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Top 10 Ways to Change Careers at 30

Written by: Lindsay Shugerman

August 23, 2011
Filed Under Careers, Self Help 


Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Top 10 Guru

It used to be that a major career change was something reserved for the midlife crisis years, when minivans were traded for red sports cars and successful executives reinvented themselves as surfboard artists or organic cheese makers.

But times have changed. More and more 30-somethings are feeling the urge to take a different path and start a new career. If you’re rethinking that career that you started after college, but aren’t sure where to start, here are the top 10 ways to successfully change careers at 30.

10. Go back to school

Who really knows what they want to be at 17 or 18 when it’s time to choose a major? If you’re unhappy with your career at 30, head back to the classroom and start over. Your experience in the workplace will make school seem like a breeze.

9. Watch other people working

No, I am not suggesting you stop working and spend your days wandering around watching other people working. But if you’re looking for a way to change careers at 30, watching the jobs other people do can inspire you to find a better career choice this time around.

8. Talk to everyone about their careers

If you’re unsure about what career you want, talk to everyone you meet about their careers. Find out what they love, what they hate, and what keeps them where they are. See if they will let you shadow them, or if they know of any entry level openings in their field.

7. Remember the kid in you

change career at 30
What did you want to be when you grew up? Did that dream come true? If not, try it now. Or if you already did, try to remember other things you loved to do as a kid like art or hiking or healing the neighborhood animals. Those childhood memories could offer powerful clues to the right career now. Try them on for size.

6. Start a business

change career at 30
Small, owner-managed businesses are the fastest growing segment of the business world. And it’s also one of the most popular ways to change careers at 30, 40 or beyond.

5. Volunteer

If you can’t decide on a new paid career, or if there’s a learning curve before you can get your first job in your chosen new field, consider volunteering as a way to build skills, make connections and gain a new perspective on working.

4. Apprentice yourself

Long ago, the only way to learn most professions and trades was as an apprentice. This cross between a student and unpaid (or barely paid) assistant allowed beginners to learn their skills in a hands-on setting. And the model still works! Find a master in your chosen field, and ask if you can learn from them rather than in the classroom.

3. Move to another country

Sometimes the discontent we feel is more about the setting than the job itself. Instead of picking a new career, try picking a new country for your career. Moving from Missouri to Madrid or Plano to Paris could make your same old job feel like something entirely new.

2. Redefine the career you have

If the problem with your career is boredom, see if you can expand your job to include more skill sets or a more diverse selection of assignments. Those small changes might be just the ticket to changing careers without looking for a new job.

1. Change yourself

The ancient masters pointed out that all change comes from within, so perhaps the most effective way to change careers at 30 or any age is to change yourself.

Work on seeing your current job in a new light, focus on intrinsic rewards, and find new aspects to challenge your skills.

It’s never too late.

A couple of generations ago, 30 was well into a career, and the idea of radical change was almost unheard of. Now, 30 is just the beginning, and the world is open. Find your passion, and go for it.

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