I didn’t really think about it until we got back home from a short holiday earlier this month. I know, October sounds like an odd time of the year for a holiday, but it was the earliest we could fit one in this year. But that wasn’t what I was talking about at the beginning of this sentence. The holiday was the first real break my wife, Brenda, and I were able to take since we completed our midlife career changes.
Sure, we took our first-ever holiday in the time we’ve known each other in August 2016 but the circumstances were very different. We had just closed our business after 12.5 years and the holiday we took then was to de-stress. Then when we returned we ended up with over two weeks of cleaning and moving to do in order to vacate our downtown office space. That was a bit more stressful than we expected.
So, in the meantime Brenda shifted her side hustle of JamBusters! into a full-time vending business and I did the same with my freelance writing home-based business. We have since been able to turn them into successful and profitable sources of income for the both of us. The stress is gone along with all the worries related to “What are we going to do now?” Our midlife career change is complete.
In fact, we did such a good job with the transition (my opinion) that our scheduling was so full we couldn’t get away again this past August. Then we realized that some extra vending dates in September pretty much eliminated that month. I ended up with a two week window from one of my commitments in early October and that was all we needed in order to shut things down and run away for a few days.
For our first real holiday without a lot of unanswered questions and worries hovering around, it was a good break. We ventured back into The Kootenays of British Columbia. That was where we went in August 2016 - south and east. The trip we took two weeks ago was a loop that took us into the Kootenay Rockies and down through the Upper Arrow Lake region over to Kootenay Lake.
One of the reasons why October was appealing to us was that it would be cooler for travelling and that we stood a good chance at seeing fall colours in the region. We were right on both counts and actually found it far too cold in one part of the region as we actually encountered snow. However, the pace was slow and we spent a lot of time just wandering with no specific timetable or daily destination.
It was a nice break and as I said in the beginning, it never really occurred to me until after we got home what this holiday meant in our career timeline. We are right back to the pace we had before we went away and it feels as if we lost little or no ground as a result. I was concerned that business would be slow to resume, but I was wrong. As for our midlife career changes, we are embracing them and turning them into positives.
You can learn more about our midlife career changes with the eBook, “Surviving Midlife Career Changes,” that I wrote and published on the subject.
Last month I had an interesting opportunity. I was asked to be a guest speaker and presenter as part of a local literary festival. The offer came from someone who knew more about my freelance writing work than my past, which made for an interesting few conversations. What I realized after finalizing what I could present as part of a writing workshop was that there are some people in my life who only know me from what they have seen at the end of my midlife career change.
I think that was probably a valuable ‘a-ha’ moment for me. So, I reasoned that there was a possibility that some of the people attending my workshop would also know little about my background. This was what inspired me to produce a short, basic PowerPoint presentation titled, “The Adventures of a Ghostwriter.” In it I explained how both Brenda and I had ended up where we are today doing the things we are doing today. In order to give it context I added a small ‘flashback’ sequence reviewing my past in radio and print media.
The idea was to show that I had some previous experience as a writer and promoter that assisted with my current career plans. I think it did a pretty good job of telling the story about both of the midlife career changes that Brenda and I experienced. It also allowed me to point out that anyone could do it as well. All you needed was an idea and the time and effort to put that idea into action. In a way, I was sharing the secrets to a successful midlife career change. You could say that I was speaking from experience about a different kind of experience.
Although the attendance at my workshop was not overwhelming, I was overwhelmed with the interest shown by those who did attend. My suspicion was also correct. Out of those present, the majority of them did not know much about my writing and marketing past. It also gave me a chance to remind myself that the midlife career changes Brenda and I went through were also necessary for us to get to where we are now. I had not expected my involvement at the local literary festival to have such an impact on me, but it did.
Are you faced with having to make a change in what career path you are following? Are you in or approaching your midlife years? Well, it’s not as scary as it may seem and it is possible to make the change and end up doing something you truly love as a result. That’s what happened with both Brenda and I. You can learn more about our midlife career changes by taking a look at the eBook I published on the subject titled, “Surviving Midlife Career Changes.”
It may sound a bit odd but thanks to income tax, I had an interesting realization. We missed the deadline to file our returns. I know, we were late but in our defense we have been very busy sorting through the changes we have been going through since this time last year. While that may not be a very good excuse, it is the truth. But that was not the realization I had.
This tax year was the first time ever we had enough paperwork to submit returns from both of our home-based businesses. For me, that signaled the official end of our midlife career change. The transition was done. We are now officially working for ourselves with new careers that came from two very different part-time hobbies. Our new lives are underway.
The reason why I am sharing this is to show you that if you are faced with a decision related to a midlife career change, I can offer some reassurance. You can do it. However, it is going to be scary at times and you will have a lot of questions and nowhere to turn for some of those answers. So, here are a few tips to help guide you through the process of a career change.
1 – You Can Do Anything
This is the most important thing to remember. Even if you don’t have the support of family or friends, you have to keep in mind that you are making this change in careers later in life for your sanity. I was lucky to be going through my transition with my wife, Brenda. We were both experiencing the same thing and found it better to work through it together.
2 – You May Already Have It
As for what you will change your career to in your mature years, you may already have something in place without knowing it. There has to be something in your life you find pleasing to do and that could be the start. As I’ve mentioned, both Brenda and I started different hobbies at the same time. They eventually became our new midlife careers.
3 – You Have To Be Patient
I set and unofficial timeline of a year before I thought my new career path could take off. It was already busy as a part-time venture and it had potential of becoming a full-time career early on but I needed to also take some time to cultivate the client base. It had spurts and burps along the way but is only just recently started to grow to where I wanted it to be.
4 – You Need To Enjoy It
The biggest hurdle we all face is when we change careers we sometimes go from a bad situation to an ever worse one. The idea behind a successful midlife career change is to transition into something you like doing. This makes it feel less like a job and if you have fun doing something that earns you money, it’s a lot easier to keep doing and staying with as a career choice.
That’s My Story And I’m Sticking With It
As I’ve stated, it was not all sunshine and roses going through our midlife career changes. It was probably at least as scary as it was exciting, but we got through it. You will, too. Once you find the right choice that fits into your life and still gives you room to enjoy your life. To find out more about our journey, check out my eBook “Surviving Midlife Career Changes.”
My name is George Elliott. I have been in the Media Industry since 1978. I spent 23 years in Broadcasting and worked in a total of six different radio stations located in southern British Columbia Canada during my career. In 2000 I switched gears and moved into the Print Media Industry at a small town, local weekly newspaper. In 2004 I bought the paper and operated it with my wife, Brenda until July 2016 when we closed it. I launched a freelance web content and article writing business from my home in January 2014.