Is It Too Late for You to Change Careers?

If you’ve ever been sitting at your desk in the middle of the workday wondering if your job is right for you, I have to tell you—you’re probably not alone. My editorial team and I get so many emails asking for career advice every week, but one topic in particular that we’ve been seeing a lot of lately is changing careers. Is it too late to change my career? When do I know it’s time to look for a new job? I’ve had a change of heart; how do I start my career all over from scratch? These questions can really eat at you if you’re considering a huge career move or a new industry altogether. So today I’m here to give you my two cents about this topic.

My best piece of advice for those of you considering a career change? It’s never too late to do what you love. 

As I am getting older and seeing my friends settle into careers I am realizing how rare it is to know exactly what you want to do with your life. I believe it’s important to see things through and not quit when the job gets tough, but it’s also important to have something about your job that makes you feel fulfilled and brings you happiness. Just because you’ve started down a career path and invested your time in a certain area doesn’t mean you’re obligated to spend the rest of your life in that industry. We are allowed to have a change of heart after years (or sometimes even just a few months) of working in the same field. However, it’s important to remember that you have to be strategic and realistic about the fact that you’re not going to start at the top when you shift your entire professional plan. You might have to go back to school with kids fresh out of undergrad, and you’ll still have to work your way up in your new career, even if you’re experienced in another industry. But that can be the fun part!

The bright side is that, besides taking a leap of faith to do something you truly love, you can probably use some of the skills you learned from your previous job in your new endeavor. Being good at communicating, knowing how to manage others, being punctual… all of these skills (and probably many more) are extremely valuable to any employer, no matter the industry.

Keep in mind that most careers are never a straight and narrow path. Even if you’re staying in the same field but switching jobs laterally, you’re still going to face learning curves. Make sure your heart is in it. Shifting careers will have its ups and downs like any major life change, but if it’s something you truly want, it will be worth it.

I hope my advice helped all of you! If you have more to say, you can always join the conversation in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

What question would you like me to answer in my next Ask Lauren?

XO Lauren

Photo: Yoni Goldberg
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  • manuela

    Thank you for these precious advices Lauren
    I have many dreams about my future career but now i’m still studing at the university and l hope my dreams will come true!
    You are an example for me!!!!
    Kisses M.

  • This is actually something I have been thinking about a lot! With recently being laid off from a job I worked at for 3 years I have been thinking a lot about whether or not I want to go back into that industry. Thank you for the advice!

    Michelle || http://www.byquinn.com

  • This spoke right to my heart. This is something that I’ve been going back and forth on for quite a while, but have recently realized that it’s time for a change. Unfortunately, I’m unable to do the only thing I’ve ever dreamed of doing and am now stuck trying to figure out what else I would happy doing. I’m so glad I’m not the only one feeling this way. Thank you for this post!
    Liz
    http://www.lizzieinlace.com

  • Ashley Bourgeois

    I can relate I changed majors my freshman year. I had to do what I love and fashion is just that. Stylore.wordpress.com

    • LaurenConradOnline

      We’re happy to hear that you’re following your passion Ashley!

  • Christina Johnson

    After working in corporate retail for almost 5 years I decided to take a plunge to leave and go back to grad school. While in grad school I have taken the time to start my own business and I am so happy! Never too late!

    http://www.refinedapparelandgoods.com

  • Kari Guastella

    I read somewhere that the average person has 5 careers in their lifetime. I think I’m due for two more!
    Kari
    http://www.sweetteasweetie.com

  • Riley Nowlan

    Great advice! I will for sure keep this in mind!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Riley

    rileyannenowlan.com

  • Great post! And you’re absolutely right: it’s never too late to do something you love!

    Tanka

    http://www.sprinkleinhappiness.wordpress.com

  • Denise Rico

    Thanks for the post! I’m in the middle of shifting my career slightly and even then it feels daunting.

  • Kate

    The worst thing is the fear of the unknown. BUT I think, that thanks to the passion and commitment we can achieve success on every field.

  • My worst fear is to be stuck in a job I hate… So I try really hard to learn skills I enjoy !

    http://romychaney.com

  • Kirsty Warren

    I work in Australia in a job training young people in conservation work and I always tell them it’s never too late to change careers. I use my brother in laws story as inspiration: made redundant at 30 in a fisheries management job it was the catalyst for change for him and he’s now two years into a medicine degree and killing it! It’s never too late to chase your dreams!

  • Gabrielle

    I’m currently going through what I like to call, “being paralyzed.” Im so stuck. I don’t know what I want to do exactly. There’s about 8 things I want to do but i can’t seem to start and I can’t seem to pick something to get my degree in. I’ve gone from business major to English major to graphic design major. I’m really all over the place. Any advice?

  • Nicole

    In your next Ask Lauren I would like your advice on what to wear to the Chris Young fan club party in Nashville at the Country Music Hall of Fame in June.

  • Thank you so much for these tips Lauren. You and your team are definitely very fortunate to have the chance to do what you love as a job 🙂 <3

    XO, Elizabeth
    http://clothestoyouuu.com/

  • Margot Guilbert

    Thank you for this article Lauren and team LC! I have recently decided to change my career path. It’s a long process, but good things take time, right? The most important things in this change are to believe in yourself, but also surround yourself with people who support and understand you. Personally, it mentally helps me to carry on.
    xo Margot
    http://thepastelproject.com/

  • Kristina Abrenica

    Needed this today, thank you! I’ve gone through one career change and still exploring other possibilities. Never settle and do what makes you happy!

  • mademoiselle du nord

    Hello Lauren,
    I’d like to ask you which magazines do you read and in what categorys you#re interested most?
    xo

  • Ah this is great! It’s never too late!
    Jabeen x
    http://www.spilling-the-beans.co.uk/

  • Love this! I just made a career change almost a year ago and while it is a totally new field, there were so many skills from my college degrees & 4 years of work experience that are transferable and applicable, not to mention general professionalism and “soft” skills that are acquired.

  • This is such a good question and such an amazing answer. This is something MANY of us struggle with. Not a lot of people have to guts to change when they’re not happy. Even asking this question is tough!

    xo Azu

    http://www.raven-locks.blogspot.com

  • I love this post. Just over a year ago, I quit my job in sales (and future career in PR) and decided to go for my master’s in speech-language pathology. After just a few months of post-bacc classes under my belt, I applied to schools. SLP graduate school programs are notoriously difficult to get into, and I thought I had no chance of getting in. This past Friday, I managed to get into my top choice. It’s never too late to pursue a dream. The time will pass anyway, right?

    Thanks for this post, Lauren! Truly hit close to home. XOXO

    http://www.samantharosesays.com

  • Jessica MacLafferty

    how do I balance my school life (all the stress and homework) and still have fun ? Thankyou Lauren

  • Arley Castro Manrique

    I’ve been planning to change my career, that is I’m a lawyer but I love fashion and design. I’m starting to take courses in shoe design and basics in fashion and design. Step by step I’ll get what I’ve always wanted. Love and hugs from Colombia Lauren. A destination you should visit in Latin America!!

  • Veronica

    Well, my career setting has always been to be in the medical field. I got into it, and had received my Certification as a Medical Office Administrator! And I am also trained as a Medical Biller and Coder! But, ever since I’ve had several bad luck with different jobs; I feel like I am not going anywhere with this career. I mean, I love it and that’s why I went into it. But, at the same time I always ask myself is it too late? Especially considering the fact that I am getting older.