Considering a career change at 30 can be terrifying.
Am I going crazy? Is this just a phase? Did I spend 4 (or more) years in college for nothing? What will my family or friends think?
There are many reasons why you are considering changing your career. Maybe you studied to become a lawyer because you come from a family of lawyers and felt the pressure to do so. Maybe at 18, you thought studying business was the easiest way to become rich. Or, you loved what you studied, but now you feel the need to pursue another passion.
Whatever your reason is, if you feel changing careers at 30 is too late, we’re here to prove you wrong.
Why Make a Career Change at 30?
One of the most powerful speeches of all time is Steve Jobs Stanford commencement speech, where he explained the power of connecting the dots.
Everything you do and every decision you make will impact the quality of your life. This mindset is key to understanding how valuable it is to invest your time and energy in what makes you passionate and not in doing things because “you have to.”
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
If your current career makes you feel bored, unmotivated, and you struggle to see a future with it, then starting a career at 30 can be what you need. Why? At 30, you still have between 30, 40, or even more working years ahead of you. If you don’t like what you do, it makes sense to find something you enjoy for at least the next three decades to come.
5 Signs You Need to Make a Change
1. You don’t have a sense of purpose – Having a sense of purpose, or in other words, understanding why what you do matters, is what gives you passion and motivation. If you feel you’re doing your job because “it is what it is,” then this is a sign to take the matter into your own hands.
2. You started daydreaming too frequently about doing something else – fantasizing about a different career path or job is more powerful than you think. It’s a sign that you have a different goal and passion in your mind and heart.
3. Money – While money can’t be the only reason, it is still a sign that encourages you to pursue a career that matches your needs and expectations.
4. You burn out constantly – Work can be stressful or challenging, but it should never be debilitating. If you feel exhausted, can’t sleep, and your body starts developing other physical symptoms, this is a sign that your body tells you to stop. Burning out or being continually stressed is not normal and highly impacts your personal life.
5. You’re disconnected from your passions – You no longer feel connected with the original reason you started out in your career. Or you feel these values have changed, and you want to pursue something different.
How to Change Careers at 30?
1. Change Your Mindset
Embracing a new career at 30 involves learning to embrace change, which is never easy.
Once you realize that your job doesn’t make you happy and that you’ll have to make sacrifices to pursue your passion, it’s easy to take a step back. You’ll start adding excuses saying that switching careers at 30 is ridiculous or that feeling unhappy at your job is normal.
Once you see that, you start excusing yourself to avoid pursuing what you like, and focus on all of what you have to gain. Whether it’s more money, a greater sense of purpose, flexibility, and a better work-life balance, think about why a career change benefits you.
If you’re still worried about making such a change, take it to step by step. Start exploring what you like by making courses or talking with people in the industry.
2. Always Listen to Your Inner Self
“You’re not 20 anymore, start taking your life seriously”, or “You’re joking, right?” You’ll probably hear these things when you tell your friends and family that you want a change.
It sounds horrible, but it is the truth. We’ve been programmed to believe that to be successful, we need to follow certain life patterns: high school, college, a solid job, getting married, a master’s degree, starting a family, buying a house, etc.
So to fulfill this pattern, we’re willing to give up on our happiness. Learning to listen to your inner self, your passions, and what you want becomes underrated. We tend to live for others instead of ourselves. So once you start this path towards discovering what you want, keep your values and beliefs strong.
3. Consider Your Options
When considering your options, the first step is to evaluate your current career, job, and skills. Reflect on what you enjoy about that career and the skills you’ve gained through the years.
If you already have a new career path in mind, evaluate what skills are transferable and which ones you’ll need to acquire. This will require that you do research on the field and learn everything about it. The best way is to ask friends or people in the field who can give you a closer insight into their profession.
Then figure out what education and training you’ll need. What courses are the best ones, how many resources you’ll need, and the time and availability will it take? This will help you craft a more detailed plan.
If, on the other hand, you have no idea what you want to do but are convinced that your current career isn’t what you want, it’s time to experiment.
What will your ideal job look like, and why? What are your strong skills? What are the type of tasks you hate? Asking these types of questions will help you have a clear idea of the career that will work for you.
If you’re considering making a career switch at 30, it’s not that you need to quit your job overnight.
For example, let’s say you want to become a painter, and although you have talent, you still need to learn painting techniques to improve. Keeping your current job can help you finance the classes or materials you need. So while you’re still in your actual career, you’re a step closer to what you really want to make.
Or, if you want to become a content writer, start taking online classes. Or, take freelance jobs to experiment if it’s a passion you want to cultivate or if it’s just a temporary fling.
The key here is to take action. Stop analyzing and focusing on the pros and cons. If you don’t experiment, you won’t truly know.
5. Make a Plan
Making a plan will help you go from having a dream to building a reality.
What matters is that you’re willing to keep up with the plan by adding realistic steps. You’re wrong if you think you can become the most amazing writer by just doing a single course. In fact, adding unrealistic expectations is a form of self-sabotage.
You need experience and to learn as much as you can. So focus on making a plan that works with your current situation. Asses the resources, skills, education, and everything you need to make that happen.
It´s Never too Late
Is 30 too old to switch careers?
As Stephen Covey said: “It doesn´t really matter how fast you´re going if you´re heading in the wrong direction.”
If you don´t like what you do, and you don´t see any future in it, why insist? You have a world of possibilities, and now more than ever, with technology, learning skills is easier and faster. It doesn’t mean it will be a piece of cake, you’ll need to invest time and energy, but it will definitely be worth it.