ASK Teany Q&A Question
This question got me a little emotional as I read it and wrote a response. It's going to ring true and perhaps painful for those frustrated with their careers and change. But what you should know is that you actually can give thanks for your past careers at any age. Read on.
Question: Which path should I take at 45 years old??
Need guidance and opinions please. I am 45 as stated. I have a liberal arts bachelors from a very "prestigious" school. Due to a variety of factors that have mitigated my path, I am now 45 working for the state in a comfortable, easy but poor paying job. I have a resume that reflects many years of experience in a specific niche of social services. It doesnt reflect anything outstanding, eye catching, or reflect my true capabilities and strengths, but has garnered me a small place in the area of social services I have had jobs in. So at this point, not only am I extremely disastfied with my "career" (it can hardly be called that), but I really need to make more money. I want to go back for a masters because that seems to be the best option based on the jobs i see that I would like to apply for but am lacking the requisite schooling. i also love school and never dreamed I would end with just a bachelors. I am not in a position to do some "crazy" shit like entreprenurial or sales etc. Like i said I have some serious mitigating issues which constrain me. The idea of doing anything at 45 is daunting. I am in a position right now that people are usually in when they are early 20s. I do not like social services at ALL but its what I have been doing for 15 years, so I feel like i need to stay within that realm but do not want to become a master level social worker or anything like that. My true interests seem so irrelvant at this late stage in my life. I cant decide what to go back to grad school for. MBA? MPA? masters in legal studies (I LOVE law and did a year at law school long ago)? Masters in public health because the health field always seems healthy. I am not sure exactly what I am asking here beyond opinions from people my age group about not necessarily "starting over" but furthering oneself financially and employment wise. i have always had shitty paying jobs and have never been able to figure out how people make real money. It has always seemed a mystery to me which probbaly doesnt bode well for my outlook or confidence. There just seem to be some type of people who "make it" and make good money even in the most seemingly random careers/jobs whereas I cant imagine getting past paycheck to paycheck living. What's the secret? Do I have a mental block? Thank you!
If you haven't heard it before, or maybe you forgot or just didn't pay attention - it doesn't matter what age you are, what work you've done, or what circumstances you're in, you have learned so many skills already that make you an incredible asset. Especially having worked in social services.
I say this with authority because after seeing the statistic, which you will appreciate, Pews Research states that the type of skills that are going to be a key asset as we move forward in careers is not analytical, its actually soft skills - the very one's you've developed. The days of an anti-social tech geek that codes in the dark with no human interaction is almost gone. Now you actually have to have key social skills, curiosity, adaptability, resilience critical thinking and a personality to match.
Also it pains me to hear you say that 'your true interest are irrelevant at this stage. Listen, you're not going to retire for another 20+ years and at the rate they keep moving the retirement age, it might be another 30+ so let's just say that you've got plenty of time to start 'another life' so to speak and actually ENJOY it this time :)
That said, you seem to 'love' law which are very big words for some who shortly before said your interests are irrelevant ;-) AND the combination of legal studies and social work skills you've gained sounds like an amazing combination esp. in the field of law. We seriously need more empathic people who care there.
The way to make real money as you call it is to pursue something that you are so passionate about and get so good at (did you catch that... you can GET great at something, it doesn't have to be innate), that you become an expert in your field. The go to person so to speak. It already sounds like you have a fiery personality to boot, so use that charge to fire up your zest for law, and use the emotional intelligence and empathy you've gained from social work to truly create an amazing combination.
I helped a client who asked a related question. He loves music and even started to produce an album, but seems to still want a practical job in computer science/tech. Sooo I said what seemed 'logical' ... ‘how about you combine your passion for music with tech and create software/apps/programs for people in the music industry that you yourself can test out on your own side projects.’ That gave him a solid goal that he could truly connect to emotionally and the practicality to make money from in an industry that is probably over a billion dollars.
Bottom line, don't sleep on the skills you've learned and the passion and interests you have. FIND a way to combine them and make something perhaps no one has done before or at least no one has done like YOU.
Cheers to your future!
If over 19+ years in Corporate America, licenses in massage. energy work and purpose coaching, 1000's of client sessions and good old fashioned life taught me something, it's that life is worth living and living passionately!