Where your experience becomes your business.

A Career Change at 40 Could be the Best Move You Make

A Career Change at 40 Could be the Best Move You MakeWords and phrases have certain meanings and connotations, but their definitions can change over time. English is a living, constantly evolving language, and the meanings of certain words and phrases at specific times can have a tremendous impact on how people live their lives. Think about the phrase “career change.” If you're of a certain age, you might think that the phrase is synonymous with a less flattering phrase – “job search.” If you're thinking of making a career change at 40, the process comes with a lot of baggage simply because people associate career changes with job searches. This can make the process of changing careers seem much less appealing, and it's why many people simply stay in unfulfilling careers; they've reached a point in their lives where the prospect of performing a “job search” is about as attractive as visiting the dentist for a root canal.

Adjust Your Thinking

If you're ready for a career change at 40, but you're reluctant to move forward, you need to start thinking more positively about the process. A career change is, in fact, much different from a simple job search. A career change means that you are putting yourself in the driver's seat of your professional life and connecting your talents with the opportunities that suit them best.

I've talked and written at length about how the corporate world is no longer a safe place for professionals with experience and knowledge capital. A job search implies that you will simply trade job “A” for job “B,” stuck in a cycle over which you have very little, if any, control. A career change, on the other hand, breaks you out of the corporate rut and places you in a new category of employment and empowerment. It puts you in control of your destiny, and it makes you the sole arbiter of your professional value.

Consider What You Have to Offer

Once you are able to view making a career change at 40 as a positive and empowering development, you need to get over any fears you might have about making such a change at this stage in your life. If you believe that people your age have nothing to offer the modern business world, you need to adjust your thinking. At your age, you have been able to earn a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge. These attributes cannot be duplicated in someone half your age, which is why you should learn to value what you have to offer.

As a midlife professional, you have many unique talents and attributes, including:

  • A track record that indicates an ability to drive results

  • A knowledge base that allows you to tackle issues quickly and confidently

  • The ability to bounce back from minor defeats in order to experience major successes

  • A perspective that can only be gained through years of experience

The key is to find a way to put those attributes to work in a way that allows you to contribute meaningful work while earning the rewards you deserve. Although the corporate world may seem safe, it has changed just like many of the words and phrases that we use in everyday speech. A corporate career used to be an employee's tether to a secure life, but that ideal is no longer true. That's why you need to embrace the modern meaning of “career change” and seek true job security by considering careers that you might not have thought about in the past.

Changing Careers at 40 can be a Brilliant Move

The truth is that making a career change at 40 is difficult, but it is the only way to escape from the corporate rut. What's more, 40 is still awfully young, especially since people are working and living longer these days. You are at a unique crossroads in your professional life, and you have a lot to offer. I suggest that you maximize your potential by considering a career as an independent consultant. Consultants are able to leverage their considerable talents into careers that are safer and much more rewarding than their corporate counterparts. Taking the initial leap into a new career may involve some growing pains, and it will definitely take you out of your comfort zone. However, I believe that a career as a consultant will be the most rewarding professional experience of your life.


Are you considering a career change at 40? Does a career as an independent consultant sound appealing after decades of corporate drudgery? Ex3 Matters can help. Learn more about consulting as a career choice by downloading our free consulting guides or by reading a copy of my free eBook, “Experience Matters.”