Search for:

You’re waging war with the outside world, struggling to find a place in the sun for your forty-something self. And that’s okay. But if anyone’s going to bulldoze your future prospects, don’t let it be you.

That said, the number one rule for managing your mid-career crisis is to sort out your own thoughts and desires. Because if not, chances are the driver behind your grand mid-career sabotage will be you.

You can see it all play out before you: perhaps your cognitive abilities will start to decline, and if you’re coping with a midlife career change, you just won’t know how to manage, right?

Not necessarily.  

Older employees are often more productive than their younger colleagues. And this is backed by some serious research. Middle-aged workers often stack up better than 25-year-olds when it comes to unemployment rates.

A-10. Unemployment rates by age, sex, and marital status, seasonally adjusted

Age, sex, and marital status
Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May. June July Aug.
Total, 16 years and over 3.8 3.7 3.8 3.7 3.9 4.0 3.8 3.8 3.6 3.6 3.7 3.7 3.7
16 to 19 years 12.7 12.6 12.0 12.0 12.5 12.9 13.4 12.8 13.0 12.7 12.7 12.8 12.6
16 to 17 years 13.3 13.8 10.6 13.2 13.8 14.4 16.0 12.6 13.7 14.1 14.6 15.5 12.9
18 to 19 years 12.0 12.1 12.9 11.5 12.1 12.2 12.2 12.7 12.4 11.9 11.5 10.9 12.0
20 years and over 3.5 3.4 3.4 3.4 3.5 3.7 3.5 3.5 3.2 3.3 3.3 3.4 3.4
20 to 24 years 6.8 6.9 6.8 6.6 7.2 7.6 7.2 7.2 6.5 7.0 6.3 6.8 7.0
25 years and over 3.2 3.0 3.1 3.0 3.1 3.3 3.1 3.1 2.9 2.9 3.0 3.0 2.9
25 to 54 years 3.2 3.1 3.1 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.2 3.2 3.0 2.9 3.0 3.1 3.1
25 to 34 years 4.1 3.5 3.7 3.7 3.9 3.9 4.0 4.0 3.9 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.6
35 to 44 years 2.9 2.9 3.0 2.9 2.8 2.9 2.6 2.8 2.7 2.6 2.8 2.8 2.8
45 to 54 years 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.6 2.9 2.9 2.9 2.9 2.5 2.5 2.7 2.7 2.8
55 years and over 3.0 2.8 2.9 2.9 2.9 3.2 2.7 2.7 2.6 2.7 3.0 2.7 2.6

Too often we keep ourselves in the dark about factors determining our own fate. This is why we’ve outlined 5 ways out of a midlife career crisis that no one is telling you about:

1. Stop Labeling Yourself As “Ancient”

Have you heard people say that everything begins in your head? Well, this is absolutely true. And here are some hard facts to support it:

A York University study examined how ‘the biases of unconscious selective attention’ affect our perception. Study participants were given goggles which flashed sets of letters and numbers.

One group was told each letter they identify will increase their chances of winning a lottery. The other was told the same for numbers. Guess what happened?

“When it paid to see a number, people saw a number. When it paid to see a letter, they saw a letter.”

This is exactly how your mind functions. Especially in relation to your desires, your actions, and your inner mind filters.

So, start bribing a positive outlook into your quadragenarian life. Adopt the growth mindset and act towards your goals.

Each proactive step forward will reveal a new opportunity. In fact, it will show you opportunities that already existed. Your past mind filters simply wouldn’t let you see them. This new outlook will enable you to give the aging process a fresh perspective, and perhaps prompt you to challenge the concept altogether!

2. Forge Your Own Path as a Seasoned Professional

The fact is, age discrimination is prevalent in western culture. The supremacy of youth and beauty is here to stay. So what can you do about it?

Look reality straight in the eye. Doing so does justice to your mature forty-something self.

You’ll sometimes lose out on a good job opportunity to a younger candidate. Accept it!

But you can still put your best foot forward. A foot that knows exactly which path to tread. Decades of experience left you knowing all the inner workings of your job. Well, don’t be shy to show this to recruiters.

On the topic of beefing up your resume: tweak your resume so you come across as a seasoned professional with up-to-date skills.

  • Present yourself as a vibrant, current, and energetic worker.
  • Delete all of those minor-importance jobs prior to the ’00s.
  • Repeat the same with your graduation dates.
  • Append a certificate showcasing all those updated skills.
  • If you have mastery over any modern software platforms, be sure to put it on your resume.

3. Is Your Current Job Making You Miserable? Consider an Industry Change

You took all the right steps working your way up the career ladder. You ticked off conferences and seminars, you completed in-house training. But at some point, the job went bland

No edge, no excitement.

Can this mean you’re ripe for a midlife career change? Sure it can. But you might be wondering:

Is 40 too old to change careers?

Of course, the answer is no. There are so many job opportunities on the market these days. And you can make an about-turn that will work for you. For example, you could swap your tedious office job for a cutting-edge freelancing career.

That would mark the end of being holed up in a tiny cubicle. How about that?

The possibilities are endless. You can go full-time or part-time. Or venture out into remote work as a side-hustle to test the waters first. While creating an additional stream of income.

Whatever the means, here are some online careers you can pursue: 

Small Revolution is a platform for people just like you. Those who never stop taking on new challenges

Good news is, you can start taking on those challenges today. Our quality, self-paced courses will fast-track you to the life you’ve dreamed of.

For those who are thinking seriously about this, here’s some more useful info on how to make a career change after 40:

4. Don’t Rush Into a Mid-Career Change

A word of caution, though. Without careful consideration, grandiose career moves can make you even more miserable than having a job you’re not enjoying; on top of making you penniless. 

Steven Clark is a professional who went from software engineering to financial consulting. He left us with this piece of wisdom to chew on:

“The most successful career changers aren’t the ones who are worried about paying the bills when they’re doing it.”

Which is why you want to think things through before making any rash decisions.

Whether it’s quitting your hamster wheel job for an exciting freelancing opportunity, or swapping jobs within the same profession.

Here are some important matters to consider before making any impulsive career changes:

  • Sleep on it. Discern between the different factors that are making you miserable. Have a different set of eyes help you determine whether it’s your current job that’s creating problems, or the industry itself. Because it could just be down to a toxic working environment. And you wouldn’t want to go through a whole career change over something a new job could fix, right?
  • Plan your career change appropriately. You need a backup plan to fall back on. So before you make your grand exit, make sure you line up a new job first.
  • Stash some cash on the side. We know you’re not made of money. But if you ever do decide to test the waters in another company or field, squirrel some cash away first. You’ll need it for living expenses and career advancement moves during the zero phase.
  • Figure out what career path suits you best. You don’t want to repeat your previous career mistakes, right? Use personality tests and career assessment tools to make the right career choice.

5. Restate Your Purpose Boldly 

Now, consider this scenario: could your midlife career crisis be linked to matters beyond just your job? Perhaps being good at what you do doesn’t work magic for you anymore. And this is a natural feeling.

As we grow older, our values and priorities shift.

A survey by the Happiness Research Institute came to this interesting insight: what they found is that people need ‘a sense of purpose’ to be satisfied with their career.

There’s so much more to being a happy, well-rounded person than just doing your job well.

So do a little bit of exploration. Anything that sparks inspiration and gets your mojo back qualifies. 

  • Mingle with people. Discuss and contribute to message boards or websites related to your career.
  • Take on learning a completely new skill-set, unrelated to your current job description.
  • Consider taking it further and making this ‘new thing’ a side-hustle.
  • Offer your expertise for free on a website like Do It.
  • Consider dropping down to part-time, going freelance or consulting.

Feeling Struck By a Midlife Career Crisis? Strike Back!

Dreading the unknown is a normal reaction to the modern world that worships at the altar of youth. And you have a lot at stake. Losing a job or being passed over for a promotion is a lot to take, especially later in life. 

Still, you have nothing to fear. Follow the tips above, arm yourself with a can-do attitude, and remain open to new experiences. With this mindset, you’ll be able to face your mid-career crisis with cool-headed confidence. 

Your attitude is everything. You can accomplish things beyond your imagination. That certainly includes completely changing your career path, if that is your true desire.

Small Revolution will help you take your first steps towards making money online. We welcome you to our freelancer hub

Why waste time when you can start exploring your online career options? Begin learning your way towards your dream job today!

Photo by Geralt / CC BY


I'm Katrina McKinnon, founder of McKinnon Group and Small Revolution. I'm using my 20 years' experience in building and operating online businesses to create engaging educational materials that helps others become successful online workers. Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Write A Comment