5 Ugly Myths About Changing Career in 30s

You are in your 30s, they say.

You should already know what you want from this life and your career, they say.

Oh, really?

According to the research by Vodafone, people of 31-35 years old are the most unhappy at work. They feel undervalued, unfulfilled, demotivated, and they experience a mid-career blues, thinking of career change more often than others but still worrying if it’s worth making a swap here and now when you are not so young and promising as those graduates, full of energy and ready to do everything a boss tells.

All those stories about 35-year-old Mary who gives up a lawyer career for becoming a gardener… Or, a story of 33-year-old John who dreams of writing a book and quits his office job of a successful manager to join the team of professional essay writers

You read them, you listen to them, and you believe you can do the same. But all those ugly myths about changing career in your 30s keep you on the alert and prevent you from taking the first step toward your better and happier future.

What are they?

And the more important question:

Shall we believe these myths and take them into consideration while thinking of changing career in our mid-life?

Myth #1: You are too old for changing career

Who said that?

Didn’t you read all those articles about people who became millionaires after 40 or guys who proved it was never too late for a career change?

Let’s take Julia Child, a famous chef who wasn’t cooking meals until age 36. She worked as a CIA spy! Or, Barack Obama who published the book at age 43, having earned millions though he couldn’t keep body and soul together before.

Henry Ford was 45 when he created the Model T car.

Rodney Dangerfield started his career of a comedian when he was 45!

Milkshake device salesman Ray Kroc has built the world’s biggest fast food franchise when he was 52. We all know it as McDonald’s today.

Any more examples needed?

Myth #2: Changing career, you’ll have no way back

It could be true if we lived 20-30 years ago. Someone still believes that once you’ve chosen a career path, it will be your path forever.

However, times change. And the job market changes, too. It’s built for a career change: recent studies suggest it’s okay to change career, as it gives you freedom, allows you to experiment, and lets you try different options to choose what your heart desires.

Though it’s not good for your resume to have multiple and frequently changing job places, no one says you should sit at the same place for the whole life. It will definitely not make you happier and more professional.

Myth #3: You know your perfect job before you get it

Some of us believe they know what is good and what would fit us by 30. We have a picture of our perfect career in head, and we don’t see any point to trying anything else if this “else” doesn’t meet our expectations.

The truth is, you never know what is perfect for you until you try it. Experimenting, you will be able to find your perfect job.

Any examples needed?

The Magliozzi brothers, hosts of Car Talk radio show, would hardly call this job a career of their dream when they graduated from MIT and planned to work by profession. However, they both are satisfied and happy now, considering themselves at their own place.

Myth #4: Career change is for those knowing what to do with life

Assuming that a 35-year-old person should know what he or she wants from life and how to achieve that, it becomes impossible to venture upon a new step if you are not that kind of a person.

If you are in a mid-life crisis, if you have no idea what you want to do for life, if you believe you should change something, and if you are not satisfied with your present, there is one thing for you to remember:

You are not alone.


Just go to Quora, and you’ll find a lot of questions from people experiencing the same doubts:

  • “I am 35 years old and still have no idea what I want to do with my career, what to do?”
  • “I am a 35-year-old entrepreneur looking to pivot my career. What are some ideas for a new career?”
  • “I am a 41 year old professional. I want a change of career but am afraid of uncertainties. How should I go about it?”
  • “I am a 35-year-old woman. Am I too old to start a career in the film industry?”

The answers they get speak volumes:

  • “I’m in your predicament…I’m 34 and went from education to environmental compliance, which I hated, back to education and am currently looking for work.”
  • “I’m creative too and went into advertising. Then journalism. Then publishing. Spent 10years in the media, thinking that’s that a creative person should do. I’m 35 now and studying for a new career and never happier.”

After all, you’ll never know what to do with your life until you start doing something with it.

Myth #5: It’s miserable and embarrassing to start a career in 35+

All doubts and problems appear if you can’t forgive yourself the fact you are in your 30s already but still don’t know what you want from your career.

Accept the fact you are constantly changing: those dreams from your 20s seem strange and not so exciting in your 30s; the jobs you found interesting at age 19 seem awful and boring when you are 35; your abilities and interests change, too. That’s normal, and no one will blame you for starting a new career at your mid-life.

After all, it’s your life. And no career myth or other people’s thoughts shouldn’t disturb you from living it to the max.

Are you in your 30s? Have you thought of changing career now? What does prevent you from doing that?

Let’s share thoughts in comments!


Surviving the Gig Economy: When your Talent Pool Refuses to Stay Put

If the last decade has taught us something, it’s that we will live in a world that continues to disrupt. It is impacting how people behave, how they consume information and how business should operate, as a result.

The economy that, in years’ past, has been the fortress of stability, is now as predictable as tomorrow’s stock market. This has spawned a domino effect concurrent with the introduction of technologies that give rise to the fickle consumer, and now…. the ever growing nomadic workforce.

The one certainty we have today is change. Companies are changing because they have to.

Nothing is what it was supposed to be. Careers that should have been launched from years of hard work and education are now relegated to a series of opportunities indicative of a more entrepreneurial economy.

The Guardian says this

Today, more and more of us choose, instead, to make our living working gigs rather than full time. To the optimists, it promises a future of empowered entrepreneurs and boundless innovation. To the naysayers, it portends a dystopian future of disenfranchised workers hunting for their next wedge of piecework.

In our latest Blended Generation Think Tank, our panellists of Boomers, GenXers and Millennials agreed that loyalty to any one company does not exist today. It is, for all intents and purposes, a “false promise”.

With the number of Millennials now becoming an increasing majority in the work force, they want to make a difference. While money is initial motivator, it is merely table stakes. Here is how some of our Millennials put it:
For GenXers and Boomers, who have lived through this turmoil multiple times, Doug Haslam said it best:

I never thought of 3 years or job impermanence as a fear, but an expectation

For many companies, the expectation of large budgets, a stable workforce are no longer realities.

For our Millennials, here’s how they see their ‘careers’ progressing:

  • Earning every dollar  keeps you on your toes. You have to keep “being good” at what you’re doing to remain in the company. GenY refuses to be “this” vulnerable to any organization, and instead be more in control of their destiny.
  • The concept of rising through the ranks has become less about climbing the corporate ladder. It’s no longer linear  but a longer path that means more lateral movements over time.
  • Competing for work means picking up new skills with each new opportunity and becoming a jack-of-all-trades.
  • Continuous learning to remain relevant and marketable is now an expectation.
  • Working for any one company is not enough. This highly-networked generation will always explore “side-hustle” passion projects.

Startups realize the expectation of change is expected and embraced. People, in the new economy, will move from one opportunity to another.

There is this growing desire to have control over one’s fate. No longer does anyone want their destiny decided by a corporation, which has proven time and time again it ONLY looks after its own interests and that of its shareholders… at least, that is how the employee perceives it.

One thing that is clear: people are loyal to people NOT to corporations.

If you are a manager, your job is to support the company initiatives but you have a greater responsibility to the employees you manage. One of our wise Boomers said it best

Other than my commitment to help the company do what I can under the circumstances it is facing, the only commitment I have can make it is to the employee through coaching, managing, training and respecting and nurturing their abilities… One thing I tell those I manage: You will be better going out than coming in.

~Steve Dodd

What’s under a manager’s control is to create an environment that allows employees opportunities to contribute and feel part of “something” while they are there. The investment in talent means the following:

  • Lead by inspiration, not by job function or process.
  • Creativity and ideas should come from everywhere, and not dictated by job description.
  • Trust your employees. Have faith in their abilities. There is a reason they were hired.
  • Give employees a stake in the outcome. Give them ownership and recognize their successes and contributions informally and formally.
  • For Millennials, constant feedback is appreciated. It’s what they’re accustomed to and how they learn.
  • Find ways to take people outside what they are doing and comfortably stretch them into other areas.

In other words,

Put the people first. Develop them in ways that are meaningful for them.

Let’s face it, the new work environment cannot guarantee it can retain the best employees. However, developing an employee-centric culture allows a company to increase productivity, sustain awesome employees longer, and attract top talent in the process.