How to Psychologically Prepare to Change Jobs After the Age of Fifty

How to Psychologically Prepare to Change Jobs After the Age of Fifty

| Career

The older we get, the more we feel like there's no point in changing anything.

It's rare to see someone over fifty daring to leave their current employment and start a new career, even if that career has always been a lifelong dream. But the Lectera team is convinced: giving up something just because of age is a huge mistake! After all, the labor market in 2023 is different from five years ago, much less twenty or thirty. Today, changing companies and positions at least every three years is as natural as ordering goods online or communicating via text. It is the new everyday life, and you should not give it up because of some numbers in your passport.

In this article, we will tell you what fears people over fifty face when changing jobs, how to overcome them, assess your real opportunities for new employment, and understand whether you need it or not.

Fears and How to Find a Way Out of Them: Tips from Lectera Psychologists.


We all have our fears, and that's normal. It is abnormal to become hostages of these fears and postpone any decisions, plans, or desires because of them. So, most often, people over fifty years old refuse to change careers because of the following fears:

1. Fear of public opinion. "Friends will say I've lost it in my old age." Are you familiar with this thought? To cope with this fear and understand its irrationality will help the so-called "list of acquaintances."

  • Take a piece of paper and write down all the people you interact with regularly.
  • Then read it and consider which of these people's opinions matter to you. Which do you think is your authority, reference point, or support? Who do you listen to in practice? It will most likely be your daughter, son, or spouse, but certainly not your neighbor from the ground floor with whom you discuss only the weather and cats.
  • Identify the most important names to you, and then ask yourself: How sure are you that these people will judge you? How confident are you that you can't count on their support?

2. The fear of losing what you have earned and accumulated. By the age of fifty, a person, as a rule, already has a lot of baggage: professional reputation, family, flat, country house, some savings in the account, or under the mattress. You naturally desire to keep all this, but ask yourself the following questions.

  • On the contrary, are you not increasing the risks of loss by staying in your previous job? For example, it could negatively impact your health by turning down new opportunities.
  • Why do you see changing jobs as a threat to your wealth? After all, your savings will remain, and so will your experience.
  • Is it realistic with your level of responsibility, professionalism, and training to find yourself in such a situation that a loss is inevitable?
  • How adequately do you assess the threats?

3. An abstract fear of change, of the unknown - changing jobs is always a way out of the comfort zone, and not every young specialist, not to mention an adult, decides to do it.

The general fear of change may be based on the reasons outlined above, as well as fear of error, deep-seated beliefs, cognitive distortions, or the usual property of our brain to lose flexibility over the years and resist change in order not to change stereotypes. The following will help you here:

  • Think back to your successful experiences with change. It must have happened in the past that you had to start over or overcome similar fears. How have you dealt with this in the past? What has helped and supported you in doing so? Why are you convinced that you can't do it again?
  • Collect positive examples from around you. Remember relatives and acquaintances who dared to do such things despite everything. Also, suitable autobiographies of famous personalities or the Internet - look for idols who inspire and set an example, even if it is the hero of your favorite classics. We also recommend watching the film "The Intern," whose seventy-year-old protagonist refuses to retire and works as an intern at an online fashion shop.
  • Prioritise your priorities. These tend to change as you age. Is it as essential to earn money as it used to be, or do you have enough savings and grown-up children that you no longer need to support? Isn't paying attention to your emotional state and health more important now? Occupational burnout is as much of a disaster as anything else.

Why do you NEED to change jobs after fifty?


If debunking your fears is not enough to make you decide to change jobs, then it's worth thinking about what exactly changing jobs will give you. After all, in your case, the new job is:

An opportunity to realize yourself in new areas.

There is such a concept as a "career ceiling." It is when you reach a position in your professional environment above which it is no longer possible to rise for one reason or another - perhaps because of your age or simply because there is no higher position. A new job, on the other hand, brings new development. New challenges, achievements, business acquaintances, skills, and hobbies exist.

More life satisfaction

As a result of the previous point, you will improve your morale and physical health because professional boredom and unrealized ambitions often lead to stress and burnout. A new job matching your interests and needs will enhance your overall well-being.

Potential for more excellent financial stability

It may be that the new field of work you are considering has the potential to bring you more financial rewards than your current one. It is imperative if your current field is becoming outdated or irrelevant, as is often true with traditional market segments. So, a new job may offer you a much higher income in the long run than what you have now.

A chance to afford to pursue something you've always been interested in.

Unfortunately, not everyone in their youth can devote their life to something they are passionate about because, at that time, they have entirely different priorities (e.g., a stable income to support small children). But now, when you are over fifty years old, you are entirely free, and you can only take care of yourself and, therefore, do what you like, even if not very profitable.

You are extending the youthfulness of your brain.

As we age, we learn new skills and try new things less often, meaning new neural connections are no longer formed in our brains. Only the old ones are constantly getting used. It inevitably leads to memory impairment, loss of flexibility in thinking, stereotyping, and, as a result, lower efficiency and competitiveness in the labor market. A new job will inevitably stimulate the emergence of new neural connections, and the brain will tone up. Furthermore, regular brain activity, in turn, minimizes the risks of developing Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and other brain diseases.

The ability to get more family time.

Perhaps your current job is taking up a lot of your time, while a new one will free up your leisure time and simultaneously allow you to spend more time with your loved ones and care for yourself. For example, you are exercising and eating regular and healthy meals, not like now when you constantly rush to negotiations, etc.

The need to solve the problems that have made you question changing jobs.

It is probably the most critical argument in favor of changing jobs. You're probably thinking about it for a reason and reading this article right now, right? Whatever the reason that made you think about quitting your job - boredom, professional burnout, the aforementioned desire to get more family time, or unfulfilled dreams -you mustn't ignore it. Don't ignore your needs and problems. Otherwise, they may only get worse in the future.

What you need to prepare for when changing jobs.


Of course, a new job is not just about fantastic prospects, inspiration, and a second wind. There are also several difficulties for which you must prepare yourself morally.

  • You'll have to be in the position of a rookie again. It can be difficult for adults to admit that they don't know or know how to do something or listen to younger or more inexperienced people. Nevertheless, it is essential not to forget that this does not devalue your life and professional experience in any way, and the position of a beginner is temporary, for a few months at most, until you get the hang of it and adapt. Then you'll show everyone! Right?
  • You'll have to learn again. It's not about returning to university; it's about developing soft skills, which are ten times more valued in the labor market today than when you last looked for a job. Soft skills refer to emotional intelligence, critical thinking, team management, leadership, time management, and all the things that help employees apply their technical knowledge more effectively. With Lectera's courses, you can quickly master all the above with just fifteen minutes daily! So, it's not as scary as it sounds, but you must be a student for a long time. That's because learning must be regular today to maintain your competitive advantage in the market.
  • Pay cuts. It is most likely temporary unless you do not start your career from scratch, say, leaving the accountant position to become a florist. However, there will be a difference in income from your previous job and a significant one at that. Remember, though, that you're not just changing jobs to earn more; you're changing careers to earn differently. In exchange for a pay cut, new challenges, conditions, and opportunities are fair enough.

When you should NOT change jobs

It would be best if you didn't change jobs unless you're willing to put up with the three points in the section above. Also, another worthwhile reason why you might not want to change jobs is if you are evaluating your chosen niche or your resources unrealistically. For example, you want to become a Bolshoi theatre ballerina or a pilot. In short, we are talking about those professions in which it is necessary to develop from a young, if not from childhood, years or where special physical training is required. In most modern fields of activity, age is not an obstacle to starting a career and employment, so there is no other reason to refuse a new job.

It is also worth thinking about the need to change jobs when you can get what you want without it. For example, start baking cakes on weekends or after work as a hobby. It is not always necessary to part with your current position to discover new horizons or pursuits. Changing jobs isn't always a panacea; sometimes, you must consult a career expert or therapist to sort yourself out, decide, or wait a little longer and listen to your feelings. Either way, remember that the world will not collapse from your decision alone; you can certainly afford to be happy, even if it means giving up something or putting up with something. After all, when else, if not now?

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