Starting a new career in your 40s


Beginning a new career in your 40s can be daunting as you start from scratch in an office of young go-getters. Our guide to switching career mid-stream can help you make the move.

It’s becoming more common for people of all ages to switch to a completely new career. Last year, over 1.3 million people changed sectors when applying for a new job, according to Office of National Statistics figures. This was an increase of 8.4% on the previous year and 19% on 2012’s figures.

But doing it when you’re in your 40s, or older, can have its own unique problems. We take a look at a few and how you can handle them.

Dealing with younger boss
One of the biggest issues people have is answering to a boss who may well be considerably younger, and possible more inexperienced. It can be hard to be told what to do and how to do it from them.

But you have to remember you’re essentially starting from scratch. While you might have been working for over two decades, it doesn’t mean you have the experience to work in your new position.  And just because your boss is younger, doesn’t mean they’re any less good at their job.

How to handle it
Remember, if you’re applying for a new job you have to trust your new boss no matter what age they are.  Get any issues you have out in the open as early as the interview. If it’s going to be a problem, better to know then.


VV 25 Aug a

Are you over qualified?
While you may not have the exact skills your new career demands, you’ll have plenty of transferable skills – which might make you feel like you’re over qualified.

But we all need to start somewhere and hopefully, these transferable skills will come in useful and help you progress up the career ladder faster.

How to handle it
Don’t look down on work you consider below you – get it done quickly and competently. The faster you can prove these tasks are easy to you, the faster you’ll be given the more challenging jobs.

Or maybe you’re under qualified
You might find yourself feeling out of your depth if you turn up on your first day expecting to know how it all works. Even the most experienced person can find they’re under qualified when starting a new career.

How to handle it
Sign up to some training or night classes either before you start or after the first week. You can also try applying your past skills to your new job – they might provide a new angle that your colleagues hadn’t thought of.

Working longer hours
Starting a new job might mean longer hours as you try and get your head around the position and impress your colleagues.

While this is fine for younger workers without a family, you may well have commitments at home like collecting children from school, taking pets to the vet and more.

How to handle it
Speak with your supervisor or boss about flexible working or working from home. Under recent changes to legislation, all employees have the legal right to request flexible working – not just parents and carers.

Being prepared
A change in career can be a major life overhaul – not just mentally but also financially.

You may have to take a pay cut for longer hours and harder work. The first year or so will be difficult as you adjust, so don’t go into it until you know you’re fully prepared. As a new starter, you might also find you have fewer holidays.

How to handle it
Make sure your finances are in order. Will your new wage cover your household bills, are you going to have to cut back on holidays, does the new company offer any benefits?

It’s also worth talking to someone in your new industry so you can get an idea what the actual day-to-day work will be like.


Posted by The Secret Businessman