What to Ask Yourself When Considering Midlife Career Change, 1
Many people will consider making a midlife career change, and here are some important questions to ask to decide if a career change is right for you.
Rather than starting from the place that a career change will “fix everything”, a /a-midlife-transition would tend to start with questions about the relationship to oneself.
IS the Issue Really Career?
This might be a hard question to answer clearly. Often, the need for a career change can seem so immediate and compelling. Yet, it’s very important to remember that it is very common to encounter deep unease at midlife transition. It can be very easy to blame externals for that unease, such as one’s career. But it’s essential to ask whether the issue is really career, or whether other factors within myself, or between myself, others and/or the world may be involved.
Most meaningful and effective midlife career change will result from some resolution or growth in my relationship to myself, and not the other way around. Career change is not a magic bullet making everything alright — but it can be an important part of connecting with who I am now.
What are My Values — Now?
This whole question of understanding myself at midlife is related importantly to the question of my key values. Those are the things that I hold to be important and precious in life.
As a person goes through the middle of life, it will be essential to ask, what are my values now? Have the things that are important to me changed as I’ve moved into the middle of my life? It’s very common that what was important to me when I was in my twenties is no longer as important to me in my 40’s. It may well be that some other key values have taken their place. It’s essential to know what’s important to me before I embark on any process of midlife career change.
What is My Vocation?
The question of values is intimately related to the question of vocation. As Ryan Duffy of the University of Florida reminds us, vocation literally means “call”, and, many people would see this word is having a specifically religious meaning. But it does not need to be viewed like that. It is possible to ask oneself the question in this way:
What is it that my own deepest being calls me too, or wants me to do? What is it, that, when I do it, something in me feels a profound rightness about it, or rejoices in doing it?
Sometimes, people really know what this is. Sometimes, it only becomes apparent through in-depth soulwork.
Often a person’s vocation will need to be expressed in their choice of career. But almost equally often, the thing or things that a person does that are of greatest importance to them, may be something outside of their work, and it may be essential to choose a career that doesn’t get in the way of the fulfillment of this vocation.
What is my calling? Again, it can often take the real discernment that comes through /a-midlife-transition to know how to best fulfill a calling from the person’s inner being. In my next post, I’ll continue with other important questions to ask when considering a mid-life career change.
PHOTO: © JonathanCombe ; Ben
© 2014 Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)