A close girlfriend of mine was in town visiting her family this past week and I had a chance to catch up with her for a cuppa. It had been several years and a few children between us since we last saw each other face to face, so we were both excited to finally have time to have a heart-felt uninterrupted convo.
You see, Kate (obviously not her real name, but roll with it…) and I have been friends since we met while working at a fast-food chain at 19 years and 17 years respectively.
While our lives have taken us on different paths and around the world, we’ve always been able to pick up where we left off like no time has gone by at all.
Kate is two years older than me and studied Accounting at University. She loved her job and worked her way up the corporate ladder before having kids and deciding with her husband not to return to work until all three of their babies were at school.
During our cuppa Kate revealed that while she’d love to go back to work, she was reluctant because Accounting was not what she wanted to do any more.
After 9 years (so far) out of the industry she couldn’t imagine returning to the grind because her passions and values had changed since being a Mum.
I completely understood where she was coming from, having gone through a professional change myself – as many of us do after children – so I suggested finding ways to change industry or perhaps starting her own business.
It was what she said next that took me by surprise, “Sian, I’m almost 40, it’s too late for me to change anything now. Why did I have to study such a boring topic at Uni. I should’ve done something else.”
Usually when I hear this type of statement from a client I’m prepared for it, but when a close friend of mine makes the same declaration, I’ll be honest to admit it caught me off guard for a few reasons:
- Since when was 40 the age we are past our use-by date?
- Who said there are no options available because you studied something you’re no longer interested in more than 20 years ago?
- If we can’t give ourselves permission to build a path to career fulfilment at 40 years of age after 10+ years of raising children – when is a ‘good’ time?
I’ve always been of the opinion that the show ain’t over until the fat lady sings, so why then is it hard for some of us to fathom that with air in our lungs, a heart in our chest and a happy and healthy supportive family (God willing), that we still have every opportunity to put ourselves first and cultivate a new heart-driven career?
I’m so passionate about this topic, I went hunting for examples of women who found ‘success’ in the second-stage of their career (i.e. after 40) and pleasantly discovered:
- Vera Wang launched her fashion line at 40 years of age after being a professional Figure Skater;
- Julia Child was a Marketing Executive who wrote her first cook book at 50 years of age;
- Coco Chanel was 70 when she relaunched ‘Chanel’ after closing it down post-WWII; and
- Betty White was an ‘overnight success’ at 51 years of age.
I’m very interested to hear your thoughts on this topic…
Are we still programmed to believe that we must have one job for the rest of our life and find happiness in it (aka ‘suck it up’)?
Are we somehow trapped in the mindset that 40 is too old to find a mentor and/or the inspiration to follow our hearts to develop a new fulfilling career?
And why in this modern era, is there still pressure to have life figured out before we’re 30?
If you’re feeling stuck in a dull job and want help and guidance to create a meaningful career, I highly recommend Business Coach Kate McCready’s workshop How To Create A Business That Lights You Up, or connect with me one-on-one to help you set meaningful and realistic goals to take steps towards achieving what matters to you, without stress or pressure to create drastic changes.