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Old 4th January 2004, 06:29 PM
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Anyone make a major career change after 30?

Now that I've been out of school and working for about 10 years, I'm discovering that I'm really not happy with my current career path (environmental consulting). I hate being in an office, I hate that because of the particular work that I've done, I feel very limited in what I'm qualified to do (it's really tough for me to change jobs within my field), and basically I'm just not happy with it. I think I've realized that my dream job would be a veterinarian, but I really can't afford to go back for that much schooling at this point in my life. (And while I would enjoy being a vet tech, it would be a major pay cut that I can't afford) The next thing on my list seems to be nursing. I've found a couple of programs where I can get a second bachelors degree in nursing in a little over a year. It's very tempting, but also scary to contemplate quitting my job and taking yet another student loan to do this. (Been there and done that the first time around!) The other hard part is that my husband and I really want to start a family, and it's hard to think about putting that off for another couple of years so I can make a career change. (Given that I'm approaching 32, I really feel like the clock is ticking if we want to have a family.) But then in the end I think nursing would be a much more family friendly career because there are differnt scheduled available instead of being stuck with an 8-5 office job and no alternatives like working evenings or part-time.

Does anyone have any words of wisdom? Any success stories or things you wish you would have considered before pursuing a major change?

It really bugs me the way are society is set up that kids are supposed to go to college at 18 and figure out what they want to do. I'm frustrated feeling like I wasted 4 years and gobs of money on college degree that hasn't really gotten me into a career that I enjoy!
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Old 4th January 2004, 06:45 PM
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well, i'm not quite thirty yet, but i have been through a career change. i originally studied and worked in the esthetics industry, but decided i wanted something different. personally i'm glad i have decided to go back to school, even though it means years of scholastic commitment to achieve my goal. my fiancee and i have to wait probably 3 or more years to marry and possibly longer to have children, but to me it's worth it. it means that, not only will we be more financially stable in the long run, but also that i will be happier in my career and better able to partake in the welfare of my future children. just my two cents. being 32 and going back to school doesn't mean you would have to sacrifice children, my grandmother had my uncle at 43 (late and risky i know, but you have lots of time!) i think that you should pursue what is best for you... in my experience this is often what will be best for your future children as well. good luck!

Old 4th January 2004, 06:53 PM
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Nursing offers a really family-friendly flexible schedule and good pay for my SIL, who works three 12-hr. shifts and has the other 4 days free with the kids. She has been in CCU for years and it is a high stress job for sure.

There's a shortage of RNs too, so there will always be a lot of opportunities for you! As for money, she makes as much as some vets do, and probably doesn't have to work nearly as much.

Or, is there any aspect of your present career that you enjoy more than others, that could be the specialty of your own consulting business? I agree with you about having to make a career decision early on being difficult...so many people don't even get to use their education in the fields they find work in.

Old 4th January 2004, 07:06 PM
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Jazzyboxer - that's exactly some of the reasons I want to do it - good pay, family-friendly scheduling options, and a lot of available jobs. Plus I really want a job that is more people oriented - right now I spend most of my day working independently. I don't talk to people or interact with anyone. It's just not satifying at all! I've always been very shy, and I think because of that I steared myself into a non-people job. Well now that I've matured a lot and really made an effort to work on my shyness, I've realized that I want more interaction with people on a daily basis.

Unfortunately one hurdle will be convincing my husband to hold off on the baby plans for a while longer. He was all ready to start trying for that on the honeymoon! I'd rather start sooner than later, but at the same time, I feel like it's important to get settled in a career that makes me happy. I've probably got another 40 years of working ahead of me, and I think I can be a better parent with a job that's satisfying instead of coming home grumpy because I hate what I'm doing. (My mom initially was a stay-home mom but then had to start working for financial reasons. Because she'd never gotten on a good career path, she has just had a series of jobs that she hates. I think it gave her a negative attitude that wasn't the best way to be a parent, and now that her kids are grown, it's left her feeling very unfilled with her life. I'm just trying to avoid that and find a compromise between a satisfying job and time to parent.)

Old 4th January 2004, 07:37 PM
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I'd say go for it. If it's only about a year...that's nothing. My cousin is a nurse. She graduated a couple of years ago at the age of 37...married with 2 children. They then made a big move to Floridia where they bought their first home...put in a pool and love it! I can't imagine being stuck in an office...I'd climb the walls.
As far as having children goes..you have lots of time left. I wish sometimes I could still have children, because I'd probably have one or two more and I'm....shhhhh 40.


Old 4th January 2004, 07:49 PM
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I made a major career change at 29! I was working in an office building for an insurance company (for the vice president, no less).
I started to feel like I wanted to get out of an office setting. I am very caring and nuturing and I felt like everyday I sat behind that desk that I was throwing away the good things about me that I had to offer. SO.......I made a major career change. I figured that the best outlet for my personality was to become a police officer.
Boy was I shocked!! Most of the people we come incontact with dont care how gentle and kind you are or how much compassion you want to send their way.
Unfortunatley what we, as police officers deal with is about 1% of my makeup. Which to be honest was very hard for me and after talking with my husband I was gonna find another occupation that better suited my personality. I gave it some thought and I thnk that there is probably a good place for me as a police officer I just need to find out where I would be best.

Good Luck to you and take your time and look at alll your options.


Old 5th January 2004, 07:32 AM
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You can make a career change any time you want! I think a lot of people are reevaluating their situations and making changes. Once we move (hopefully that will be soon ) I am going back to school also. I'm totally changing my career and getting my degree in something that is so different people probably won't believe it at first. Heck, if you would have said to me two years ago, that I would go to school for this I would have said you were crazy. I'm keeping it secret until I start school though.

Its easy for guys to say "oh lets hurry and have kids" when they aren't the ones doing all the work. You need to be happy with yourself and your life first before you have kids. Otherwise you will be unhappy and that will get passed on to your kids. If this means you have to wait longer so be it. You need to focus and develop you first.
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Old 5th January 2004, 07:55 PM
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Re: Anyone make a major career change after 30?

Originally posted by VTbxrFan
Does anyone have any words of wisdom?
The only words of wisdom that I can offer is to weigh benefit options. Salary is important but IMO, benefits are even more important. I've often thought of changing career paths (I'm 30) but the one HUGE bonus of my job is that in 22 years, I can retire with full retirement benefits. I don't pay for my retirement either. I do contribute to my supplemental retirement plan and my employer contributes to that as well (another bonus!). For me to make a drastic change now, would put me having to potentially work for a company for 30 years before I can get full retirement and that 8 year difference is enough incentive to keep me where I am at or atleast within the same retirement system (which is state/county wide in Virginia therefore I do have a lot of options ). As for the family, you don't have to quit working in order to have a family. You can have both, many people do Best of luck!
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Old 6th January 2004, 07:07 AM
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I don't have any retirement benefits where I am now, and I figure I've probably got at least 30 and possibly 40 more years of work ahead of me...that's why I'd rather find something I enjoy doing. I know I can have children and a job...it's the timing that's the problem. We could get by with just one income for a little while so I can quit my job and go back to school, but it will be tough, and definitely not possible if if we have children. So basically me going back to school means putting children off for several years. (At the schools near me, night school doesn't seem to be an option for nursing.) That's the hard part. We hope to have two children, and I really wanted to do it before, or not much after, being 35 when mothers are officially considered "high risk" if they are pregnant and more likely to have fertility problems. That's the hard part of the whole thing. I know it's important for me to have a good job that I enjoy, but if we put off children and then find that I can't get pregnant or end up with difficulties carrying a baby at an older age, I think that will leave with major regrets. I do know that many people have healty babies in their late 30's, and that adoption is also a wonderful option, but neither of those are really ideal choices to me.

I appreciate all of the advice. It's still a really tough decision, though!

Old 6th January 2004, 05:14 PM
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I went back to school for a degree in nursing 10 years after I graduated from college. I never really did much with my bachelor's in economics and after having my little boy I decided that I wanted to be a nurse midwife. For myself and my family this would be a seven year plan. 1 year of prereqs, 2 years of nursing school, 2 years of work for experience and then another 2 of midwifery school. I was 32 when I started on the prereqs. This year I graduated and passed the NCLEX, I am now an RN working in my field of choice, Labor and Delivery. I am reevaluating the midwifery plan, but I am sure that eventually I will go on to earn a higher degree in nursing, possibly as a family practice nurse practioner.(not quite the same gruelling on call hours as in the Obstetric field)
As far as having children, there are those that do it while they are in Nursing school,...I had thought I would..., but decided against it. My husband was also in school and there was no way we could have kept the family intact with a 3 year old, pregnancy, and a new baby. We started trying in my 4th semester(the last) and successfully got PG 6 weeks after we both graduated. (Just this past spring)
Nursing school was a wonderful experience for me. I set a goal that I would excell and I did. Something that I did not do in college the first time around. Too much partying when I was in my twenties ! Nursing school was also one of the most challenging things I've done in my life.
One sage word of advise. Nurses can wear the B badge if you know what I mean. I am fortunate on my unit that most of the women I work with are not this way. But many experienced, older nurses are mean to young, new nurses. I think that they want to make us pay our dues. I thought I should mention this as you stated you used to be shy. You have to be able to be assertive with your peers, with doctors and sometimes with patients and their families.
I could go on and on... But all in all nursing school was a great, rewarding challenge and so far I love my new career.

Good Luck in your decision! IMHO I say Go For It!
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Old 6th January 2004, 06:36 PM
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Can't speak of the baby issue but. . .

I changed from my career as a law firm administrator at age 50 and went to school to become a dog trainer.

Best thing I've ever done for myself (other than those years of therapy when I was so unhappy at my job).