60-Something and Changing Careers? 4 Reasons Why . . .


changing careers

I’ve been in a classroom for 20+ years. I’ve taught Language Arts for all of those years – every one of them in a middle school setting. Now, with only a few years before retirement, I’ve decided it’s time to make some career changes.

Friends and family all ask the same questions: “Are you sure you want to do this?” “Why would you make a change now, so close to the end?” “Have you thought this out?”

I have to admit, I’ve been asking myself the same questions.

I mean really, why would I go to the bother of changing now? I could just keep doing what I’m doing, improving here and there, enjoying the many years of growing and learning that have brought me to my relatively-comfortable-classroom-teaching existence.

But NOOOO, I’ve decided to go into a job that means more training and learning. It requires countless summer-break hours writing and planning. So why do it? Why would a 60-something person decide to make a change like this? Why would anyone make this decision?

You know it’s time to make some career changes because . . .Changing careers

Reason #1 for changing careers: It’s harder to face the same-ole’ thing than the work it takes to change. If you see every week as the same, dealing with the same things over and over, and feel ready to take on new challenges and issues, you might be ready for a change.

I recently met a woman who worked in banking for almost nine years. She was thrilled to get the job – it meant stability and security for her future. Years passed, and she moved up the ladder, seeing a better income and nicer benefits.

The last two or three years were terrible for her – not because of working conditions, but because she felt the drag of the same thing every day. Each morning she would get up and listen to positive motivation tapes, creating enthusiasm for her day. By noon the depression and lack of motivation would hit. She went home each day wondering how she’d be able to go back the next day.

Through a merger, her job became unnecessary, and she was “let go.” This gave her the motivation she needed to not only change jobs, but move across the country. She now drives a tour bus through a national park and loves going to work each day. She discovered she’s more of a people person, and meeting new people every day provides the creativity and stimulation she needs. 4 reasons for changing careers

Reason #2 for changing careers: The creativity is no longer there. If you find you’re just going through the motions, relying on what has worked for you in the past without creatively solving challenges, chances are you’re stagnating. You go to conferences and seminars to get pumped up then come home and implement the things you learned, but the newness soon wears off. If you realize the things you learned are just temporary fixes for your lack of overall creativity for your job, chances are you’re ready for a change.

Reason #3 for changing careers: The new direction works with your long-term goals. Excitement for something new is all fine and good, but remember the old saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side”? If the allure of a new challenge or direction leads you away from your long-term goals, chances are you’re ready for a change, but the shiny new option isn’t really the right one.

Think where you will be in 2 – 5 years if you make the change; if you see it gets you where you want to be at that time, it’s the change for you.4 reasons for changing careers

Reason #4 for changing careers: You’re going toward a challenge, not running away from one. There is a huge difference. I’ve seen too many people make a change because they want to escape their current situation. It usually doesn’t end well because the change is made based on emotion.

I know a man who was unhappy in his job because the company had stopped moving forward, and he felt he needed to make some career changes. He jumped at the first opportunity that came along – after all, “Anything’s better than what I have,” he thought.

Unfortunately, the opportunity wasn’t really what he’d hoped – he found himself in a worse situation than the one he left.

If you really are ready for a change, be careful about jumping ship too soon. Plan the change. Look for situations that better meet your talents and goals. Look at the options carefully before making a decision.

When you’re sure it’s time to change, go forth and conquer!4 reasons for changing careers

I won’t lie – I feel more than a little anxiety about changing directions. I wonder if I’m ready and able to change at this time of my life. Then I realize I’m not running away from anything; I’m running towards a chance to feel more useful and be more creative. The change in career supports my long-term goals, so I’m going to do this.

Afterall, when a new opportunity checks all the boxes, you know it’s time for a change, and you just have to go forth and conquer!

Have you changed careers or are thinking about it? What are some concerns or reasons you have? Share your comments below because we learn from each other.


  • I left my old job at 52 because I was bored, unappreciated and I was tired of the drama. I actually thought I’d never find another job, but when you have maturity and current skills there is always an employer ready to snap you up. 4 weeks later I was in a new job – better pay and better boss – win/win!

    • Melody Smith

      Good for you! It takes courage to walk away from a job that’s familiar at 52! You’re so right – maturity and current skills make you marketable at any age.

    • Brook Mendez

      That’s awesome. Congratulations.

  • Brook Mendez

    I am not planning on changing careers anytime soon. But when I had to change to a new textbook this semester, I found a new excitement for the same old. The material is presented more clearly, the structure of the course is now more straight forward, and there are so many new opportunities for new assignments, discussions, etc. It’s a lot of work, but it is worth it.

    • Melody Smith

      The new direction of a curriculum always creates enthusiasm for me, too. Your students will recognize that in the projects and readings your put with the course. I’d love to take one of your courses, but “business ethics” seems a little much for my brain at this time…