by Lisa McGrimmon
Are you thinking about a second career choice? Often your first career decisions happen at some point in your late teens or early twenties when you are applying to post secondary programs or searching for your first full time job.
Those early decisions are made with 20 something priorities and values in mind. So, it's not surprising that people can reach their thirties and find that their career choices are no longer a good fit with their values or personal goals and start thinking about making a second career choice.
Profound changes, both personal and professional, can happen between your twenties and your thirties. In that time you may find a wonderful partner, move to a new city, get married, buy your first home, have children, earn promotions, discover and develop new talents and interests or return to school. The list of life changes that happen in this time frame is long, and when you are in your twenties, you can't possibly predict how all of those changes will impact your career related values and needs in your thirties.
In your thirties, you may feel more comfortable and confident with your own preferences.
In your thirties, you may have discovered a sense of self and a sense of confidence that you didn't have in your twenties. As a result, you may be ready to make career choices that you didn't have the confidence to make when you were twenty. You may be ready to pursue a career that was frowned upon by family or friends in your twenties. Or, you may be ready to take on a challenging career that you didn't have the confidence to pursue when you were younger.
In your thirties, you may accept that careers don't have to follow a straight path in order to be successful, so you become more willing to veer from your initial path. You can develop a clearer sense of who you are, and what you're good at in your thirties, so you are more willing and able to pursue a career that fits your needs and abilities.
You may have more resources
When you reach your thirties, you may have financial and personal resources that you did not have in your twenties. These resources can make it easier to pursue a second career choice. If you've had some time to build financial resources and develop career related skills and self knowledge, you will be in a position to take the calculated risks involved in changing careers.
You may have new family considerations
If you're thinking about starting a family, or you already have a young family, then you'll probably also have some new values, responsibilities and considerations that will impact your career. It's not unusual for new parents to struggle with the adjustments required to balance financial needs, work responsibilities and family and personal priorities. The options are broad. If meeting the needs of your new family means you have new career priorities, you could be considering:
Or, you may feel completely ambivalent, unsure of which career choices will bring the greatest professional and personal satisfaction.
You may have growing family considerations
If you started a family earlier in life, and spent your twenties focusing on your children, you may be ready to shift your focus a bit. As your children become more independent, you may want to focus your energies on yourself, your career and providing for children's future. You'll benefit from the life experience you'll be able to bring as you develop the skills you need for your new career.
Your work may have changed
If you're considering a second career choice, it may be your work, and not you, that's changed. You may have reached career goals you set in your twenties and now you need something more or different to pursue. By thirty, it's reasonable to assume you've earned a few promotions. In fact, you may have been promoted out of the work you love to do, but returning to the more junior positions of your twenties is not appealing or practical. In that case, you may feel there's nowhere else to go in your field, and a career change is in order.
It's quite common for career related needs and values to change across a lifetime. Considering all of the significant life changes that can happen between your twenties and your thirties, it's not surprising that many people feel that their first career choices no longer fit their needs and decide to pursue a second career choice. Take the time to weigh your needs and you'll make a great, informed choice for this phase in your life.