General Question

Jude's avatar

Have you ever known of anyone who successfully started a new career after age 35?

Asked by Jude (32098points) April 12th, 2009

Do you know of any challenges that they had faced in finding a job because of their age? Was it difficult for them to go back to school or be trained in something new, if that’s what they had to do?

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24 Answers

Jude's avatar

@Zen Could you tell me a bit more about your experience? :)

EmpressPixie's avatar

My dad did it. He changed careers then went back to school. The hardest part for him was, I think, that between work and school it was difficult to be home very much so he didn’t get to hang out with us (the kids) and mom as much as he would have liked. Then, once he graduated his new job took him literally across the country. My folks didn’t want to totally ruin my life (I was about to graduate from high school) by moving me literally across the country so we were bi-located for a while. That was really hard on my folks just because, you know, they missed each other and dad missed the family.

Beyond that, the first job change was from a company to working for himself, so I think that made it easier and harder at the same time.

Zen's avatar

I shall, But I am in the midst of a few q’s. I’ll return, read some answers here, then tell you about my experience. Spoiler: I’m having a blast!

VzzBzz's avatar

Many. A boss of mine was retired for almost 20yrs as an escrow agent then went back to work after a bankruptcy. She quickly become a branch mgr., then V.P. for the company. My stepfather went back for another degree in college at 50 so he could start teaching in a field that had been an interest/hobby of his. One of my grandfathers retired in his 40’s as a real estate broker, embarked on a 20yr career in seniors pro tennis and then went into real estate consulting when his knees were shot.

upholstry's avatar

Arnold Schwarzenneger went from actor to governor. I think he’s in his late forties or fifties.

StellarAirman's avatar

My dad worked in surgery for 30 years, then became a web designer and business owner, and now he has gone back to school to receive training in rescue, EMT, weapons training etc to become a federal park ranger at age 60.

Zen's avatar

@upholstry His birthday happens to be on July 30, 1947. He’s about 62.

Tangent_J's avatar

my wife, she decided after our all of our kids were older to start her own staging business, last year she did about $500K, and now has one of the largest businesses in her industry in the southeast.

lisaj89's avatar

Yes, when my dad was about 40 he was in restaurant management. One day, he was in the freezer and slipped and hurt his back. He was stuck in bed for several weeks and decided to begin studying real estate. A few months later he passed the test and received his real estate license. He worked for several years selling and eventually became a broker/manager. He was making excellent money (90,000+) until the recent turn in the housing market. Unfortunately, he was laid off by the company he was with but is now developing a real estate academy for another franchise of the same company. However, this job does not pay until the school is established.
But YES it is possible to start a new career at age 35 as long as you have the time and sometimes, money.

omfgTALIjustIMDu's avatar

My mom stopped practicing law when she became pregnant with my brother at age 30, went back to school and got a teaching degree. She taught for a few years, then decided to go into local politics (though still does some religious school teaching on the side). Now she’s deciding to drop politics and go back to school to learn something else, the focus of which I don’t think she’s decided on yet.

Zen's avatar

@omfgTALIjustIMDu That’s some Mom!

janbb's avatar

I was trained as a librarian before I had kids, then worked as a wordprocessor/adminstrator in my family’s insurance business for 13 years, then went back to librarianship after 15 years out of the profession. During that time, online catalogues and the Internet had emerged so I had a lot of quick catching up to do. I also taught writing part-time at a community college and wrote arts and book reviews during the insurance years. So I’ve several careers before and after 35.

Lightlyseared's avatar


Financial person -> nusre.

Not entirely sure how that happened…

Darwin's avatar

My dad started as a research chemical engineer, moved into administration and ended up a VP of a major corporation. He retired and wanted to go into industrial hygiene but the University insisted on hiring him to teach about OSHA regulations in the business school. He also became a consultant for the EPA, and was asked to take a cabinet-level position in Bush World but he very quickly and firmly said “No!” He went on to found a professional organization in statistical risk analysis and developed a bit of a career as a statistician. He retired from all that and now is getting papers published in his newest interest, cosmology.

I started as a regulatory inspector for the state, went back to school and became a museum curator, and then retired early and became a bookseller.

My mother was a chemical engineer, stopped to raise children, and then embarked on a career as a painter.

My great aunt got a Bachelor’s degree in literature, taught for a while, then stopped to raise kids. When her husband retired, she went to law school, finished at the age of 69 and then practiced law for 10 years.

YARNLADY's avatar

My Dad went from a blue collar worker in a steel fabrication plant to a design draftsman. He was very successful at both and won national acclaim for his design of a famous airport baggage transport system.

Nathanael's avatar

Do you call McDonalds succesfull?

casheroo's avatar

I’m pretty sure my mother started the job she is at now, after age 35. Before that, she worked in banks, or cleaning houses to help pay the bills. She went to school, and got an entry level job at The Vanguard Group, now she’s a much higher level, making a lot more money. She is extremely successful, and her company is paying for her to get a bachelors degree, and eventually she’ll get her masters. She’s 47, and very happy with her choice to get a degree in something she loves.

basp's avatar

I changed careers at that age. I had been in the resturant business with husband and he became critically ill. I sold the businesses and went to college as an adult and got my degrees. Then, I began working for local government, securing, allocating, and monitoring funding for senior services.

Going to school as an adult was hard because I was raising two children and taking care of husband. But, I really think I got more out of college going as an adult than I would have going as a younger person.

At times it seemed as though I’d never get ahead, that I was always behind. But, in the long run, it all turned out for the best.

Zen's avatar

@basp I feel a lot of lurve for you.

Not because of what you wrote, but because of how you wrote your story. All the best!

Zen, out.

basp's avatar

Thanks for the lurve.

VS's avatar

Me. I spent 28 years as a vocational rehabilitation counselor helping handicapped people get back into the work force. I just got tired of it, and spent a year as a saleclerk in a little gift shoppe at a small town zoo. When I came out of that self-imposed reassessment of my life, I decided I wanted to work in the field of law and justice. I spent five months finding my perfect job, and it has worked out perfectly for me. I was 52 when I interviewed and was hired for the job I now have. I did not feel any discrimination because of my age (I also do not look my age). I believe a great deal of what comes to us comes about as a result of how we present ourselves. I also wrote a nice letter following the interview saying thanks for taking the time to interview me, I think I would love the job, and let me know if there is anything else I need to do. I think that letter helped cinch it for me.
Don’t worry too much about what has happened with others though – if you want something else, just go for it.

Jeruba's avatar

A friend of mine left a lucrative career in technical writing and went back to school for a master’s in psychology. She completed her practice hours and passed her exams at 41 and started a new career. She’s doing fine.

Another decided after decades in research medicine to go into psychiatry. I think he was about 55 when he made the switch.

My uncle retired from a long career in medicine and now deals in out-of-print books.

Darwin's avatar

I had forgotten my ex-boss’s wife. She had a career as a museum curator, with the graduate degrees that entails. She retired due to health problems. Once the docs got rid of her brain tumor she went back to university in her 40s and got degrees in psychology. She now has a good career as a school psychologist, recently being promoted to work at the second-largest high school in town. She is very good at her job and enjoys it very much.

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