Career Change at 40?
So, you’re contemplating a career change. Look I get it. I’ve been there. Hell, I am there. It’s scary. I’m sure you’ve spent nights wide awake wondering if you made the right choice. Well, I’m here to tell you that you have. Still not sure? Let’s look at it a little deeper.
My Big Move
Looking straight at me, with a puzzled look that I can only describe as a mix of disgust and astonishment, she said, “Are you serious? A career change at 40? Well, that’s risky! Do you think that that’s a good idea? I mean, you have a solid career, you are successful, you like your job, and you have been with that company for 18 years…since you graduated college, Shayna! Are you REALLY sure, this is the right move at this point in your life? You’re not 20 or 30… YOU ARE 40! 40!”
That was my Mother’s reaction to the news that I was changing my career. Okay, that wasn’t really her reaction but it’s definitely what I thought it was going be. I replayed this scenario in my head over and over, until I started to believe there was no other way she’d react. Then when the time came it turned out to be the complete opposite. Instead, her reaction was that of a loving, supportive, and overly excited mother who said, “Your father would’ve been so proud”.
Days, maybe weeks later, I soon realized that the so-called “reaction” I had built up in my head was generated from self-doubt. My own worries had seeped into my logical thinking. It was a coping mechanism. But why? Why did I naturally believe that my close friends and family would not be supportive and think the idea was absurd?
K, before we go any further, I need to first thank you for reading thus far. This is Trinity’s inaugural blog post (“sound the trumpets…queue the confetti”). Yay! My official writing debut. I am two hundred words into this blog and I am not sure if I am more excited or nauseated! Either way, I am excited to be here. By the way…Hi, I’m Shayna and welcome to the Trinity blog!
Now, let’s continue. Why did I believe that my friends and family would not be supportive? Or that being 40 meant you had to be satisfied where you are in your professional career and that personal growth, success, and self-fulfillment was only available to those who hadn’t reached the big 4-0? Let me start by saying, I don’t think I have all the answers, not even close. But what I do know, is that I’m no different from the thousands of other women who are attempting to do it all.
The Career Change Crossroads
We are mothers, wives, partners, friends, daughters and…working, professional women who are at a crossroads. A crossroads where you feel like something is missing. The best way to describe it is an unsettling feeling. You aren’t unhappy, but you don’t feel fulfilled. You find yourself asking, “Is this it for me?” My whole adult life, I’ve imagined my life after retirement and it never included me retiring from the company that I currently work for after thirty years. What I always imagine is the legacy my husband and I built for our son, future family, and the many women we’ve helped inspire along the way. But, that wasn’t what I’d been working on for the last 18 years. So, what was I going to do?
When I eventually confided in my husband about the feelings I’d been having, he said, “Babe, if you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed” Looking back, I think he stole that quote from someone else (most likely Instagram). But, the fact remains the same. He was 110% supportive and come to find out, he had also been experiencing the same “unsettling” feelings as me.
So, the question in my mind now is, “Is there a magic age to success, growth, and self-fulfillment?” Have I reached my expiration date for success? Have you reached your expiration date? Well, I’m here to break it to you (and myself), NO!
The more and more I work on this new endeavor, the more I began to understand that forty is the new twenty, or is it the new thirty? Either way, all my research talking with successful entrepreneurs has told me, age doesn’t matter. In fact, I feel more prepared financially, emotionally, and physically right now than I did ten or twenty years ago. All of the knowledge I’ve gained from the last eighteen years of my professional career are the building blocks and foundation for this next chapter in my life.
Other Career Change Revolutionists
Don’t believe me? That same foundation helped Vera Wang enter the fashion industry at the age of 40. Prior to that, she was a journalist. Now, she’s one of the world’s premier fashion designers. The same goes for Donald Fisher and his wife Doris, who opened their first retail store, GAP, at the age of 40 (with no previous retail experience). Sam Walton also had a very successful retail management career in his 20’s and 30’s but didn’t reach the pinnacle of his career until the age of 44 when he founded Wal-Mart.
The list of uber-successful 40 something men and women goes on, including Stan Lee, Henry Ford, Samuel L. Jackson, Julia Childs, Rodney Dangerfield, and Charles Darwin. If this list of amazing people doesn’t inspire you… take this challenge up for the task.
Find something or someone that does inspire you! For me, finding my inspiration helped solidify my feelings and proved that anything is possible, but only if you have the guts to go out and get it!
Success doesn’t have an age limit and you and I are certainly far from being “expired!” So, grab the bull by the horns, wrestle it to the ground, and show it who’s boss! Career change at forty? You bet your 40-year-old ass! Naysayers step aside, we don’t have time for you. We’re too busy building our empires, pursuing our dreams, and realizing our true potential!