Charting a New Course: Strategies for Women Transitioning Careers in Midlife

Starting over is never easy, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. Women are accustomed to making the hard choices required to keep their children fed and their bills paid. Sometimes that means taking the first job that comes your way instead of having the luxury to build a career over the long term. All too often those jobs come with all sorts of promises for advancement that never pan out. You’re left on the sidelines while less qualified people are promoted right before your eyes.

Many women experience this and come face to face with the hardest decision of all. They know they need to make a drastic change, but they also know that could come at a significant cost—both to themselves and their families. Those changes have to be made carefully and intentionally. Let’s explore some strategies for doing just that.

Back to Basics

Changing your career means going back to basics—while that is certainly scary, it’s also an opportunity. This is a good time to take a step back, look at the world, and think about what kinds of things engage you. If you like working with people and solving problems, a career in IT might not be your first choice, but it might be something you’d excel at.

Many companies are desperate for people who are reliable and hungry. You might not think of yourself that way. You might be tired from doing dishes, managing schedules, and taking care of every last thing for your family—but a career change like this is an excellent opportunity to explore new sides of yourself you’ve never considered.

Own Your Skillssmiling woman

It’s easy to talk yourself out of something because you lack the skills or formal education to make it work. People underestimate women, and as a result, you might feel inclined to underestimate yourself. It’s important to look at yourself with fresh eyes and acknowledge your accomplishments and your achievements.

Recognize the soft skills you’ve learned—the ability to organize, to show up, to deal with people on the phone and push through an uncomfortable situation. Instead of spending time worrying about the skills you don’t have, focus on the ones you do.

Some questions you might ask yourself:

  • What do other people ask you for help with?
  • Are there activities or hobbies you’re interested in?
  • How do you learn best?
  • What kind of work environment do you enjoy?
  • Are you better at starting projects or seeing them through?

Seek Supporters

It might sound cliché, but it’s important to seek out supporters and champions you can rely on. Reach out to established professionals (especially other women) who have experience in that line of work for advice and support. Building a network can take time, but spending time on that pays dividends.

Develop a Story

The secret to sales is telling a story. Real estate agents want you to imagine your family in the house they’re showing you. Salespeople want you to understand what value a product can bring to your life. By the same token, when you’re transitioning to a new career, it’s good to have a sense of your own story and be ready to sell people on you.

Be Engaged

Curiosity, hard work, and energy are very attractive traits. Engage your inner child and get curious about the career you’re thinking about transitioning into. The more questions you ask, the more excited you seem, the more people are going to want to work with you.

Outside Support

Transitioning from career to another is a heavy process. You might feel selfish thinking about a big change like this. Friends and family you have sacrificed for may have to pick up the slack.

Nevertheless, you’re building a better future for yourself and for them. If you’re having trouble navigating this process, schedule an appointment today to learn more about our women’s wellness group. We can make a plan to navigate this process gracefully.