Why did no one prepare us for midlife career change?

Why did no one prepare us for midlife career change?
Photo by Javier Allegue Barros / Unsplash

In my last year of university, I looked at my final course choices (Latin, classical architecture, history) and realized I had no idea what I was going to do with this degree when I was done.

So I did what every great career powerhouse did in their early 20s - went to the student services offices, picked up a course guide and looked at certificate programs that would get me a job when I was all done. (For those of you invested in this story I picked Human Resources)

And that is what I did for the next 15 years of my career, and you know what? It was fine. It was a decent-paying job. I kind of liked it. I was really good at it, but then I had 2 kids and my whole world shifted.

The things I liked at my job I now sort of hated. I hated being the last parent to be at pick-up. I was chaffed at being strapped to my desk for 40 hours a week, making money for a company I was quickly starting to despise. I was exhausted and could no longer feel good about a job that I was quickly becoming ashamed of.

Now, unfortunately, it didn't feel as easy as showing up and picking a program. I had a mortgage, huge daycare bills, a "good" job that gave me an RRSP and 3 weeks vacation.

Changing careers when you have little people relying on you is totally different.

Here is a list of things, in no particular order, that I came up with that would make it IMPOSSIBLE for me to change jobs.

  1. I couldn't afford a pay cut
  2. I needed to be within 30 minutes of daycare for emergencies
  3. I needed at least 3-4 weeks vacation
  4. I needed to have sick leave
  5. I did not have time to go back to school
  6. I didn't have time to make this change - my kids were 3 & 1 and I hadn't slept a full night in 3 years

I looked at the list and then cried and threw the list away. I looked up 'stress leave' and I would think about what would happen if I quit and moved to a cabin in the woods.

But then something happened, and I asked myself the question I should have asked. "What would happen if I didn't change careers?" Here is my list:

  1. I would need to go on stress leave
  2. My children would watch me hate my job - I was their example of what work should be
  3. I would snap at my boss and eventually get fired
  4. I would lose the one chance in this one life to do something that meant something to me and that I would be proud to tell my children about.

Suddenly my IMPOSSIBLE list became a starting point and I realized that many of them were just barriers I was throwing up.

I had been working as a consultant and I knew that I could come up with an action plan, process and ideas for just about any problem.

It was time to focus on my career.

Since that happened, I became a career coach and am now the Founder of Canada's largest community for working mothers. I have worked with hundreds of other women to help them make a change. I call it career consulting. No navel-gazing, thinking and overthinking. If you are ready to start then that is good enough.

Thinking about change will get you nowhere. You have to act.

I am here to help.

Purchase The Career Change Webinar NOW - for only $99 and get started today.

I help guide you out the door and into a new career that gives you everything you want – more time, more money, and more respect.

Moms at Work is Canada's only organization committed to supporting working mothers. We provide career coaching, courses and our Collective community group where we help you build the network you always needed. We are a mom-run business committed to making a difference in the world.

We help women make more money - get better jobs and build community.