty of companies where such nonsense does not suffer.
- You feel like you are not appreciated enough. Perhaps you should be more clear on what signs you will understand that you are valued: a promotion, an increase in salary, verbal praise from your boss. Then it will be easier to deal with the criteria for evaluating work specifically in your company.
- You are bored at work, and the working day stretches endlessly. You can simply try to work better and show at least a minimal interest in the company’s immediate plans. It is likely that you can “fit” into them and there is something more interesting than shifting pieces of paper from place to place.
- You have reached your glass ceiling. This may apply only to a specific company or a specific city. The transition or relocation will solve the problem of professional growth and bring additional income, rather than the hassle and losses associated with changing professions.
- You want to earn more. If this is the only thing, you can first study what your company pays more for. Perhaps there are some options for business trips, part-time jobs, etc.
- You have made a serious mistake. If you are not fired because of this, then you should not rush. If they are fired, you can ask for another company of the same profile, where they often willingly hire such “guilty” out of a desire to annoy competitors.
And one more thing, for the sake of which we will go back a little bit. Earlier we said that the decision to change a profession is influenced by such a factor as the desire to obtain a higher social status [ G. Gorbunova, 2009 ]. So this is something to think about very well.
If you are used to managing and commanding a large number of subordinates, you can quickly get tired of “sculpting” sites in splendid isolation. If you are a doctor, remember that white coats are traditionally treated with much more reverence than fitness instructors.
And even more so, you should not “drop everything and step into the abyss” if you are a typical “white collar” and are used to stability and social guarantees. Having no experience of independent sailing in the raging ocean of business may be forced to take any job, just to earn at least something. Washing toilets, of course, is an extreme thing, but also working as a waiter, packer, pizza delivery man instantly strains such people and definitely does not bring them closer to the goal of obtaining a higher social status, as they dreamed at the stage of starting a business on their own.
If nothing from our article suits you, perhaps the job is generally “not yours”, and you don’t need to “bother” so much in order to change your profession. Find a hobby that will “capture” you completely, and then you simply will not have time to think that something does not suit you in your work or profession. As they say, “let it go as it goes.” In the end, millions of people are just busy with something from 9 to 18 and are happy with some minimal stability. What is not the path to mental health and peace of mind?
We wish that each of you find your own path, suitable for you personally. We invite you to our programs ” Best Self-Education Techniques ” and ” Best Communicatio