Old car with lots of character

Can I change career now I’m over 40?

It’s tough to change career when mortgages, family commitments and concern for future earnings all weigh so heavily on my mind. The stakes are high. Am I willing to risk my future career and divert from the well trodden path of an IT professional in a middle-management role?

What if I don’t change career?

Looking ahead I can see certainty of income, in the short-term, which is an important step towards the comfortable retirement I envisage for myself. At this stage in my career, my skills and experience have kept me in full-employment, maintained a roof over my head, funded a well-travelled life and furnished me with challenging opportunities to build new skills. My hopes for retirement are for a future where I’m housed, well-fed and with a good quality of life.

The IT sector is undergoing and driving significant disruption to not just how we work, but the nature of the jobs that will be need to be done. This brings the uncertainty that in the longer-term, I won’t continue to have the opportunity to build skills that will maintain this level of income.  Will I have the skills to work as digital index operator to work at Spacely Sprockets like George Jetson in 2062?

What if I do change career?

As an experienced geek and leader, my sense of self is entwined with my job. Will a change in career mean I’m not myself any longer? And when the 2am worries hit, I’m concerned that I’ll find it increasingly difficult to get a new job. A career change at my age puts me at risk of experiencing a tougher employment market being a ‘last resort‘ option for some employers. Then, there is an ongoing challenge to thrive in the tech industry as a member of a minority by virtue of my gender. Too old, in need of some mansplaining and lacking modern skills. Those 2am worries are mean bitches!

Come on, make a decision already

Weighing up the risks of a career change suggests the choice is between the certainty of continuing along the same path of minor career changes, and the uncertainty of what will make up the future employment market for someone like me in 2020 and beyond. Weighing the risks of a career change, braving the butterflies in my belly and considering the possible paths ahead; I’ve decided to take the leap.

Drum roll please … The Plan
Let’s do this. Over the next six months I’ll work on transitioning into what I hope to be a new career path. This is my initial plan of attack:

  • Skills uplift through MOOCs on Coursera and Code camp
  • Research the job market through reading and networking
  • Undertake short-term project based work while transitioning

I will work through this plan with monthly iterations: reviewing what I’ve learnt, assessing whether I’m getting closer to my target and adjusting my plan based on these reflections.

I’m nervous, I’m excited … but you know what, I’m ready.

Motorbike ready to be carried away by balloons