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06 June 2007 @ 07:16 am
When is someone "too old" for a total career change?  
I've been wondering about that a lot lately...

Lately I've been thinking about this - in light of my recent return to night school - and I wonder if what I'm doing is too little, too LATE. I'm *cough* *cough* almost 40 (in two and a half years) and I spent most of my life plodding through my daily job, just trying to make it through to the weekends...

Most of you know that I never expected to get into banking, much less the securities industry. I took a job as a teller for six months back in 1994 when the photo studio I was working for cut back on our hours due to health problems of the owners. It was only supposed to be six months, until the studio could get itself back on its feet... Six months, though turned into 12 years... and with each promotion the pay got better and with each promotion it seemed more and more certain that I wasn't just there for a job, and slowly the realization set in that this had become my career... :P

Now I love the people I work with, and I love helping people so that part of my job I completely adore... but the industry itself is the LAST place that I ever thought I'd end up. :P

So recently I've been taking night classes at KCC and I'm LOVING it... so much that it's all I can think about at work and I wished I was a full time student so that I could go through the curriculum that much faster...

So my question is - have I passed the age in which trying to change careers makes any kind of sense? I mean,... I have four weeks of vacation a year, I'm an officer of the bank, I make okay money for what I do, I have a nice office and GREAT co-workers... I can never complain because it isn't a BAD life... But the simple fact remains that I don't really like what I do. :P Just once I'd like to wake up and actually be glad that it's Monday.

I see people who LOVE what they do for a living... My LA theatre friends - heck, some of my co-workers (which is wonderful!)... They're all such inspirations when it comes to living the kind of happy life they want to lead... I've NEVER been about the money or about the "title" - I just want to have a passion for what I'm doing... :P

Sometimes I think I'm being a fool for taking all this on so late in life... Any thoughts that you could shoot in my direction regarding this would be greatly appreciated. HUGS to everyone!
BOOM! goes the dynamite!: Jesse L Martinmslauren2930 on June 6th, 2007 05:30 pm (UTC)
as I have met people in my travels with Goodwill who are in second or third careers, you're NEVER too old to switch directions or make a job or career change or retire from one field to pick up and do something completely different or new. in fact, I will ask the one person I had in mind as I read through your post if he can write up a little blurb about his career changes for you if he has a moment or two. :)
BOOM! goes the dynamite!: JJ and Coach K by downgloryroad_xmslauren2930 on June 6th, 2007 05:32 pm (UTC)
boo, Jim isn't listed in our directory, so he might not be with the Tyler Goodwill anymore, but if I can, I'm going to see if I can track him down to offer some very experienced advice for you. :)
Sheri: Jesse L. Martin - Rent the movie *SIGH*shutterbug93 on June 6th, 2007 05:40 pm (UTC)
You are the best, Lauren! I'd appreciate any words of wisdom that someone who has been through this before could share! I'm so excited about the possibility, but skeptical at the same time... If I was just 10 years younger... :P *SIGH*

BTW, as a side note, your choice of icon has made me all giddy. ;) What a nice way to start my morning. :)

Big HUGS to you Lauren!!
BOOM! goes the dynamite!: Jesse L Martinmslauren2930 on June 6th, 2007 05:45 pm (UTC)
*grin* I knew you'd like seeing Jesse. :) as someone who has been out in the world, gone back to school and then gone back into the world, it's not nearly as scary as you think it is. although, in part, you are jumping off a cliff so to speak, but you really have to trust yourself and know that things will work out. and hopefully I'll be able to track Jim down so I can get his perspective as well, because he started at Goodwill around the time he first started becoming a grandfather, IIRC.
Life Sushi! ...interesting, tasty and raw!: Bajakatya_doll on June 6th, 2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
doing what will make you happy...
and what is a lucrative job are sometimes two different things.
I am good at what I do (legal office admin monkey) but my heart isnt in it. I am going to school to further solidify my position with this firm (for money's sake). I am looking to go into real estate law (switch firms). Then I want to finish my bachelors in criminal law or business. My heart of hearts would have me in the corner's office/mortuary/medical forensics; but God didnt see fit to bless me this THAT kind of gray matter capacity. I am 32 and still looking for my second career.
NO, it is not too old. Pssht! Your joie de vivre (sp?), motivation, and great attitude will carry you through school. See if your banking talents can pave your way into a higher level position in your dream job before you quit/leave and strike out on your own. Caution is the key here.
Make contacts, ask questions! Youre already well-on your way with an inquisitive entry we can all comment on.
Was I in it?alligatorandme on June 6th, 2007 06:00 pm (UTC)
If you have enough saved up to take more classes, do it! In 2.5 years you'll still be 40, but you could either be 40 and where you are now, or be 40, know more and possibly be somewhere else and happier! I guess. ;-) (I should never be a shrink.)
kathyselden on June 6th, 2007 06:08 pm (UTC)
I don't think you're ever too old for a career change. We had a lady in the theatre department who graduated this year and had just turned 50. She already had a degree that she had gotten when she was younger, but she started out costuming for her kids shows, then she got into costuming for Theatre in the Park which is a professional theatre run by David Ira Wood (Evan Rachel Wood's dad). She decided to go back to school and get a costuming degree because that's what she really wanted to do.

Do what feels right to you, Sheri. You are only approaching 40, and they say 40 is the new 30. If your job has lost its luster and as long as you have Mark supporting you, then I say go for whatever you want to do.
Nicole TWN: crusadeellipticcurve on June 6th, 2007 08:05 pm (UTC)
Do it!
Suppose you decide NOT to change careers. Flash forward five years. You're now five years older, and just what will you have to show for it? Further advancement in a job you're not crazy about? Hooray...
Or you could follow your ambitions and build the life you REALLY want.

My mom started working again when I was in high school. She hadn't worked since my sister was born, and--believe it or not--the job market was kinda slow for bilingual French/English secretaries.* So she went to night school to become a medical transcriptionist.
Long story short (all together now: too late!): she discovered, along the way, that what she REALLY wanted to do was architectural drafting. So she went back for her associate's in it. She was in her fifties at the time. Now she's sixty-[REDACTED] and has nearly ten years experience, and is having a blast.

* I'm sort of amazed that "bilingual secretary" was ever a viable career option, but there you go.
ajayne on June 6th, 2007 09:37 pm (UTC)
First off - you're NOT EVEN 40 YET! :D And second, you're never too old to change careers. If you can find something that you absolutely love and get paid for it, then do it. That's why I am doing what I am doing. It's not going to make me rich, but I am doing what I love - helping people feel better both physically and emotionally.

You don't want to hate your job - and spend most of your life there. That's my mom. Been in the same job for 26 years - and hated the last 25 years of it but she stayed for the pay and the benefits. If you feel that you can make a change that will make your life happier, then do it. *HUGS*
Care: Can I see the gray?careleswhisper on June 6th, 2007 11:26 pm (UTC)
You are never too old to change careers. Hell, you aren't even old, Sheri! The way I see it, can you really see yourself sticking around for your retirement days with that company? That's another what, forty some years from now? Can you even see yourself there five years from now?

It's amazing that a few classes can open up so many doors. I say go for what is going to make you happy! :) It's never too late! Love ya. *hugs*
Kananigirlkananigirl on June 6th, 2007 11:40 pm (UTC)
I think you're never too old for a job change or learning something new! If you love to do something else you should do it! You should enjoy a job you love instead of doing something you don't care to do! You should definitely go for it!
Mrs Beanshuman_beans on June 7th, 2007 01:20 am (UTC)
Definitely not too old! I made a career switch around the same age as you. Look at it this way -- will working 30 more years at the bank bring you satisfaction? 30 years at least.
bigrivermusicalbigrivermusical on June 7th, 2007 04:52 am (UTC)
I'd say you'll be never too old to do anything, even a career change as long as you have a passion and determination to go through. (My mom started to take an English conversation class after she was 62 years old)

I have a friend who graduated from UC Berkeley with a bioengineering degree, wanted to become a doctor but she got pregnant and gave up her dream. But when the child was about 5 years old or so, she returned to a med school (she was over 40 yrs old at that time) and now she is an intern and it will take another 10 years or so to become a real doctor because she wants to be a surgeon! But she sacrifices a lot too. She doesn't have much time to spend time with her husband nor kid, no vacation of course and study/work for long hours.

So what I'm saying is that it can be done but you cannot do it with half-heartedly either. But whatever you decide to do, we'll support your decision wholeheartedly.
Sputters and Spurtswallacebear on June 7th, 2007 01:34 pm (UTC)
Happiness is too important!
Hi Sheri,
You are not too old to make changes. My goodness! There isn't an expiration date on happiness. There isn't a certain time in life where you have to simply roll over and accept what you've been dealt. You have the power to change that hand with every decision you make, and taking classes is a fine way to make that change.

It won't be easy, making the switch. Initially you may not make as much as you do now which may affect your standard of living for a while. Can you start preparing for that now? Sock away a few bucks here and there to have a little padding when the paycheck is smaller...

...And you will be doing something every day that completes you. Something that gives you personal satisfaction. Something you feel passionate about. How could you doubt that?

Just for the record, 40 isn't old. (having just passed my 39th, I feel very strongly about this!)

carush_girl on June 7th, 2007 02:30 pm (UTC)
As you said 'the simple fact remains that you don't really like what you do.' So your inner conscious is telling its a time for change - every yr that passes, alot of us change or rather we get to know ourselves better (well not all of us but quite a few)and your recognizing that your priorities are changing it this area of your life.

Its not to late for a career change.... Its time to explore what else is out there for you - well at least thats what I get from you wanting to go to school full time student so that you could go through the curriculum that much faster...
waytoocoolrevwaytoocoolrev on June 7th, 2007 03:32 pm (UTC)
It's not too late. I started my current career in my thirties - and it is worlds away from my old one. You got this one life to work with - make the most of it.
karmastyxkarmastyx on June 7th, 2007 07:18 pm (UTC)
Like all the other people have been saying, you aren't too old to change. I think you should take this time and reflect on what will make SHERI happy. As my sister said too, is your current job something you see yourself doing until you retire? I think it's great that you're going back to school, and trying to make yourself feel better about your career choices. That takes a lot of courage no matter what your age is. I must add my friend you aren't even old. :) HUGS!
lindasings on June 12th, 2007 06:21 pm (UTC)
Too old???
Probably not a problem. I qualify it, because it depends what the career move is. Every job has certain requirements -- sorry, honey, you will never make it in basketball -- and sometimes age is a factor. But the truth is, you look young. I would have guessed your age at about ten years younger than you are.

You have also factored in your relationship with your co-workers. You did that last time you changed jobs and learned that the new office also had people you love working with. You love people and people naturally respond to you. That's not going to change, so don't sweat it!

In your honor, I'm now humming a song from "A Class Act" -- "Follow Your Heart."

-- Linda