If you are in your 30’s and still do not know what you want to be when you grow up, you are not alone. A decade or so into a career many choose as teenagers, plenty of 30-somethings are re-evaluating their professional and personal goals.

The best example I can come up with on this is – in 1972 a 30 year old stockbroker ditched her career in New York and headed north to renovate an old farmhouse with her husband. Free from the demands and dealings of the financial world, she spent her days cooking and fixing up their home. After sometime she discovered she had a natural affinity for this and within a year she had launched a catering company from her basement. In 1982 she published her first cookbook and by 1990 she had created her own magazine. Martha Stewart’s big decision, like so many other 30-something women have made throughout history have epitomised a modern social change that many of us see, hear and probably think about every day. “The 30-something career swerve”.

Where once vacillating between careers in your forth decade may have looked like a risky venture, it is now seen as a sensible reaction to a world in which job security is no longer a certainty and personal fulfilment is the ultimate goal.

Think about it; many women look at their 30’s and see a last window of opportunity in which to make difference to their lives, especially if they are starting a family. Sure, many of them will have another attempt after their children have grown up and left, but do you really want to wait another decade?

This is your peak – your self-awareness has flourished and with the mistakes of your 20’s (we have all had them) in the rear-view mirror; we know how important it is to take bold steps that will get us where we truly want to be. The old idea that this is a mid-life crisis is now for those in their 40’s (me)!

So, if you’re thinking about changing careers:

(1) Asses your situation: sit down and consider whether you need a swerve or a nudge. Talk to your friends, colleagues and even your recruitment consultant.

(2) Have a back-up plan: if you want to start your own business, try doing it while holding down your full-time job.

(3) Use what you have got: There is no need to start at the bottom. At this point in time, a lot of what you have learned (management skills etc.) are transferable.

(4) Research: Study, volunteer or even get a part-time job to give you a real taste of your new career.

(5) Work your contacts: sign up to a group that works in this new field; seek a mentor; follow companies and most of all get yourself on LinkedIn.

Did you know that CareerOne did a survey and discovered that “82% of Australians are on the lookout for new career opportunities? They go on to say that “after staying put during uncertain economic times, it seems the bulk of us are now open to or actively looking for a new job”. So contact your consultant and see if they can help.

Alicia Sumich – Group Manager; Business Development

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