Am I Too Old to Change Careers?


Well, how old are you? I say that you are only as old as you let yourself believe you are, AND the answer is no, you are never too old to change jobs. Here are three reasons people may want to change their careers:

1. They chose a career to pay the bills and now that they have the house, the toys, money invested, and they are secretly yearning to do something different. Something more in line with their passions.

2. They feel stagnated and unmotivated. Getting up in the morning to go to work is a daily struggle.

3. They want to get into consulting or start their own business and don’t know where to start.

Whether you need to work past retirement age because of finances or you’re simply not ready to retire, finding more meaningful employment after a long career is a must if you want to live life with purpose and fulfillment. When you are not happy at work, you may reminisce about better times when you were able to enjoy yourself, and this can lead to feeling stuck and depressed. On the other hand, finding work that you are passionate about makes you look at the future and look forward to each day. You will be energized and most importantly, you will feel younger and yes, look younger.  Excitement is like a fountain of youth.

Making a Career Change

I coached Sarah, a 60-year-old woman and CEO. Sarah had been laid-off due to restructuring and was struggling with depression, not because she was laid-off, but because everyone around her was telling her to retire. They would tell her that she did not need to work, or that she had plenty of money and her husband was retired. Why would she want to work?

She could not quite put her finger on why she was feeling so depressed. She had this idea of helping CEOs and executives and began to look at the possibilities and opportunities encompassing this idea. All of a sudden, throughout the course of our discussions, she realized that she was not ready for retirement. She did not want to retire just yet, and now she is working as a consultant, helping CEOs and start-ups, four days a week and on her own terms.

Unless you do want to retire and not work another day of your life, it is never too late to change your career, especially if you are motivated to do so and passionate about what you do.

The Future of Work

We are at the beginning of a new age of employment. We had the Industrial Age when everything changed to mass production and the replacement of hand tools with power-driven machines. In the mid-twentieth century, the Information Age began. We are now heading into an age of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is progressing towards  Intelligent Automation (IA). This is a combination of artificial intelligence and robotic process automation, or what we can now call, THE FUTURE OF WORK.

In the book:  INTELLIGENT AUTOMATION:  Learn how to harness Artificial Intelligence to boost business & make our world more human, authors Pascal Bornet, Ian Barkin and Jochen Wirtz, explain intelligent automation, and how leading organizations can harness its full potential. My biggest takeaway, however, is its claim that IA can save 10+ million lives per year, triple our global budget for education, eliminate hunger, help protect our planet, or increase the resilience of society to pandemics and crises.

The profits from this book will be donated to charities that support education about new technologies for people in need.

If you think about it, many of the jobs we don’t like to do will be automated and there will be more jobs out there that are more enjoyable, satisfying and meaningful. Not only could it eliminate boring jobs, it will create more jobs that people will enjoy doing.

I know what you’re thinking. What does this have to do with my career change?

Hang in there, I’m getting there.

Midlife Career Change

First, we are living longer. What are we to do with our time in retirement? Even the Queen has not stopped working, and she’s in her 90s and always has a smile on her face.

What if you don’t know what you want to do? If you’re asking yourself that question, it’s because you don’t know your strengths, accomplishments and your transferable skills.

Let’s take a look at these 3 things:

1. Strengths

Sit down and make a list of the strengths you think you have. A great tool to get you started is one or more personality tests. Here are two that are free and only take 10 minutes to do:

2. Accomplishments

Writing down your accomplishments and writing about ourselves is hard. I get it. You will most likely say things like:

i.     I don’t know

ii.     I don’t like to brag

iii.     I can’t sell myself

If you don’t know yourself and what you want, how can you go for it?  How will you recognize it when it’s in front of you? I love helping people identify their accomplishments, especially the things that come naturally to them because they often don’t think of them as accomplishments. After going through my approach, they are amazed at all the things they have done.  Finding joy and purpose in work is essentially getting paid for what you love to do.

3. Transferable skills

You have accumulated invaluable skills throughout your career. Skills-based hiring is the wave of the future and the solution to more efficiently and effectively connect talent with opportunity. Can you transfer your skills to a dream job? Hell yeah!

Career change ideas

Change can be uncomfortable and stressful, however, staying in your comfort zone, after a while, can become boring. Doing things outside your comfort zone is a great way to understand yourself on a different level. It’s energizing, exciting and good for your brain. Have I mentioned it can reverse aging?

We are at our very best, and we are happiest when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we’ve established for ourselves.  It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep.  It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile. – Earl Nightingale

If you are thinking of changing careers and don’t know where to start, sign-up for my newsletter to get my free pdf of transferable skills on 5 Careers You can Transition Towards.

Please write a comment below, would love to hear from you about your thoughts on a career change.

Are you thinking of changing your career, but feel it’s too late?  Book a complimentary 

30-minute Coffee Chat to discuss your next career move.




12 thoughts on “Am I Too Old to Change Careers?

  1. Thanks for sharing this encouraging and motivating article. I am not thinking of changing my career now but might be in near future. I love my career but I also have a passion for other things I would love to explore in the future. Age is just a number and one must not let age limit them in a world of many possibilities. You can never know how gifted, or skilled you are until you start something new. 

    1. Hello Bethel, thank you for your feedback.  It’s always a good idea to keep an eye open.  The workplace as we know it is changing so fast.

  2. I definitely think that career changes later in life can be difficult because there definitely is age discrimination.

    Of course, if the career change involves going into business for yourself, then that can work, but it also requires a lot of patience.  I personally am trying to go about that by side hustling while still holding down a day job.

    Now a career change into a different industry is even harder.  About 10 years ago, I tried to switch careers from communications technology to a green-collar job in renewables, especially in solar.  

    Unfortunately, this is largely determined by government policy and the price signals sent by what our laws tell us what we should value, and obviously it says we should keep plundering and polluting the planet in order to stay in the economic game.  So that was a no go for me.

    When external factors like that play such a huge role in whether the career change happens or not, the only real recourse to take control of your future and control your narrative is to go into business for yourself.  At least that has been my experience so far.

    1. Hello Johnny,

      Thank you for your reply.  Yes, it can be a challenge to change careers, and there is help out there for you.  There are so much information now on it, even on YouTube.  Informational interviewing is also a great way to start the process.  This is where you reach out to people in the field you would like to get into and ask for a 15-20 minute chat about them, their insights and how to get in this field.  This is a valuable process that builds your network with like-minded people and potential opportunities.  I agree, that going in business for yourself is a great way to control your future.  Hiring a career coach can also be beneficial :). Wishing you all the best for your future. 

  3. There is no “too late to do anything”. It’s all in our mind and it depends on how determined we are for such a drastic change. I believe this has to do with each person’s personality. Some can adapt easier while other, especially at an older age, its too hard to do something as drastic as this.

    1. Thank you Stratos.  I agree, it’s all in our mind. A great habit to get into is to be mindful of our thoughts.

  4. Hi Joanne,

    I enjoyed every bit of this article. It connects to many of us because it speaks to what many of us wants.

    The world is constantly changing, so is the way we work. 

    Self-evaluation of your strength, weakness,  genuine passion and dedication from heart can help for a career change. I personally think, it is a need for every retiree; voluntary or other wise to have something of your own to have an enjoyable life. It may earn you money and help others.

    My job was highly enjoyable but I want to do different things now. I could have consulted but found myself enjoying my passion in other ways after retirement.  I am not bound to any boring routine daily or not responsible for outside assignments. I look for the work I truly enjoy, that gives me happiness, money, and no mental stress. 

    1. Anusuya, thank you for your reply.  I’m so happy to hear that you are enjoying your work, on your terms, in your retirement.  That’s what it’s all about! 

  5. I think you are only as old as you feel and some people have a young mind in an old body and others that are still young, have an old mindset. At the age of 63 I feel as if I am at least twenty years younger and far too young to even think of retiring. There is too much that I feel I can still contribute. 

    I agree, one is never too old to change career. But if your mindset is not allowing you to think about it, it will be difficult. It is often that we are faced with no other choice, that we do it. Thank you for sharing a very thought provoking post.

  6. There are so many things promised with the coming of artificial inteeligence. We need to weigh these promises with the revolutuins of the past and whether they will be fulfilled. After the world war, the world was promised that women would become a huge part of the workforce so families would be very properous. For the higher class, this could be argued was true, but to the poorer classes what once took one member of the household to accomplish now required both husband and wife to work just to provide the basic needs of the family. This new revolution makes incredible promises but will they be fulfilled or will they remain as empty promises? Only time will tell, but, this is not the first time that promises have been made. Thank you though for the hope you plant into people to continue to pursue something of value in their lives and believe in themselves.

    1. Thank you for your comments.  This is why, it is always better to follow your heart and passion, stay in the present with an eye on the future.  There is nothing we can do about the past.  We have the power to change our future.

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