Is It Too Late to Learn a New Skill or Change Careers?

Changing Careers

The thought of learning a new skill or even changing careers may have crossed your mind lately. Immediately you may have discouraging thoughts: you should be done with school by now, you’re too old to start something new, learning something new would be a waste of time.

You may even be thinking changing careers is impractical, or you don’t want to look like a job hopper to employers, implying you are not loyal.

You may think you would need a higher education that you can’t afford and that you don’t have time to get. Or, maybe you are thinking you would have to start at the bottom of the employee chain, making less money than you are now.

These are all myths.

CNBC reports changing careers is the new normal, that learning new skills and switching employment is being done by millions of people. Some are looking for promotions within their company, others are moving out of one field into another. Each has a different reason for wanting to improve their careers.


Reasons People Learn New Skills or Change Careers

The simple answer as to why someone wants to change their career or learn a new skill is that they are not happy with their current situation.  Many claim they are frustrated because they are not able to use the natural talents they possess.

Others feel mislead by a company who promised one thing but delivered another. Being bored, feeling disrespected or unappreciated, and personal life changes are also reasons you may want to make changes. For instance, your spirituality may have shifted from none at all to very in touch with the universe and you realize the culture of your company does not align with your beliefs.

It could also be that what you are paid does not represent your worth.

Any one of these reasons justify wanting to learn a new skill or change careers altogether.


Statistics on Changing Careers and Learning New Skills

The Career Psychologist reports a Gallup poll found nearly 60 percent of employees are not truly engaged at work and only 20 percent are happy.

CNN Business claims the new normal if for people to change jobs at least four times before the age of 32. This article refers mostly to millennials, however, other researchers are finding employees of all ages are making changes, especially in the area of skill development.

Being able to learn new skills has great benefits for employers. A recent report states training and learning can increase employee engagement, retention, and productivity. Being able to learn new skills gives you knowledge and confidence you can apply to your current job or a future job.

You may be one of these statistics. You can find out by evaluating your current situation. Keep reading to learn questions you can ask yourself to help you decide if you are ready to learn a new skill or switch careers.


Evaluate Your Current Situation

The best way to evaluate your current work situation is to begin keeping a daily journal. In the journal, report how you feel at work, what bothers you about your job, what you love about your job, and what you would change.

Aside from journaling, ask yourself the following questions: Am I able to realize my potential in this position? Do I make enough money for my lifestyle? Am I paid what I am worth and is it comparable to similar jobs in the area? Do I respect my colleagues and do they respect me?

Other questions include: If money were not an issue, would I continue working in the same job or with the same employer? If money were not an issue, what would it take to make me happy in my career?

The answers to these may lead you to realize you need to learn new skills that can help you move up in your company. They may also show you it is time for a career move. Either way, change is necessary.

The next step is to decide on the type of change best for you.


Assess Yourself

Take a look at your current interests and skills. With what you have now, what else do you need to establish a better work environment? Do you need to quit your current job and open up your own business? Do you need to take a few classes that can help you get a promotion?

Once you have these answers, start thinking about the multitude of possibilities.


Do Your Research

There are many actions you can take before changing careers or signing up for a new class. You need to test the waters through several avenues to help you decide in which direction you want to move. You don’t want to sign up for an in-person class that will cause you to miss work when you can take an online course from home at night.

You don’t want to jump into a new career unless you have job-shadowed someone in that line of work. Sometimes the grass is not always greener. Meet with career counselors, research online, and interview people in the career you want.

The more knowledge you have, the easier the decision will be.


Take Action

You are your biggest obstacle unless you avoid believing the myths of changing careers or learning new skills. No one is too young or too old. There are programs, especially in two-year colleges, that fit all lifestyles.

There is plenty of help available for you each step in the process. Whether you need to sign up for a few classes to help you learn a new trade, or you need to switch career paths, there are life coaches and career counselors who can help.

Online colleges can be one of your best assets. Here you can learn new skills at your own pace. You can fit school into your life rather than trying to fit your life into school. In addition, the options for courses and career paths are enormous.

So, go ahead, go for it. It is not too late.