Evolution Shift
A Future Look at Today
June 14th, 2007

Midlife Career Change

We live in a time of great shift and transformation.  I have written here about disintermediation and other trends that are reshaping the economic and cultural landscapes.  It is increasingly important to consider these forces when making major life decisions, especially as it pertains to work, business and the economy.

As a member of the baby boom generation, I have seen many people my age change careers at least once during middle age.  We are all living longer, move more often and of course are all living in a much faster paced world than the one our parents lived in.  This leads to a lot of us choosing to do more than one thing in our work lives.   These career changes are usually fed by a passion, by disillusionment or some unforeseeable event that changes our lives.  My fiancé left a successful business career as a comptroller to serve humanity as a compassionate therapist, going back to school in mid-life and committing years to this effort.  A good friend of mine was a successful media executive and decided to reinvent the world of wine retailing.  Another good friend who has successfully built and run media companies  decided that he could be happier, and more financially successful working solo from home, taking time to smell the roses.  In all of these cases they followed their passion, listened to their heart and applied developed talents or learned new skills or complete new areas of knowledge and expertise.

The key driver in a mid-life career change is to find greater happiness and more passion in ones’ work life.  Mid-life brings with it a sense of mortality, that life in fact may be half over and that raises the question of how to spend the remaining time we have on this earth.  Happiness is individually defined.  Some feel the need to serve others.  Some want to be more creatively expressive, and others want to make more money.  All these motivations are personal and should be at the core of any mid-life career change.  However, once this internal process has been completed it is important to really take a macro look at the world to make sure that this personal decision fits into the larger dynamics at play in the marketplace.

Disintermediation, globalization, the growth of high speed connectivity, and the changing energy environment are all factors that should be thought about before making the final career change decision.  For example, if, in the mid-1990s someone had made the decision to enter the music business, that career would probably be short lived due to the disintermediation of the Internet and legal and  illegal downloads.  Any new job or occupation that is reliant on transportation whether it be shipping or just a long commute now must be considered within the context of oil prices and the changing landscape of energy.

Recently, the premier web site for mid-life issues invited me to become a guest columnist, the resident futurist for the site.  While www.lifetwo.com covers the many personal aspects of career change, they asked me to write on the dynamics that are reshaping the world to suggest to their readers, as I have done here, things that must be considered outside oneself when making this important decision.  A column listing seven things to consider before making a career change is now posted at http://lifetwo.com/production/node/20070526-how-to-avoid-becoming-obsolescent-outsourced-and-disintermediated .

A phrase I use to end the section called Blog Origins as to why I started www.evolutionshift.com  is quite relevant:  “Look Up.  Look around.  Look within.  Or look out!

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In times of global uncertainty and disruption it takes a futurist to provide context and understanding.

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