Career Change - It's never too late
To change career at least once in our lives has become somewhat of a norm rather than an exception in the Western part of the world. The days when we stayed in one and the same job or career for an entire career span are slowly disappearing; now is the era of flexible working, remote offices and exploring what opportunities lie beyond the 9-5.
Many of us look to grow, develop and be stimulated at work on a continuous basis, even when growth inevitably might mean making a big shift in our working lives. If growth and stimulation isn’t offered where we are right now, it’s common to start craving change and fulfillment. This is a moment to pay particular attention to however - it is now that the nagging little negativity masters in our heads tend to turn up their volume to let us know that actually, we might just be a little bit too late to the game to start chasing our dreams. Changing career, going for what you want – isn’t that for other people, not you? And what if it doesn't work? These gremlins tend to be very creative, and the closer we are getting to what we want, the louder they seem to become. They are the self appointed "saviors" of your life, trying to protect you from dangers that aren't necessarily real.
The good news is that we all have these voices. Every single one of us. The key to moving forward is not whether or not we have negative voices, but how much we choose to let them guide us through life. This is a time when we will benefit from practicing self awareness: acknowledge their existence (because it's futile not to), but also take the chance to say thanks for trying to look out for me, but I'm fine to them. I'll be moving forward now, thank you very much.
If we allow the gremlins to run the show, we’re inevitably setting ourselves up for disappointment, staying stuck and potentially even depression. If we however choose to acknowledge them but not act on what they say, we are opening ourselves up to whatever is beyond that first moment of hesitation, which happens to be where the magic lies. With that in mind, it may be well worth it to learn the skill of acknowledging the gremlins without engaging with them. Isn’t that pretty exciting?
Here are some people who have gone beyond their doubt and changed their careers, lives and proved that it’s never too late to start again; it’s never too late for a second, third or fourth career.
Laura Ingalls wilder
The writer of the wonderful Little House on the Prairie books that are famous worldwide and made their way to become an equally famous TV series got her start in writing late. Laura first worked as a teacher to later become a homemaker and farmer. It wasn’t until she was 65, in 1932, that the first Little House book was published. It was her daughter Rose, a journalist, who encouraged her mother Laura to write about her childhood. Laura first wrote an autobiography called Pioneer Girl which got rejected wherever it was sent. Showcasing some grit and determination, Laura reworked the writing, changed the title and rewrote it from third person. Soon after, the Little House in the Big Woods was published, and the rest is history.
The now renowned fashion designer, famous for creating fabulous wedding dresses and more, spent her youth as a competitive ice skater, and later completed an art degree at college. She spent 17 years working at Vogue, and then two years as a director of design at Ralph Lauren. It was in this role that she gained the courage to believe in the possibility of entrepreneurship. Vera went on to design her own wedding dress, and at 40 she resigned from her job to become a bridal wear designer. Her company Vera Wang is today one of the most successful bridal fashion companies in the world.
Let Julia Child be your inspiration for more than just cooking and saying 'Bon Appétit!' à la Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia. The TV-chef who would take America by storm in the 60's and 70's through her cookbooks and TV-show came late to her culinary game. Following her and her US State Department husband's move to France, she described her first French meal as "an opening up of the soul and spirit". Her Parisian living sparked an interest in food, making her determined to learn how to cook in her late thirties. She published her first cookbook at 49 (which had first been rejected) and made her TV-debut at 50. She went on to enjoy a prosperous career doing what she loved - cooking and sharing her love of food with other people.
American writer David Sedaris spent many years of dabbling in different jobs, famously working part time as a Christmas elf, before he was discovered during an open-mic night in Chicago while reading from his diaries. He went on to make his National Public Radio debut at 46. Perhaps not a clear career shifter, but nonetheless a demonstration of how hard work and sticking to doing what you love can pay off.