Finding fulfilling work: it’s never too late

Cartoon face - thinking

If you’re anything like me, you’re likely to have been working for most of your adult life, perhaps at the same job or profession or perhaps you might have changed careers several times, as I have.

Cartoon face - thinkingWhichever of the two scenarios fits you, you may have reached a point where you feel that something’s missing, that it’s no longer enough just to be able to pay the mortgage. You may have reached a point where you want more. Perhaps you know what that is, perhaps you don’t.

When you’ve worked for so many years, it’s easy to forget what once mattered to you. The needs of everyday survival takes over and you do what you need to do to make sure you contribute to the well-being of your family.

But perhaps you’ve reached a point where you feel, “It’s MY turn now!”

As we grow older

I happen to believe that, as we grow older, it’s more important than ever to figure out what really matters to us. Why more than ever? Because, if we’re heading towards the last years of a lifetime of work, we will definitely need something that will enable us to continue to make a difference. How else will be know that we’re making a contribution, that we matter?

If that’s you, what can you do to make a start? That depends on what kind of person you are.

Good reads

You might like to start reading books on the subject of career change. Here are two I recommend:

Both are very different in style.

Nick explores the pursuit of doing work that makes your heart sing, that fulfils you as a person – not that limited part you’ve had to play but all of you. He comments that material and organisational success don’t necessarily give you what you long for – whatever it is that would feed your soul.

Roman, on the other hand, takes a much broader and more pragmatic approach.

Both are definitely worth reading.

Look at your values

Or you might prefer to take a different approach. Start with working out exactly what your values are so that when you begin to explore your career or work choices, you will feel in harmony if your choice of work matches your values. For example, if your values include ‘freedom’ and ‘being creative’ then retraining as a bookkeeper is unlikely to make your heart sing – although that doesn’t necessarily follow.

To start the process, find a list of values on Google and choose 10 values that feel right to you. Write them down, one value per piece of paper. Now pick one and compare it with each of the others. Which value is more important, A or B? Then move on to A or C, A or D and so on.

Continue until you have gone through them all and re-write them in order of importance.

Dancing bear ornamentThe next step is to reflect on all the knowledge, skills, experience, gifts and talents you have accumulated over the years in your private as well as your professional life and whittle it down to the ones you enjoyed using. Just because you’re good at something doesn’t necessarily mean you enjoy using that particular skill.

It’s never too late

Whatever you do, don’t tell yourself it’s too late for you! I have changed careers and retrained several times over my working life, and my most rewarding times were when I studied for the Certificate in Higher Education which means I’m qualified to teach adults and professionals. I was 55 at the time.

And I was 62 when I trained to be a life coach. Best thing I ever did!

You’re at the start of a new journey! Keep your mind open and stay curious! That alone is incredibly re-energising!