How to start a new career at 40

Written by chris miksen
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How to start a new career at 40
Starting a new career at 40 can grant you freedom. (career street white image by pdesign from

Changing careers is never easy, as there are a lot of uncertainties that come along with change, but changing careers at 40 can seem even more daunting. You are not fresh out of college anymore and you are already professionally mature, so it's understandable if you hesitate about completely changing your surroundings. However, starting a new career at 40 allows you to discard everything you dislike about your previous career and to build a new career incorporating everything you love.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging


  1. 1

    Write down what skills you have and your likes and dislikes from past work experiences. Include skills that you have learnt over the course of your career, such as leadership and management, as these are qualities that will help you find your new career. If you currently work in an office, for example, consider if you enjoy working closely with people, if you like working in an office setting, or if you prefer being more mobile or desire greater flexibility in your hours.

  2. 2

    Talk to friends and acquaintances that work in the fields that interest you to gauge what skills you need, what the career entails, the pay, the hours, the work environment, dress code and company culture.

  3. 3

    Further your education. Although some employers may look at experience as equal to a degree, others want to see education credentials. Pursue a degree or certification that applies to your new chosen field, as a degree in history may not help you obtain an accounting job, for example. Many employers pay tuition fees for their employees who return to school to obtain a degree or certification, so check with your current employer to see if this is offered to you.

    If your employer does not offer tuition help, consider whether you can finance your own further education, or get a loan. There are several options for gaining accreditation in a field of choice, such as night classes, online classes or applying for an apprenticeship of your choice.

  4. 4

    Choose a job that meshes well with what you enjoy. This enables you to work harder without needing as much motivation, which leads to better productivity, and in the long term may lead to promotions and better pay.

  5. 5

    Look at your finances. Choosing a different job may mean taking a pay cut. Evaluate your financial situation by adding up your basic living costs: rent, mortgage, car payments, groceries, insurance costs, and credit card bills. If you anticipate a pay cut, explore ways of altering your current lifestyle to accommodate the change; for example, trade in your car for a less expensive one, or cut down on luxuries, such as a high-priced cable package.

Tips and warnings

  • While your current employer may foot the tuition bill, you may have to pay it back if you leave your job before a certain number of years after the tuition is paid. Inquire about this before you choose to go this route.

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