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Midlife Career Change- You’re Not Alone!

Updated: Mar 10, 2023

Midlife woman career change
Changing career in midlife to teach yoga

As I mentioned in my first post (Who Dreads Getting Older), I quit my long-time teaching career to become a full-time yoga teacher at the ripe old age of 45. At the time it seemed like a drastic change, however, in hind sight it’s not all that surprising.

I was feeling stuck in my career, and didn’t feel like I was going to progress any further. I was stressed out because I was juggling the demands of my teaching job as well as the demands of a young family, especially when my husband was away for work quite a lot. We don’t have any family support here as our entire family lives back in Canada. And little did I know, but my anxiety, stress and brain fog was coming on as a result of my start on my menopause journey. I had entered perimenopause, but was completely unaware. I thought menopause was something that happened in your late 50s and early 60s!

I was working long hours- 10 hours at the school plus working on the weekends. I didn’t really have time for my family, and if I was looking after my family, I didn’t have time to catch up on work that needed to be done. I had no sympathy from my employer, just demands as to why things weren’t getting done. I was exhausted, emotional and lonely.

According to the Office for National Statistics, I’m not the only one. Forty-two percent of over-45s planned to change their careers within the next 2 years! When asked why over 50s had left their jobs, the answers came back as:

-Didn’t feel valued (13%)

- Stress/ Mental health (10%)

- Needed a change in lifestyle (10%)

Thirteen percent of people surveyed, said they changed their careers due to ‘burnout’. (June 2019, InHerSight).

And that was BEFORE the pandemic. Now since Covid-19, Forbes Magazine reports that 61% of women plan on a career change, while 25% of women are busy setting up a new business. Unsurprisingly, a majority of the businesses being set up are in the ‘Healthy and Fitness’ and ‘Publishing’ industry. Approximately half of the women they surveyed saw COVID as an opportunity to find a new profession.

Knowing these facts now, I don’t feel like such an outsider. In fact, I’m quite the cheerleader for career changes for women in midlife. My former colleagues when they see me comment on how happy I am nowadays, and how proud they are of all that I’ve been accomplishing.

For me, the Pandemic was a real eye-opener as to why everyone needs multiple revenue streams. I always say ‘Don’t put all your eggs into one basket!’ and having only 1 income source is like having that. With yoga studios and gyms closing down, it was time for me to take action and pivot. In 2020, I went straight into teaching yoga classes online, but also picked up another job as a teaching assistant on an online teacher training course. When things began to slowly open up again, I started also working at a gym, where my income was a bit more consistent. Since then, I’ve started up my own coaching business and am launching my own online course. I run workshops bi-monthly and have been putting away money for ‘Just in case’ happening again.

Women supporting women in careers
Career women in midlife

Was it hard to switch careers midlife? Yes. Do I regret it? Absolutely not! Was my dad mad at me for seemingly wasting my university education? Yes! Do I care? Absolutely not! In fact, I feel I put my university education into more use now. And I’ve kept up with my training and learned so much more along the way.

I now work my own hours (in the comfort of my own bed if I want!). If I need time off, I simply take it. For example, my grandmother passed away in 2019, and I was able to hop on a plane to attend her funeral and see family without feeling guilty or getting the ok from anyone. When I wanted to go to Glastonbury with friends last June, I didn’t have to sneak behind my employer’s back and pretend to be sick so that I could go. I could shout it from the rooftops that I was going to this amazing once in a lifetime experience and truly enjoy myself.

There are a few things I might do differently though. So, if you’re thinking of a career change, here are a few tips for you to make it a smoother transition.

  • Start saving money if you haven’t. Put away at least 10% of your paycheque into a savings fund to help you out when things get tough.

  • Be sure to have a heart-to-heart with your other half. Explain to them why you want a career change. What makes you unhappy about your current situation? It’s also a good time to discuss household finances and long-term plans.

  • Could you start a side-hustle instead while slowly cutting back your full-time hours? I appreciate that this isn’t always available. But, is there something out there that you love and could potentially do on the side? I know someone who used their sewing skills to start up a dog fashion shop @sewpawcreations and another woman who turned her side hustle of decoupaging coasters and vases into a full-time job @ivyandhartcrafts just to name a few. Check them out on Instagram when you get a chance.

  • Really think about what you’re passionate about. What are your talents and skill? Create a vision board for yourself with this in the centre.

  • Update your CV- especially if it’s been a while since you’ve last done it.

However, sometimes it’s good to jump in the deep end because if you don’t, you’ll never really see what else you could have done. By pulling off that safety blanket, you really do have to give your new career all you have to make it a reality. But that could be a good thing, because it means you have no other distractions to hold you back.

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