When you’re too old for a career change

By Kristin Allaben, Strategic Communications Specialist and Executive Assistant

I recently started watching “Great News,” a show about a 30-something TV producer and her 60-something year old mother who joins the staff as their newest intern. Though there are plenty of laughs and cringe-worthy moments when you think about having one of your own parents “hovering” (as the lead character calls it) at work, it brings to light a growing theme in today’s workforce: you’re never too old to make a career change.

This topic is being increasingly addressed across many avenues, particularly in entertainment as there have been a number of TV shows and even movies, like The Intern with Robert DeNiro, that address the idea of a Baby Boomer returning to work in a new environment after retirement.

But it’s not just Boomers making these big career changes. At the age of 28, I found myself questioning my career in PR. I had been working tirelessly to build my career as a PR executive, but after investing nearly 10 years in the industry through both internships and full time positions, I found myself burned out and questioning if I really loved the job. I kept thinking 28 is too young to be burned out, to question your career path. Something must be wrong with you. You chose wrong and now you’re stuck.

But as it turns out,

  • I wasn’t stuck following a career path I wasn’t sure was for me, and
  • I wasn’t alone.

According to a study from LinkedIn completed in 2016, millennials will jump jobs an average of four times within the first 10 years they’re out of college before they settle on a career, double what was seen from the generation before during that same timeframe.

Though the study wasn’t entirely clear about whether those jobs were within the same industry or if they involved industry changes, it still illustrates that making a change can be healthy.

I took the 3AboutMe Talent Assessment and really studied my results, thinking long and hard about the opportunities that knowing my Big Three presented for me. I ultimately decided to try something different that aligned to my core strengths and passions.

After about a year, I realized the move wasn’t the best fit; though I enjoyed elements of the work, it wasn’t what I thought it would be. This wasn’t a waste by any stretch of the imagination, though. It actually gave me the opportunity to try something new, and to reaffirm my love for PR and marketing. As a result, I pitched the creation of a new role, one the company did not have, and was tasked with creating the job description, interviewing for the position and, when I accepted the job offer, continuing to help the role evolve as I went along.

What will be interesting to see is how millennials in the workforce continue to evolve over the next 20, 30 or 40 years. Will we keep job hopping? Or will learning how to be more self-aware help us zero in on roles that are a better fit earlier on so we don’t continue to make job changes? Or will we continue to follow in the footsteps of the Boomers and choose to make big career changes long after we’ve decided we’re “too old” to make a change?

Regardless, I think we can all agree: you’re never too old to make a career change. Sometimes it just takes us a while to find our spot.

Considering a career change in the New Year? Take the 3AboutMe Talent Assessment to get to know your Big Three to help you find your fit in today’s world.


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