Remember that scene in Rocky when he picks up his friend Paulie at the meat locker? Paulie goads him into giving the one-two to a side of beef, and Rocky pummels out his frustration with blood-splattered fists.
Sylvester Stallone understood that frustration. He wrote the screenplay for Rocky at age 30 while still working at a deli counter, struggling to land something better than two-bit acting roles. Studios were eager to buy the film rights to Rocky, but Stallone wouldn’t sell until producers agreed to cast him in the lead role.
I read that bit of trivia in an article spotlighting famous people who hit 30 while working in the wrong field. At that age, Julia Child was a spy. Harrison Ford, a carpenter. And Martha Stewart, as you know, was a stockbroker. Another 30 years would elapse before we learned just how ill-suited she was for that job.
Have you ever felt you’re in the wrong career? If so, what’s preventing you from making a change? Fear of starting over? It’s an understandable concern, but the coach in me would advise not to let it daunt you. Unlike your twenty-something competition, you’ve accrued a wealth of real-world experience to draw from and wield in your favor.
Ready to make a career change?
Work your network.
Would you believe 86 percent of managers use social networking sites like LinkedIn when recruiting new employees? Cull through all the professional contacts you’ve acquired over the years. Who could help you in a career switch? Reach out.
Choose your industry wisely.
According to Forbes, professions relating to science and finance are harder to break into later in life. Finance managers tend to hire fresh MBA grads. But other fields, like nonprofit and consulting, have fewer barriers.
Retool your resume.
You may not have direct experience in the field you’re pursuing, but surely you have transferable skills. What are you doing now in your current job that would help you in your new career? Emphasize those skills to prospective employers.
Take a class (or two).
If you’re still exploring career ideas, you might consider taking a class relating to your field of interest. The extra credential will help when you launch your search, and may safeguard you from switching to the wrong career.
And just remember, you’re not alone! More people than you may think, from your next-door neighbor to Colonel Sanders, have successfully taken on new careers later in life. The very fact that you’re reading this now proves it can be done. Call me, and let me share with you my experience.
“I’m gonna know for the first time in my life, see,
that I weren’t just another bum from the neighborhood.”
– Rocky Balboa
Image credit by artur84/freephotocredit.net