Midlife Reinvention; Is It Time For a Professional Pivot?

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Imagine, if you will, you have about ten years remaining on this Earth.  It could actually be a few months more or less.  The point is, you know with absolute certainty you have approximately a decade to look forward to before you pass on.

This leaves too much time and not enough money to indulgently submit your two-week notice or cash out and sell your business.  Although, the thought of retiring and traveling the world crosses your mind more than once.  Alas, there are bills to pay and family members to feed.

The situation is distressing.  You always assumed you would have ample opportunity to begin a midlife reinvention when it felt right.  But you don’t have the luxury of time anymore.  The inevitable truth sinks in and tears fall as you grieve.  Eventually, you accept your destiny and your focus narrows on quality rather than quantity.  Serious decisions about how to spend the balance of your life need to be made.

Will you:

  • find a more satisfying job in your current field?

  • go back to school for a new career in a different industry?

  • switch to a part-time position and spend more time with family?

  • sign up for more volunteer or charity work?

  • start the business you have always dreamed about?

  • revamp your existing business to better reflect your interests and values?

  • stop working with difficult clients or stop taking on impossible assignments?

Clarity comes quickly to those on a deadline.  You discover making these life-altering choices is both terrifying and liberating.  The constraints that held you in unsatisfying situations seem to loosen and fall away.  You are suddenly less willing to tolerate toxic people and negative environments.  “Life is too short,” you tell yourself.

Alright, time to come back to reality.  The truth is, you probably have more than ten years to live.  You likely have plenty of time to plan and implement a midlife reinvention, should you want to.  However, think deeply about how you will spend your remaining days no matter what your age.  Not to be morose, but they ARE numbered.  Nobody knows when they have reached the half way point.

Related reading: 11 Midlife Career Change Ideas that Don’t Suck

Acknowledging this, what profound changes do you want to make in your professional life?  Are you ready to make a plan and take the first step?  Tell me about your career goals in the comment section below.  Putting your ambitions in writing might help get the ball rolling.  Remember, you are the author of your own story.

Life is better when we lift each other up.

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Midlife Reinvention; Is It Time For a Professional Pivot?  Discover your career goals and your life's purpose.

42 COMMENTS

  1. Great post! I’ve made the midlife pivot by giving up a lucrative job for part-time work that would allow me to spend more time with family and doing volunteer work that is satisfying and fulfilling. No regrets! In fact, I plan to pivot even more in the years ahead.

    • Hey, Darlene. As we age, different things become rise to the top of the list of our priorities. I’m glad you pivoted toward time with family. There is nothing more satisfying than that! Thank you for sharing your input.

  2. I’ve had several pivot points and the latest is a forced retirement. Now I’m not just going to sit around waiting for the ax to fall. So I’m doing some serious thinking about what comes next!

    • Hello, Olivia. Good for you! That is such a positive attitude for such a negative situation. It will make you feel great to have a plan and take the first steps. Thank you for your feedback. I believe it will help others who are struggling.

  3. Great article! I’m about to hit 50 in a couple of weeks, and this exact question has been weighing heavily on my mind. What to do with the time I have left? It could be a year, it could be another 50. I’ve spent the first half of life wanting the majority of my week to hurry up in anticipation of the weekend because work is no fun, and the weekend is my time. I’ve realized it’s been a shame to spend my days wishing for them to move quickly when time and quality of life are our most precious commodities. What a tremendous misuse of time! So for the next half of my life, I want to live without regret. I want to revel in each day by doing what fills me with passion! So, I am making plans to do just that. It’s a huge risk; I’m terrified and thrilled all at once. If I’ve learned one thing in my first 50 years, is that when you have that mix of fear and excitement, it’s definitely the right thing to do!

    • Hey, Oralia. I’m glad to hear you are moving forward with a plan. I know you will be happier with your work week. Good luck with your new professional life. It should scare and excite you!

  4. I found a more satisfying job, reduced my hours and took up some volunteer work – that all happened at 52 when I realized there was more to life than sitting in a job that sucked the life out of me. I had 10+ years to retirement and wanted to spend them doing something that made me happy – no job is perfect but it’s worth chasing one that ticks some of those boxes.

    • Hi, Leanne. Way to go! That sounds like it was a necessary and positive change for you. I’m glad it has worked out. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • Great, Mona. I love to hear when people are happy with their choices in life. Writing is an amazing and satisfying career. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I’m so going through this right now! I’ve been struggling with my “what’s next” plan, with more clarity about what I don’t want to do than what I do want to do. But just this week I think I may have had a little breakthrough.

    • Hey, Jessica. Don’t worry, this change doesn’t have to be quick. It is a process that should involve careful deliberation and planning. I’m happy to know you have had a breakthrough, though. Good luck on your transformation and journey.

  6. Great advice! I’ve lost a lot of close friends and family members who thought they’d have time to do it later. Later may never come. I made my career change two years ago and wish I had done it years earlier!

    • Greetings, Rena. At least you made your career change. Most people just don’t do it at all. They stay in unsatisfying or miserable situations until they retire. That is so unnecessary, you know. Thanks for sharing your insight.

  7. I appreciate the opportunity here to spell out my passions. I’m working towards publishing many books. I have one down and am just finding the motivation to keep pushing forward. Thank you for your insight and support.

    • Hello, Rica. Well, I hope putting it in writing helped cement your goals and dreams. I urge you to keep going with a well thought out plan and a positive attitude. Thank you for being brave enough to share.

  8. I am frozen with fear when I think of this, so I tend to look at two time frames: what are my goals for the next 6 months, AND how can I maximize the opportunities of today. I’ve had too many long-term plans destroyed by elements beyond my control. I was a big planner, but I’ve just been burned too many times to plan out very far anymore. The silver lining is that I’m more joyful and spontaneous (kinda) than I used to be! All my best to people moving into midlife and beyond. It’s uncharted territory for sure.

    • Hi, Karen. I too used to write long-term lists of goals and felt let down when life got in the way. I now make a list of the things I must get done in a specific time period and also a list of things I would like to get done. That way I am satisfied with my progress and not desperate to change goals or my direction in life. Thank you for your suggestions. They will likely help others who read them.

    • Hey there, Jennifer. That is a great tip. Life is short. We had all better make the most of every day we are given. Thank you for sharing.

    • Hello, Althea. Thank you for reading my post. I’m glad it has encouraged you to keep going with your blog. Stop by again sometime and let us know how it’s going for you.

    • Hi there, Judy. Wow, that is a major and inspirational pivot you made. All with no regrets. Thank you for sharing. I’m sure it will help others who are on the fence about a career change.

    • Hi, Antoinette. I am happy to hear that you are phasing out of corporate America since it is not supportive of women…particularly those over forty. Nothing like battling sexism and ageism at the same time. I wish you much success! Thank you for your feedback. It will inspire others, I’m sure.

  9. Great post. I recently left my full time job that I hated to focus on blogging full time. One of the reasons I did it is because life is short and I don’t want to waste anymore time not doing what I love.

    • Greetings, Michelle. It is amazing how much better you feel after you leave a job/career you don’t like. You’re right, life is short. Now go enjoy it! Thank you for your insight.

  10. Love this! I think every women goes thru some time of pivot at some point in their life. It’s so important to learn to know yourself so you can make these changes. And if you can’t do it alone, there are plenty of us who have been through it and are willing to help guide you.

    • Thank you for your words of inspiration, Patti. It can be scary going through a life transition alone. It’s so nice to have a community of women who can offer guidance.

  11. Such a great clarifying question, which is the heart of coaching. I keep reinventing myself professionally… I’m convinced it’s why people say I look younger than I do. I’m on my 3rd/4th career now, loving it, and have no intention of “retiring” since I will just reinvent myself again!

    • Hello, Stephanie. You go, girl! I think most people should reinvent themselves professionally a few times in life. It keeps us from becoming bored and frustrated. You are a prime example of how to do it again and again. Thank you for sharing.

  12. We are changing our lives in April. It will be a new ride but we are excited to not be in the corporate world.

    • Hi, Amee. Oh, that sounds exciting and scary and wonderful all at the same time. Good luck with your transition and thank you for sharing.

  13. Whenever I look at my life goals, I consider what I want to do before I die. Much easier to do now that I’m on the downslide from 50. But it really puts into perspective what you want.

    • Hi, Jennifer. That is good advice. We just never know how long we have on Earth. Don’t put off the important items on your goal list. Thank you for sharing.

    • Greetings, Claudia. Thank you for checking out my business blog and reading my post. I always appreciate that. I hope Lemons & Olives is doing well. Visit again soon!

  14. Jen, great article. I recently asked myself some of these same questions and came to the conclusion it’s time to make some midlife crisis change to my career, although I’m a little past midlife! We all want to make a difference in this world and putting things into the perspective of 10 years…well it really makes you stop to think. I decided to quit my full time job (which was only supposed to be part time but was consuming ALL of my time!) and jump full time into blogging. I’m only just getting started but I love it! I read this saying on facebook “Live until you die!” I want to LIVE every moment of whatever time I have left on this earth!

    • Hello, Carol. What a great perspective you now have on life. You never know how long you have and it’s better to live a meaningful life than dread your job or career. Thank you for contributing to the conversation.

  15. YOu know, I never had a plan.Paths and opportunities appeared and I either chose them or didn’t. Which is how I find myself with a new business in my middle 60s. I supposed my life wouldn’t gone differently with a plan but it turned out pretty well without one. Having said that, I do see the value of looking ahead and re-evaluating as we go. Thought provoking post today.

    • Hi, Carol. Some people do quite well living spontaneously or even with a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ attitude toward life. It’s only a problem when you are truly dissatisfied with the results or consequences of that type of living. I am more a ‘type A’ kind of girl. I sometimes need to remind myself to relax and stop planning everything out. Thank you for your insightful comment.

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