Career Hopping in Your 30s

I was talking to a friend recently about how many people in our age range (32-36) are pursuing new career paths. These folks say they’re heading to their “second career” – maybe it’s teaching yoga, opening up their own business, or going back to graduate school in an entirely new field. It’s very admirable to take a leap into the unknown and explore whatever it is you’re curious about. So bravo to those who do!

When my friend and I thought about ourselves, we both expressed the same worry – we feel like we haven’t even had our first career yet! So how can we even think about a second one. Are we somehow behind? I thought about it a lot after my friend and I left the coffee shop, and instead of beating myself up for not having a very solid “first career” with tangible success markers, I redefined it for myself.

For those of us who did a little job bouncing in our 20s, we can define our first career as more of a hodge podge of jobs – kind of like when you order an appetizer sampler plate at a restaurant. That’s what our first careers were – samplers, avenues of exploration.

So let’s say you’re ready for a career change: where do you begin when you’re unsure what to do? Well, I found this article to be really fascinating:

Why and how to change career in your early 30s and the women who made it work

This other article  linked below has links to some great online quizzes you can take to see where your natural aptitudes lie.

The 11 Best Career Quizzes to Help You Find Your Dream Job 

Ultimately, it’s about doing your research and making sure you have the financial stability and a plan to make the jump. While it may be very scary to make a change, I’m a big believer that…

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Loss Aversion and Switching Your Career in Your Thirties

Are you familiar with the phenomenon of loss aversion? Basically, it’s a proven psychological principle that people have a tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains. It’s been shown that the desire to avoid losses is nearly twice as strong as acquiring gains. This explains why people hold onto tanking stocks even though all indications say to “sell!” It’s also probably why we often get stuck in a fear based mindset as opposed to an abundance based one.

I was thinking about this idea today in terms of switching careers. I’m in a funny/ambivalent spot myself, because I’m pursuing screenwriting but I also crave stability and consistent growth, which I don’t think this career can give me. So I have been wondering lately – what’s stronger – my desire to keep pursuing dramatic writing OR my desire for stability and consistent career growth?

I started thinking about perhaps I’m afraid that by starting a new path – at almost 33 years old – I will have “wasted” all the time. Is this simply loss aversion coming into play?

This article, The Big Reason It Might Be Time To Quit Your Job has some enlightening statistics about people who switch their jobs. Only 23% of people said they could easily switch careers.

Do you think you could switch careers at this point in your life? What would be the factors you would consider? How much of a salary cut would you take?

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