When people hit their 30s, it can be a real moment of clarity in as far as careers are concerned. This is because, for many people the reality of life has set in and their situations have now changed a lot from what they were throughout their 20s. The realisation that you’re not getting any younger hits you and life becomes a lot more serious as you start to think about settling down. The decision to get a ‘real’ career often follows these realisations; however, it can be a very tricky time.
Generally people have managed to get a good education and some good work experience in by the age of 30; although work experience can be rather limited depending on how often people have changed jobs. It can also be hard if you just landed into a job after school or university that you didn’t really want as your career but you’ve been stuck in for the past 5-10 or so years, as this experience might not be valid for anything that you now want to do as a career.
Change careers at this age can be down to a few of the following reasons:
- Lack of (or no) fulfilment;
- Average or low pay – This particularly affects those whose friends seem to be getting promotions and salary increases each year;
- Finding little use for your qualifications, which leaves you feeling unworthy;
- Gaining qualifications in areas you dislike or find useless;
- No prospect of promotion;
- The job did not turn out to be what you’d expected and you don’t think you belong there anymore;
- Family circumstances now means that you have to have a more flexible job or one that pays more, due to kids or caring for older family members.
If you’re in this situation, don’t worry. There are plenty of others going through this and being in your 30s and changing careers is a lot more common than you think. Many people are actually just winging it throughout their 20s, hoping for the best and not needing to make any hard career decisions until life demands it, which often comes when buying a house, getting married or having children.
There are some challenges that you will need to face, as changing career is never going to be easy, so you must expect that you’re not going to just fall into the perfect role. You have to research the job market until you find roles that will be suitable for you. You may also have to retrain or re-qualify, which can come at a considerable cost, although, some employers may be willing to subsidise or pay for this if they want to employ you. You may also have to consider doing an internship or unpaid work experience in order to make yourself more valuable and be able to showcase relevant experience for your new career choice.
30 can be a hard time to change career and you’ll probably have to face feelings of stress and low confidence at times but you have to keep remembering that you’re in the prime of your life and that you have a lot to bring to any organisation. Relevant experience isn’t everything, so try to play to your strengths and be passionate about your new career choice, any employer who sees commitment and passion and a willingness to learn would be mad not to give you a chance.