If you’re in your 30s and think you’re too old to change careers, think again. Here are six reasons why your third decade of life is one of the best times to make a career change.
It’s the best decade of life
Let’s be honest, navigating your career in your 20s sucks. Not only do you question yourself most of the time, you have to do so while trying to prove yourself to your superiors, work out what you want from life, learn on the job, deal with screwing up and then try not to screw up again. It’s exhausting! However, we’ve found that your 30s bring a level of maturity, self-understanding and true happiness that’s often missing in your 20s. And research agrees. A 2012 survey by the now defunct social network Friends Reunited found that most over 40s say they didn’t reach their happiest until they hit 33.
We’re not surprised.
If you’re in your 30s, you may have noticed that you’ve become more confident, more realistic, more experienced and a little less highly strung than you were in your 20s. Armed with all of this wisdom, there really is no better time to start afresh, especially when you’re going down a career path you feel truly aligned with.
You’ve got lots of time ahead of you
So many 30 somethings are convinced they’re too old to start again. It’s a feeling that stems from the societal expectation that the third decade of life is for settling down. But just as it’s becoming the norm to get married, have children and buy your first home later in life, starting a new career in your 30s is also becoming more common. Remember that you will probably retire at 65 or older, which means that if you change careers in your 30s, you have the exact number of years you’ve already lived still ahead of you in your new career. You’re not too old to change careers, you’re literally just getting started!
You’ve gained the life experience needed to excel in your new career
The good news about having a decade of your professional life behind you is that you will have gathered a lot of useful experience, whether you realise it or not. And it’s this experience that will help you avoid the mistakes you made in your last career. We’re willing to bet that when you started your current career, things like negotiating your salary, standing up to your managers with tact and unapologetically saying ‘no’ were foreign concepts. But by your 30s, you’ve probably learned (often the hard way) how to excel at your job without putting yourself at a disadvantage. Celebrate that!
You know your worth
While cheeky employers readily get away with offering unfair salaries to fresh-faced 21-year-olds who are just grateful to be given a job, having a decade of professional experience under your belt makes you better equipped to judge when you’re being ripped off. You’ve probably also learned that employment is a mutual exchange – both you and your employer should bring something to the table – and any employer who undervalues your time and skills should be given a wide berth.
It gives you a new lease of life
If you’ve been working in the same field since graduating from uni, by the time you hit your 30s you will have been doing more or less the same thing for a decade. That’s solving the same type of problems, working on the same types of projects and thinking in the same way for 10 years! That’s crazy. Are you eating the same foods, wearing the same clothes, styling your hair the same and hanging out with the same people you were a decade ago? Probably not. Tastes and preferences change with time. That’s what keeps life interesting.
The transferable skills you’ve gained may help you climb the ladder quickly
If you’re planning on breaking into an industry that recognises and rewards skill and effort, starting a new career with years of prior experience in another field places you at a great advantage. Your previous jobs will undoubtedly have provided you with skills and contacts you would never have had at the start of your career in your 20s. And research by PayScale has shown that new graduates lack the type of soft skills you probably take for granted, like being able to communicate clearly by telephone, critical thinking or problem solving without turning to Google. By leveraging these skills you can make yourself more indispensable to your new employer than your 21-year-old self would ever have been.
What do you think? Do you agree that your 30s is the best time to change careers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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