7 Advantages You Have as a Mid-Career Job Seeker
Leverage your work experience to create a new meaningful career.
If you feel frustrated about your job situation, you're not alone.
A survey from Gallup 2017 says that 85% of people are not engaged at work, with 18% “actively disengaged”, globally.
"Actively disengaged" is an euphemism saying "I hate my job so much that I'm going out of my way to sabotage my company"…
Call it a midlife crisis or simply a need for change, you keep dreaming of a new lifestyle far from here... a healthy drink next to your computer and flip-flops on your feet.
But even though it seems out of reach, this lifestyle is not as far as you think.
You will see below the elements that play in your favor to transition with confidence to a new meaningful career.
Let's dive in.
1 - You have an impressive skillset
During your career, you had to use different skills. Then over time, regular feedback allowed you to know what you were good at and what people knew you for. So you have a certain clarity on your top skills.
Your skills can actually be divided into two types:
Hard skills are teachable abilities that can be defined, such as being able to use a software or to speak a language.
But you also acquired soft skills in your work life. Soft skills are less tangible and harder to quantify, such as people skills. They’re like enhancers that increase any other ability.
For example, writing great emails or being a good listener could add value in any type of job.
Soft skills are often neglected because they’re less tangible, but they’re fundamental.
To help you move forward in your job search, reflect on your own life… what hard and soft skills did you develop and what skills would you love to learn?
Think creatively and try to combine them together in unique ways to create a set of skills that you would enjoy using in the long term.
2 - You know how you work best
You may prefer to work with your hands, in front of a computer or outside in the wild.
It can be working remotely on your own schedule or working with a team in an office.
Your frustration from your past work environments was not in vain. You have now a clearer idea of what lifestyle you need to feel stimulated. So what types of jobs would fit your ideal lifestyle?
There is a global trend led by young location independent workers called sometimes "digital nomads" who work on their laptops from remote places. In spite of many challenges like self-motivation, this movement is bringing more emphasis on the lifestyle that comes with a job.
For example, it puts into question the necessity to commute to an office when powerful communication tools can replace most of the office interactions.
Bottom line, many jobs can be done remotely now, so it may be something you want to consider.
Whatever lifestyle makes you thrive, you have a specific idea of what it looks like. Create a picture of a perfect work day in your head!
3 - You know what industries resonate with you
Chances are, you have experience in several industries by now.
Compared to younger people in their early twenties, you are way ahead of the game. They just started professionally and only have a fraction of your life experience. For example, they wouldn't be able to identify topics that interested them repeatedly over several decades.
You probably have a clear picture of the evolution of your industries. In these times of constant and rapid change, having perspective on the global trends and on where your industry is heading can be invaluable.
A fun advantage you also have is that you "look the part" more than a 20 year-old. You will certainly be taken seriously by your future bosses, partners, clients etc…
To go further in your search for a new career fit, think about why some industries resonate with you.
What is it about a topic, a cause or an industry that you love?
What kind of work in this industry would bring you the lifestyle change you’re longing for?
4 - You know what audience you like to serve
You probably served different populations in your career. Young or old, fulfilling through your job a wide variety of desires and solving different problems.
As funny as it may sound, you probably have a few favorite pains to ease. You may be more knowledgeable about solving certain problems. You may also feel more emotionally connected to some issues.
Think about what audience you would love to serve and why? What do you like about them? Then, add these new elements to the career criteria you are gathering.
By choosing an audience, you indirectly associate yourself with people also working to solve your audience’s problems. These people - business partners and colleagues - tend to have similar preferences and world views as you do.
In such an environment, bonds can happen easily and the feeling of finding your tribe can be rewarding.
Dealing every day with an audience that doesn’t interest you can be draining. By making sure you aim for a career-audience fit, you stay away from potential frustrations coming from a mismatch.
People around you matter, don’t overlook this point.
5 - You know what makes you happy
You probably have a few favorite activities in mind, but let’s try to gather a few more.
Remember happy memories at work. Go back as far as you can.
What activities did you enjoy? What type of work you were doing in your most fulfilling moments?
Were you with colleagues or was it a creative time on your own?
Was it time in front of others or was it organizing things backstage?
These elements are important pieces to include in your job requirements. They are things you enjoy doing, and you can’t go wrong building up a career by following joyful moments.
Pursuing activities that light you up will lead you to find jobs that feel more fun than actual work… how cool is that?
6 - You (hopefully) have your finances in order
Compared to a young adult, you established some financial security.
You may have savings. The loss of a parent, a spouse sharing expenses or selling your house are situations that are more available to you than to a twenty year old.
More money means more freedom. This puts you in a position where you can afford investing in your career without putting yourself in danger financially.
Changing career can take time. I would encourage you to set up a financial plan to see how much runway you would have if you were to start either a new business activity or a job search.
When possible, try to get out of debt, downside your costs when possible and work your plan daily.
The idea is to be financially comfortable pursuing this lifestyle change for the time necessary to set it up properly, which usually requires months if not more than a year.
7 - You have more time for yourself
If you had kids, they may have grown up and they probably don't need you as much as before. They may even have left the house, freeing you time that you can now invest in yourself.
You don’t care much about the opinion of others anymore so you won’t waste time posting pictures on Instagram like young people tend to overdo.
You see through advertising and you don’t fall for it. You know what you need.
Time is on your side.
You still have energy to go for your dreams, so take advantage of this precious timing in your life.
It's time to do what you love and say no to the things that don't work for you anymore.
Armed with a new career plan and determined to protect your time, you will be able to move towards your new and inspiring career quickly.
If you don’t stop and rethink your career at midlife, when will you?
Finding a career aligned with who you really are involves putting together the elements that resonated with you during your previous professional experiences.
Without taking in consideration these ingredients, it will be difficult to create the career that will taste the way you like it.
But once you create an action plan and start rediscovering yourself, you will get out of your midlife crisis and bloom professionally.
Embrace the change.
Cut your toxic relationships. Cut your distractions. Cut your dependence to material possessions.
Get rid of the clutter in your life. Make space.
Go back to the essential things that resonate with you.
Making space in your life is essential and it will feel better than you expect. At the end of the day, feeling calm and having time to go back to the things that really matter to you is priceless.
Have fun, and keep in mind that you’re closer than you think.
“Compared to where I was before, I have clarity and a real goal now. I feel my state of mind allows me to access many opportunities, it's impressive. I'll be forever grateful.” Amélia B.