Invest In Yourself: Start Your Own Chapter

Photo by Waranont (Joe) on Unsplash

I asked my readers whether they were the main characters in their own career stories in a previous post. I hope that you can answer “yes!” to this question, but many of us can’t during some period of our career. The question then becomes how to invest in your career if the answer is “no.”

Workers of a, ahem, certain age (read: old fogeys like me) have often invested themselves in the success of other organizations and individuals for many years. We’re still technologically relevant and have years of experience under our belts but can be frustrated not to have a more significant voice in the organization, even after rising through the ranks. Today, I share my suggestions on reinventing yourself and refocusing your career based on your interests, strengths, and passions.

  1. Go Back To School: This may sound strange coming from someone in her 40’s, but by this point in my career, I now know what I don’t know (Hint: it’s a WHOLE lot). A good option is to fill in the gaps by attaining another degree or drilling down more specifically with an advanced degree with focused research. If your career track has stalled out, sometimes adding a degree or certification can give you a boost.
  2. Become a Consultant: I know the world has a lot of consultants now. But throughout your career, you have amassed unique industry knowledge that can help others, especially if you work in a specialized field. Consultants can perform their duties full-time or, if allowed by their primary employer, as a side gig if it doesn’t impact their primary organization’s business.
  3. Start Teaching or Public Speaking: Several people I know (hubby and many friends included) realized that they want to work in their chosen field and train others in that field. Some teach full-time as a break from a traditional 9-5 job, and others teach as a side-gig to supplement their primary career. In either case, this is a wonderful way to establish credentials for future consulting work. If you don’t want the grind of a classroom of students regularly, you can do public speaking about your field at conferences or in workshops.
  4. Start a Company: You have years of experience and a well-developed network of professionals in your industry. If you disagree with the way your employer manages their business, why not leverage your expertise and connections to start your own company run the way YOU want to run it? It could be a service business, a product to manufacture, or anything else that tickles your fancy. Entrepreneurship has its ups and downs, but there is great satisfaction in knowing that you get to call the shots.
  5. Write a Book: This is the route I’ve chosen to take. I have years of career experience that I would like to leverage to help people with their career issues. My degree in journalism and English lends credibility, and my blog lets me practice my writing. Writing a book can be a great way to share your knowledge with others, whether academically, commercially, or self-published.

If you’re starting to experience a mid-career crisis and want to refocus, try one of the above part- or full-time to put your years of toil and experience to better use. I think you will be glad that you did!