If You’re Going To Do It, Do It Now!

I have three sons, two of which are college age-ish (one if college, one on his way).  They can do anything right now!  If they wanted, they could fill a backpack and walk the earth. No one is going to stop them, in fact, many will congratulate them for taking this leap while they’re young.

In just a few years, people won’t say that.  They’ll tell them it’s crazy and you’re going to hurt your career, etc.

I’m 45 years old.  I have a feeling that I’m getting to an age where I no longer can make a change in my career path.

Before you start commenting with things like, “Tim, age is a state of mind”, or “You can do anything you want”, or “Follow you passion”.  Stop it. I’m a grown ass man.  I like to think I’m an adult, although my wife and kids question that frequently. I have adult obligations – mortgage, college tuition, kids to raise, health insurance. I can’t just go off and polish rocks.

We all get to certain points in our life where you can no longer just go do ‘it’. Whatever ‘it’ is for you.   I feel like I’m at a point where I can’t change careers, not because I don’t think I could, but because society doesn’t look well upon 45-year-old dudes looking to change careers. Something is now wrong with me if I wanted to change careers. BTW – I don’t want to change careers, I actually think what I do is pretty cool. Or hip. Or On Fleek. Or whatever the kids are saying.

If I decided to go back and become a nurse, right now, at 45 years old, with all of my responsibilities. People would say something is wrong with me. You know what? I would think there was something wrong with me.

My question is more around what is ‘that’ time when if you’re going to do it, you better do it now?

For traveling the world: I think it’s 18-22 yrs old, or after 60.

For completely changing careers: I think you have to do it around 30-35 years old. Later, and you just look like your reaching. (I think most people won’t agree with this, but it comes from my recruiting background and how hiring managers look at older candidates who have made this move)

For having kids: this one has changed a bit, but before 40 seems safe. Otherwise, you’re just tempting science to give you problems. One caveat, if you’re adopting, I’ll push out this age because those kids just need someone who will love them.

For completely your high school or college education: I’m really open on this one – I would say anytime before death! I’m a huge advocate of lifelong learning!

For having grandkids: After 45 years old for sure. If you have grandkids prior to becoming 45, you did something wrong as a parent.

For getting your nose pierced: 17-28 years old. Yeah, I’m looking at you 37-year-old mom with the kid with a mohawk not wearing his seatbelt in the back of your Ford Mustang.

So, hit me in the comments with your age ranges on when you think it’s no longer socially acceptable to change careers!



5 thoughts on “If You’re Going To Do It, Do It Now!

  1. We’ve had terrific success in hiring “Moms returning to the workplace”. This has been primarily women (in their 40’s) with previous sales experience, who took some time off to stay home with the kids, who are thinking about the looming college tuitions and possibly about how secure their spouse’s position might be . We’ve brought them onboard with Inside sales where they can work from home 2 days a week and it’s been a huge success. With hiring I’ve learned that you have to consider new possibilities sometimes versus the tried and true traditional candidates. I would definitely be open to a 50+ year old career changer.

  2. Tim, the world is changing……you are showing your “young” age by not accepting that “older” people have skill sets that allow them to alter their career at any age.
    My dad who is now 83 went at age 40 to law school, became a lawyer then a politician and upon retirement at 75 changed careers again and lead an international commission.
    I at 45 totally changed my career and have NEVER had a problem in getting clients or positions. People see that I took a risk and have used my past experiences as a leverage for the future. Never have people viewed me as you would say “reaching”. My value add is my wealth of cross-professional experiences.
    Tim, you are selling the “older” population short with your narrow minded view and this is certainly not what I expect when I read your blogs.

    And to Michael Townsend…a mid life crisis is no longer at 40ish and NO, people are not always running as you would say when they change careers with dependents…perhaps they are just living….

  3. Interesting. Not sure I agree with an age range, but there are some windows of opportunity that close depending on what’s going on with your life. It’s harder to walk the earth like Caine if you’ve got a family – not so hard if you’re unattached. And rich. It helps to be rich.

    For career change – depends on how far you’re straying from your original career. From HR to Lion Tamer? Kind of hard. From Corporate America to Consultant – not AS hard (but still kinda hard).

    Good post, Tim! Very thought-provoking!!

  4. At our ages (early to mid 40s) if someone changes careers or decides to backpack through Africa or whatever, it would be considered mid-life crisis. Anytime under 35 with no dependents would be a good time to do something off-base. If someone does this at anytime w/dependents in their life, then they’re running. The last two examples you mentioned, those are personal issues with people who need attention.

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