190: Career changes in your 20s, 30s and 40s


Welcome to episode #190 of the Own Your Best Life Podcast. Do you know what’s possible for your career? Finding out who you are as you begin to work and live life means that you now have more decisions to make. Do you pursue what you’ve already put time and effort into or should you make a switch to something else? Do you stop working for a period of time? Do you devote your time and energy to your family and stop working outside the home? Career changes in your 20s, 30s and 40s look different. There are different questions and different answers based on your life at this moment. Today’s podcast is going to help you understand where you’re at right now and what you’re looking for next.

When I was young, I didn’t really have an idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I didn’t have career conversations, examples of career changers or even acknowledgement of what were my strengths and how to pursue a calling. I have had conversations about what was practical and also surprising support when I thought about work that was more service-oriented and less money-oriented. You too, have likely had many different experiences with a support of or a lack of support of your choices and options for what you wanted to do for a living.

You might have even had career assessments or guidance counselors or mentors helping you along the way. Yet, the career clarity that we desperately needed and wanted still felt elusive. Many of you deeply wish to know exactly what it is you want to do so that you can just go ahead and do it. Some of you know exactly what you want to do, but don’t know exactly what next step to take or how to make it happen. Others of you are fighting for your everyday sanity and peace of mind, wanting to stabilize what feels like a lot of changing and heavy loads of work. You are all in the right place, listening in. I’ve got you covered.

I’m going to share with you the 3 common places you’ll be as you make career decisions and changes in your 20s, 30s, 40s and even beyond. It’s important to know where you are so you can see that in each of these places, there’s a different set of needs that when fulfilled, will help you feel so much more clear about what you want to do next. That clarity simplifies and reduces the overwhelm of career decisions and ultimately leads to you feeling safer to move forward with making a change.

I use the analogy of boats because I find that our careers are journeys. They take us from where we are and who we thought we were to new places. Just like the ocean, our world is ever changing and we can either be deeply terrified and never go anywhere or learn how to navigate the waters with more skill, fun and finesse. Our lives are going to show us without fail, that everything we thought was fixed, isn’t – and that the only true constant is change. If that’s the case, we might as well learn to make it work for us. Build boats, direct boats and be able to see what boats we’d like to get on.

Think of the boat like your current situation, place or organization. In the first scenario, you might feel like you’re on a burning boat and it’s time to get off. Whether it’s through a life change or work change or just you knowing that you’re done, you want to get off and time is of the essence. You are making the decision that it’s better to be off the boat you’re on. In this place, you want to stay calm and collected even as you act with a sense of urgency. You know that you have a few quick decisions that need to be made and you’ll want to make the change relatively quickly. There is no turning back for you so with these situations and these clients, we make decisions that create more time, space and clarity quickly. Whether it’s a new job offer or a new role or the decision to stop working, we create an intentional plan so you’re prepared to decide, move and act on the decision. You immediately create time and space again. 

The second scenario is that you’re off the boat and you’re deciding which boat to get onto next. You’re either mentally disconnected from your current work or non-work situation or you’re physically disconnected. You’ve left. Now you have to create, weigh and decide between options. Here, you’ll want to do what you may not have done before. You want to truly take stock of who you are, what you want now and redefine success. You feel like you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make the change and do it right, so you’re really focused on leveraging what you’ve got, whether it’s experience or education, and launching that next thing well. This is where we’ll focus on identity work and beliefs. We are often so tied into who we think we were and the titles and roles that we’ve had that it limits us. We feel disappointed if we have to start over or we might even feel like we can’t do anything that is lesser than what we’ve done before. Or, we don’t feel we can do or be more than what we have done so we start to look at smaller and smaller pools of options. This is where I help you expand your possibilities and actually create more options that make more sense to you. 

This is also the place where we truly understand your gifts and what you’re meant to do, not in vague terms but in specifics that relate to practical day to day, hireable and “I will pay you” applications. Often, the mistake I see here is that people think they have an accurate perception of what they’re good at, but it’s not something that people will pay you to do. Just because we feel like we’ve discovered ourselves and our true calling, doesn’t mean that other people think the same. This gap is often hard to close when you don’t have an outside perspective, and it is often why people stay in limbo for longer than necessary. When you haven’t had a job in a while and want to work but keep holding out for something better, this is a choice that you’re making to not have income that could help you do other things to get you to the next place. The hard part here is that people want something better but sometimes there’s a lack of belief that if they choose a job that doesn’t seem to be the best fit, that they won’t be able to leave.

This is why no matter what situation you’re in, the ability to develop true strategic planning skills, clean decision-making skills and time/energy management skills will keep you able to make shifts, and create and find new work even if you’re already working. You take yourself everywhere you go. These are transferable skills and often harder for others to teach you so if you don’t come with that bias for action and the results that are created with a bias for action, it is often harder to convince others that it’s worth their time to teach you these skills. 

As you think about what’s next from this second scenario, where you’re off the boat, physically or figuratively – you will think that you’re waiting on the right decision but until you create a new option, you’re decision is to stay where you are. This is why people generally feel the itch to physically leave as soon as they mentally decide to do so. It is hard for the mind and body to not be in alignment. Your feet want to be where your head is. If your heart also gets connected to this idea of leaving and where you’re going to next, it will be much harder for you to stay where you are today. If you haven’t found something that truly pulls at your heart, this may be why you feel the need to keep looking, waiting for the one.

Now in the third situation, you’re already in a boat. You just want to go further, faster or enjoy the journey even more. You’re happy with where you are at but you might still feel overwhelmed by the pace or the idea that climbing upwards on the ladder means that you’ll work 24/7. What we do here is to plot out your next journey. You need to feel like you’re beginning something new again to find that energy and the aliveness that came from feeling that you’re making a contribution and that you’re growing. Often, a feeling of stagnation or having reached the peak is where we start to wonder about what’s next. Sometimes, the peak doesn’t feel that different from the climb. We forget that we really loved the climb. Even though there were certain moments that were tough, they were still parts of your life that created the milestones that you’re truly proud of and that you carry with you to remind you what you’re made of when times get tough. 

You probably wouldn’t want to do it all with the same mistakes you made the first time, but there’s nostalgia for the good old days. Now, if life feels like it’s getting too easy or too good to be true, you’re in for a recalibration of what you expect out of life. What happens here is that you think that the other shoe’s going to drop. Someone’s going to find out that you actually love what you do and that you really have a good situation in terms of work/life balance or pay. What you want to do here and what I work with my clients on is the ability for them to start over in some capacity. Taking different paths or new risks. Exploring their spirituality and what they want to contribute to the world. Diving deeper into what brings them heart and meaning and coming back with less cynicism about the world and a feeling of possibility. As you can tell, all of this can happen in your 20s, 30s or 40s – or beyond. There is no one time where you want to go further, faster and enjoy your life more. Often, we want that or some version of that within all different areas of our lives and across all time periods.

Yet, if we’re not careful and intentional about what we want – we’ll miss the moments that change our lives forever. We’ll find ourselves 10-15 years down the road thinking that we’ve spent too much time in one career to make a change. We’ll find ourselves with physical health issues or a mental health crisis. Often these are signs of misalignment of our hearts, minds and bodies. Our bodies will often tell us what we will not rationally understand. We should be grateful with what we have. We should love this life. We should be happy. Yet, you’re not.

As long as you’re alive, you will have these questions about what you want to do next and if you are doing the most with your time that you know to do. This is why it matters to truly consider career changes as a lifeline for you to find more fulfillment even if you don’t change the exact job that you do. Everyone’s path is truly unique and when you can see that your path makes sense to you, it’s easier to figure out what you want next and then go out and make it happen.

I’d love to help you with this if you feel like this is also what you want. Realigning who you are and what you do to discover what the next chapter of your life is going to look like. 

If you’re ready to Own Your Best Life, I want to invite you to watch the free training on how to Stand Out and Lead, using spiritual, high-performance strategies. You can access the training at https://may-empson.mykajabi.com/stand-out-and-lead.

You can then apply to join my Spiritual Achiever® program, where you’re going to create your next chapter with spiritual and high-performance strategies to achieve time and financial freedom using my proven method. It’s risk-free. You either start seeing results within your first month or I give you your money back. Schedule your call HERE. We’ll see you inside.

Want to know more about what happens when you join?

  1. When you join Spiritual Achiever® Coaching you’ll be supported for a full year: Career Revelation Academy: A 5-step career change process (if you have a job you want to stay in, I’ll show you how to love it even more) that can launch you into your next career chapter in 30 days.
  2. 2x/month group training and coaching on Spirituality, Achievement, Earth Energy and Harmony. You’ll know how to design your days for breakthroughs, create a personal brand and community, lead yourself and others through change, become more physically and mentally fit, reduce stress and reinvent what’s possible in this next chapter of your life.
  3. Discover your Leadership Strengths and Branding Workshop: Increase your awareness of what makes YOU different from others and how to become even better at your genius zone.
  4. Your Best Year workshop: Create your one year plan and design this next year, no matter what time of the year it is.
  5. Your Next 5 Years one-day virtual retreat: Vision what’s possible 5 years from now and break out of your old routines so you can step into new habits, behaviors and routines.
  6. Tickets to all in-person Spiritual Achiever retreats (accommodations not included): Highly immersive and intimate gatherings where we spend time in nature, experience energy work, eat and move well – all while making big decisions and committing to what’s next for us.
  7. Monthly 1:1 Coaching Sessions: To help you break through obstacles, define your individual path, and to work on both strategy and mindset.

The next step?

Schedule a consultation to get clarity on how coaching can help you on your journey.

Once you’re accepted into the program, you’ll receive a calendar invite for a 2-hour deep dive 1:1 session to map out your personal goals and your own year-long journey.

You’ll have immediate access to the Spiritual Achiever process and philosophy – how to achieve your biggest goals and reinvent your life.

You’ll have immediate access to 5 modules of Career Revelation Academy – to love your career even more and launch that next chapter of your career in 30 days.

You’ll have the calendar invites for the upcoming group calls and retreats.

If this speaks to you, I can’t wait to talk to you live: Schedule a consultation.

Reach out at www.mayempson.com/contact for more information on my Spiritual Achiever coaching program. You’ll figure out what’s next and actually go and do it. 

That’s it for this week. Have an amazing one and I’ll talk to you next time.

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