Looking to comprehend how to change career at 40? In this article, I have collected some practical tips on how to accomplish it.
Changing jobs at the age of 40, or even later, in these economic and employment changes, has become necessary for many. Millions of people of mature age are looking for a job. A part of the adult population, for generations accustomed to seeing work as a single vocation, to be cultivated throughout life, is finding it a little difficult to accept this new prospect; many, on the other hand, have realized that the changes taking place can be an opportunity to evolve: to change jobs at 40, to re-enter and reposition oneself in the flow of a rapidly changing market.
This new need has seen the emergence of new forms of associationism, which offer an informative and responsive network, through participation in events, networking among people, and trying to promote initiatives that involve private entrepreneurship and public institutions, even at the level of political debate. This is to raise awareness on the issue of finding or rediscovering a job a 40.
The over-40s types, who are in a ”fluid” phase on the employment side, are very variable and tend to be:
- employees who have lost their jobs, but who have a specific professionalism consolidated over time;
- employed men and women who want to grow professionally, but who do not see possible ways of improvement in their current employment and are looking for solutions;
- non-working men and women who, for various reasons, come from a long period of inactivity and who want or need to find work in their forties Self-employed workers, freelancers,
- professionals, and small entrepreneurs who are aware that they have to, and in most cases, want to change their lives and work at the age of 40 to keep up with changing market conditions or to give new impetus to their professional profile
Certainly, the adult phase is a very sensitive condition of working life – here I put myself in the first person because I feel involved – we feel that we have a wealth of experience and knowledge at our disposal, whatever our field of application, which can be useful, but if not properly addressed and applied is practically lost, and makes us feel useless (as well as creating some problems with our wallets!).
For this we need some operational insights, I have identified four steps, which can set us on the path to solving our problem.
Changing jobs at 40? Start with the right question.
The best start, to find the appropriate response to our need to change jobs at 40, is certainly to know what we are looking for. We will find ourselves in great difficulty and dissipate a lot of energy if we do not focus on exactly what job or circle of jobs we would like to do or would be willing to do.
Taking the time to analyze the market about our aspirations, skills, and interests is crucial. Questioning what we know how to do, what our skills are, and how much we want to invest – time, money, and effort – in creating a new professional identity for ourselves, perhaps through a new period of training, is the first step.
For those with confused ideas, I recommend doing your survey by frequenting the countless job search portals, analyzing the most in-demand occupations, and comparing them with your skills. If on the one hand, you might feel discouraged – the typical feeling is that you will never be suitable for any job – on the other hand, you will be able to understand some market trends; I can testify that I have discovered new jobs and professions, which I did not know existed yet, just by surfing through the job advertisements! So stop thinking ”I can’t do anything” and roll up your sleeves!
The most difficult part is undoubtedly that of recognizing the changed conditions around us and, even more so, within ourselves. Losing a job at 40 or the need to face a new challenge, to change jobs at 40 is a psychological commitment that calls into question years of building our identity and requires extraordinary motivation.
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Valuing one’s abilities and deciding to realize one’s dreams
Having passed the awareness hurdle, it is time to roll up our sleeves and find solutions for changing jobs at 40. We have worked out what we can do, and what the ultimate goal is that we want to achieve – at least the narrow boundaries – now it is time to create a personalized path for ourselves. The strength of 40-year-olds who get back into the game is precisely the wealth of experience and know-how, the knowledge of relational dynamics, experienced over time, and the unquestionable sense of greater reliability that can be conveyed compared to a young novice. What is needed is the right method to make it known and appreciated.
Even for a mother, who has temporarily suspended work to devote herself to her offspring, the experience of motherhood should not be considered lost working time, but rather an enhancement of her soft skills, which begin to be considered professionally an added value in many aspects. Better interpersonal skills and conflict management, problem-solving, delegation skills, planning, and adapting priorities are aptitudes that have a natural application within the company. This is why someone has thought of a special course, precisely because of this new life experience, which adds to the curriculum of mothers and fathers.
Now we move on to build our placement or repositioning strategy, giving ourselves short-, medium- and long-term goals. It is unlikely that, having embraced the idea of change, we will immediately find the right solution (by doing this, I do not want to exclude even a theatrical stroke of… luck), but more likely it will be necessary to embark on a path that will go through certain steps:
- training and learning part, to realign ourselves with the demands of the labor market or how to find customers (if we are self-employed or professionals);
- a part of the application and experimentation, of what we have learned;
- and a consolidation phase trying to finalize the course with satisfactory employment.
Age and more so previous experience should speed up the process somewhat, although this depends to a large extent on the goals we set ourselves at the outset.
It is quite clear that the digital transformation that is sweeping all fields, even in the more traditional activities, brings us into contact with new technological tools and relational dynamics that are different from the past – just think of the Social Media sphere, which has quickly made new professional figures necessary, for which there is a great demand.
The goals of 40-year-olds who want to change jobs will necessarily pass through an understanding of the dynamics of the Web if only to set up their own effective personal branding strategy if only to retrain themselves with professional outlets in Digital Marketing. This means, given one’s professional background, acquired or to be expanded, being able to exploit one’s strengths to market oneself to effectively reach out to potential new employers or customers.
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Observing good examples and learning from young people
We have good fortune, dear peers, in the apparent jinx of wanting or having to change jobs at 40, to have exceptional budding trainers who can teach us a lot. I am referring to Generation Y or Millennials, with whom we will be, for quite a while yet, elbow to elbow in the world of work and who are already shaping it in their image. I am also referring to our children, still of school age, who live in a technological complexity in which they are absolutely at ease and who act as instructors to their parents and grandparents daily, deftly handling smartphone functions or tablets unknown to us.
Comments on the backwardness in adopting innovations on the political front have always been wasted. An article in Sole24Ore.com a few years ago, stigmatized the lack of understanding of the potential of the digital sector, precisely in comparison with the investment choices made for decades in other countries (alas, Germany always in the lead). But, despite this gap, it also highlighted the swarming of an active and innovative undergrowth in the digital economy – and here we come to the young, but not only them – who have given rise to a veritable mini-army of so-called wwworkers, a job community of Internet workers that represents the demonstration of how focusing on oneself and believing in one’s creativity, with a great deal of commitment and dedication, can achieve concrete results.
Good examples and success stories are becoming literature for excellent Web Content Specialists, who make networking their profession. Among the wwworker’s stories that I have read, there are examples ranging from the creation of Apps for the virtual world of mobile (which, on the contrary, often has to do with our geographical location on the territory), to the networking of ancient knowledge; from offering services to the person, to the marketing of traditional products; from the birth of innovative start-ups to the rebirth of family workshops. There are so many examples out there, that it will be easy enough to find one that will inspire our expectations and stimulate our desire to find or rediscover a job at 40.
Networking and joining the network
We are therefore at the fourth step to change jobs at 40. We have realized that there is a need for change, we have identified our shortcomings and chosen how to fill them (courses, video lessons, books, direct documentation on the web, friends who know best); we have also researched our aspirations, which are the best examples, from which to take inspiration; we have finally embarked on a path in which small daily steps and close goals aim to reach a more distant, but achievable result.
Well, now all that remains is to network, to connect, to team up with other people who have similar goals to ours, or who master useful tools to assist our skills. Joining the network does not mean getting into some undefined circuit of favors, but entering into dialogue with other people, how? Certainly not by sending a letter by post, now everything is more immediate and direct: through a chat, an e-mail, a Facebook group, a blog that talks about the topics that interest us, becoming part of a circuit of continuous training and exchange.
The speed with which the questions we ask will be answered will sometimes seem surprising, and if we have something to say, valuing our skills and experience, we may find that we can solve a problem for someone else and even find a niche in which to operate professionally.
I know, when you say it like that it all sounds easy, just follow the four steps, and lo and behold, the job comes up. It won’t be that automatic, but following these tips is a good start.
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