Whether you view 50 as the "new 40" or consider it to be the beginning of the home stretch to retirement, there are a large number of careers that require the experience of somebody who has been in the work force for over 20 years. While there is no "one size fits all" or quick fix to a late-fortysomething who needs a new start, there are some things to consider beforehand to make the career change a good fit for both the employer and employee.
Before doing anything else, take a look at your own skills, strengths, weaknesses and experience. You want to leverage your time in the work force to help you in your new career and not have to start over. This doesn't mean you have to have the same position you previously held; for example, if you spent 25 years in sales, you could transition your knowledge into being a trainer or sales coach. Other items to consider at this state are your geographical location, how the current economy is impacting your industry along with your requirements, both monetary and work wise.
One popular option for a 45+ year-old job seeker is to become a consultant. A consultant is hired on a "per project" or "as needed" basis, and not as a full-time employee. Having a strong set of skills along with experience in many types of work environments is required; knowledge of a particular industry isn't always necessary.
The knowledge that you've gained in your professional life is certainly worth a lot, particularly for those who are younger or trying to "learn the ropes." Being able to teach the subject of your expertise, whether it's engineering, management, sales or marketing is an often attractive option for a worker who wants to "get out of the trenches" and start a new career that is less taxing, whether it's no more travel, fewer hours or simply working in a far less stressful situation.
Working At Your Dream Job
As you approach 50, you may have a chance to change careers in ways that weren't practical until now. If financial circumstances, family obligations or your "keeping up with the neighbours" attitude has changed, you may find yourself free to take a job that allows you to work in the area of your passion, something that may not have been possible in the past. This could include being a tour guide for a travel company, a landscape designer, a radio personality or whatever your passion is. If you find yourself at the intersection of middle age and career choices, it may be best for your overall well being to see exactly how you can leverage your experience into the type of job you always wanted.