Am I Too Old To Change Careers Or Start My Own Company?
Are you wondering if you’re too old to make a big career change? Or, whether you’ve left it too late to become a really successful entrepreneur?
If you feel like that and you’re asking those questions, I totally get it. We live in a society that is obsessed with youth. Just think about the 20 year old whiz coming out of Silicon Valley with a million dollar IPO. Or, the 21 year old girl on Instagram telling women in their 30’s and 40’s how to eat. Or, maybe that 22 year old kid in your marketing department, who is making you feel like a dinosaur because you’re over 30.
So, I totally get it. However, the reason why I’m shooting this video is because I want to let you know that the question is not about whether you’re too old or whether you’ve left it too late. Forget about all those young ones. The question should be something completely different.
Ask instead: “What do you want to do with all those years that you still have left to work?”
Those many, many years.
Do you just want to default and continue what you’ve been doing so far?
Or, do you want to make them the best years of your life?
Hi I’m Rikke Hansen. I’m a Transition Advisor.
I help smart career changers and entrepreneurs make really scary transitions in their business or in their career. So many of my clients in their 30’s and 40’s come to me, and they really worry that they left it too late, they’re too old.
But, here’s what I always ask them to think about: “How many years do you still have left until retirement versus how many years have you already worked?”
For most countries, especially in Western Europe, the retirement age is slowing inching towards 70, and probably it’s going to be a lot later than that once you and I get there, but think about it. Imagine you are a 35 year old lawyer, or 35 year old finance person, or any other professional for that matter. And, you’ve already worked 10 years, think about how many years you still have left to work.
(Example) If you’re 35 years old and you’ve worked 10 years so far, you STILL have 35 years left to work until you can retire.
Just think about that for a moment.
If you decide right now, at the “ripe” (not) age of 35, or whatever your age is right now, that you’ve left it too late to change, your default is going to be staying in that profession, staying in that job, or maybe even staying with that company for the next 35 years, or 20 years, or 10 years, or whatever much you’ve got left. How does that feel? Would you like to do that?
If you’re watching this video, I bet not! So, here is what I want you to worry about:
DON’T worry about whether you’ve left it too late, whether you’re too old.
DO worry about those many years of regrets, of resentment, of boredom, and lack of full self-expression you have ahead of you, if you don’t make a change now.
But why is it so difficult to change?
So, let’s say you’ve spent the last 10 years in a finance career. You’re really fed up and you really want to change. You’ve got an idea for a business in health and fitness, a subject you love. But, there is still something that just keeps you in that finance job and you’re not really sure what it is. You feel like there’s a pull to stay because you’ve already spent so much time there, so you kind of feel that it would be crazy to drop all of that and go do something different.
Can you relate to that?
Now the reason why you’re feeling like that (and why it’s can seem so hard to make a change) is down to a concept, called the Sunk Cost Fallacy.
It’s a misapplication of a financial concept that you psychologically get yourself into.
What the Sunk Cost Fallacy means is that you have a greater tendency to continue an endeavour, such as a career or a job, once you’ve spent time, money, and invested loads in it.
But, it’s irrational, because the concept actually comes from finance. In finance, a sunk cost is money that’s spent and that you can never recover. So, when you make decisions about the future, you never take sunk costs into consideration.
This is exactly where so many career changers and transitioners go wrong.
Instead of looking at, “Where do I really want to go now, irrespective of where I’ve been?” What they look at is like, “Oh, my God – I’ve already spent 5, 10, 15 years in finance. I really ought to continue down that road, because I invested so much.”
But here’s my challenge to you: Do you really want to base your future on backwards-looking decisions? Or, do you want to look forward and say to yourself, “What do I really want my future in the next 20, 30, 40 years to look like – Irrespective of what I’ve done so far?”
That is the most intelligent approach and the one that’s going to give you the most opportunities.
Some other examples of sunk costs: A lot of people start a longer degree or a PhD. They get a couple of years in and they go, “Oh, my God. I don’t want to do that,” but they still continue. Rather than giving up and going for what they really want instead.
Also, people stay in relationships way longer just because they invested time already.
Here’s what I want you to think about it when it comes to that change you really want to make:
Do you really want to have those 10, 15+ years you spent in finance (or insert your profession here) to decide what you’re going to be doing for the next 20, 30, 40 years?
Or, do you want to decide that, actually yes, you spent that time in finance or any other profession, but you don’t want that anymore. It’s making you miserable. It’s making you unhappy.
So, what you want to look at instead is that, “Okay. Been there, done that. It’s a sunk cost. I’m going to leave it there and I’m going to move on, and I’m going to go move onto creating the most amazing future with the business or career that I love, today.”
Do you see where this is going?
Remember, the question is never, “Are you too old? Or, have you left it too late?”
The question is, “What kind of life, especially work life, do I want to create for myself, now and for the rest of my life?”
If you don’t want to stay where you are and just default, to continue being a lawyer, a finance person, or any other kind of professional or job, this is your chance to make a forward-looking decision, and forget about those sunk costs.
Anyway, whatever it is you’ve learned in the career you’ve had so far will still stay with you, that won’t go away.
If you are ready to move on and want to make the next 20, 30, 40+ years the best years of your life, I’ve got something for you:
Go to Rikke.me/kickstart
I’ve put together a 1-pager with my 3 best strategies for getting ideas for kickstarting your first business or your career change. Go to Rikke.me/kickstart to request it today.
See you over there!