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Brad Pitt’s Professional Shift by Age 50: 5 Tips for Successfully Planning Mid-Life Career Change
“We all have a shelf-life and mine is coming,” shared Hollywood heartthrob-turned- philanthropist Brad Pitt in an interview with Australia’s “60 Minutes.” Pitt’s disclosure regarding his plan to transition behind the camera to produce and develop by the time he hits 50 has taken fans and spectators by surprise. Well, given that most of us begin working in our early to mid 20s and work 40-45 years; then 50 sounds about the right age to make a career change that better suits our current lifestyles and interests. While the two-time winner of People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” title has certainly enjoyed and profited from his on-screen success, he joins many of us in yearning and preparing for new growth and challenges in our careers. Oftentimes, such career transitions are inspired by emotional satisfaction rather than financial fulfillment. Though in this job market, records from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that career change is a fact of modern life rather than a deliberate choice.
3 Reasons to Change Careers
1. Job satisfaction and stimulation or lack there of are key factors in motivating career changers. Statistics show that over 50% of employees are considerably unhappy in their current job situation. For employees who spend more time at their workplace than they do at home, a change in career can significantly increase total life satisfaction.
2. Pursuits for opportunities that provide entrepreneurial and creative freedom also contribute to a desire in career change. This is true particularly among individuals age 50 and above. The thought is that time is ticking away before they can leave their legacy in the work world. By the age of 50, many individuals feel secure enough in their experience, expertise and financial security to make a drastic leap in their career.
3. The end of a “shelf-life” as Brad Pitt explains is yet another popular reason for taking action and making a career change. Careers where appearance (actors & models), potency (physical therapists, chiropractors & firefighters) and intellectual (professors, doctors & lawyers) stamina are compromised with age often require transition in order to extend career longevity.
5 Tips for Planning Mid-Life Career Change
1. Be open-minded and truly embrace change. Many aspiring career changers only dream about transitioning out of their current work situation. When the chips are down and an opportunity realistically becomes available, they are not in the frame of mind to accept the challenge. Don’t fool yourself and most importantly, don’t waste your time or a recruiter’s time window shopping if you haven’t done enough soul-searching to commit to a career change.
2. Be truthful to yourself and assess yourself properly. That means carefully evaluating your experience, skills, education and other critical credentials that make up the total ‘You’ package. Be truthful with yourself as far as what you can offer a new business or a new industry. Ask yourself how you can contribute your personal and professional expertise to a different business. In doing so you may discover that there are opportunities for change in more suitable roles within your existing industry (like Brad Pitt has within entertainment).
3. Be financially prepared for change in your career. Typically, there is a 12-18 month ramp up time for a new career or business to provide income security. This is usually one of the biggest disappointments for those transitioning from financially lucrative careers. Have your nest egg ready before you hatch your new endeavor.
4. Be humble enough to learn new information from mentors who may be junior to you or who have been in the workforce half the time you have. While you could have been their superior in your current field, transitioning into a new career may turn you into the protégée of someone young enough to be your mentoree.
5. Be diligent about finding out the nuts and bolts of the new industry or job you are looking to transition into. Don’t fall into the ‘grass is always greener’ syndrome where you think you’re going into a better situation. There is nothing more disappointing than finding out that you’ve gone from the ‘fire into the frying pan,’ especially after it’s too late.