Unless you are wealthy enough that you can afford not to work, or perhaps have been fortunate enough to retire early on a healthy pension, the vast majority of people in the UK will spend a significant chunk of their adult lives at work. For some, our jobs are a joy, that we devote hours to each week, alongside people we come to consider best friends.
However, not everyone is so fortunate and a recent report found that 16% of people either disliked or hated their job, while one in five were ambivalent and had no strong feelings either way. So, what can be done to improve these figures?
The most obvious answer is to switch careers, and the Office for National Statistics claims that 10.9% of people did just that in 2018. While that may be an easier decision for those in their late teens and early 20s, it can prove increasingly tricky as you move into your 30s and beyond, at which point you may need to think more carefully about your financial options. So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of a career change when you reach middle age?
The chances are that once you’ve reached or passed 30, you’ll be a more mature, well-rounded individual. That greater wealth of life experience should enable you to make an informed, educated decision on whether your current job is right for you, and if it’s time for a change.
It’s also more likely that you will have settled down, perhaps with a partner who benefits from a steady income. This might buy you some time to find your feet in your new career without putting pressure on you to earn significant amounts immediately.
And let’s not forget, that the prospect of a fresh challenge can alter your whole outlook on life. Rather than going through the motions at a job you could do with your eyes closed, you might be reinvigorated by having to learn new skills and enjoy waking up every day feeling motivated.
One of the major potential downsides, of course, is that you may have financial responsibilities to contend with – such as paying the mortgage and making sure your children are provided for. A change in career will likely mean a drop in salary, in which case it may be worth considering your funding options while you establish yourself.
You may also find that picking up new skills when you’re slightly older is more difficult compared with your younger colleagues, who may find similar tasks easier. And of course, making a move always carries the risk of landing in a role that you enjoy less than your previous job, which may leave you wishing you could return to your comfort zone.
There are clearly positives and negatives to both sides of the argument, so it’s crucial that you give a career change careful consideration before taking the plunge.