As a 40-year-old mother of three working in finance, I was told I was crazy when I informed people that I was considering quitting my high-paying job to pursue my true passion, graphic design. My friends and family said I was nuts to do something so drastic at my age. But in the end, it was my decision, and it taught me a lot of things, including just how awful of an idea it was to switch careers halfway through life.
Just days after quitting my job, I learned that leaving behind a lucrative career can lead to a financial and emotional free-fall. I found out that you’ll probably spend months scouring the internet trying to find a job, and when you do, it’ll be less than full-time and require months of training.
I decided to make the change when I realized how unhappy I was in my profession, and after I quit, I learned that this dissatisfaction was nothing compared to the feeling I now have getting paid $9.75 an hour to copyedit design work part-time. It can be daunting to step away from a well-paying job at 40 and leave the only career you’ve ever known, and for good reason: It’s the universe’s way of saying, “Think about this again, because you are about to make a massive mistake.”
Just days after quitting my job, I learned that leaving behind a lucrative career can lead to a financial and emotional free-fall.
My husband was nothing but supportive as I changed careers, and looking back, he really should have pointed out that our children are rapidly approaching college and that my income was integral to keeping our household finances afloat. What’s important is that you keep getting back up, even when your entire life gets upended by your terrible decision to move from a stable, well-compensated career to a dream you had half your life ago.
All in all, my career switch was life-changing, to say the least. How else would I come to learn how quickly you can deplete over 20 years’ worth of savings? How else would I know how many times your old boss can say no to a chance of you getting your old job back? How else would I have discovered that I’m completely capable of ruining my financial future at 40?
So, men and women over 40 who are looking to change careers: What are you waiting for? The time is now. At the end of the day, you only get one shot to totally destroy your life.