Making a Career Change at 30

If the career path that you chose in your early 20s isn’t as satisfying or fulfilling as you thought it would be, it may be time to make a change. Some people who chose a career based on earning potential alone may later find that logging long hours and sacrificing quality of life isn’t worth the six-figure salary. In other instances, people may feel that the line of work they thought would make them happy is less fulfilling than they’d hoped.

A smiling person works at a laptop.If you’ve reached a point where you feel your current job no longer aligns with your personal or professional goals, you may be wondering if the proverbial grass would be greener on an alternative career path. Below are a few of the signs that it’s time to make a switch, along with a list of steps you can take to help you succeed.

Signs It’s Time to Switch Careers

If you don’t like your work, you feel run-down and burned-out, or your professional life is negatively impacting your personal life, it may be time to switch careers. Other signs it’s time to make a change include:

  • You dread going to work. If you don’t like what you do and don’t feel as if your talents are being utilized, the mere idea of going to work can make you cringe. If this happens more days than not, it may be time to pursue different career options.
  • You’re completely disengaged or checked out. People who aren’t motivated often find starting and completing tasks and projects difficult. If you’re no longer invested in your company’s success, you won’t be able to give your job your all.
  • You feel emotionally and physically drained. Do you work in a high-stress industry or tense environment? Workers who consistently feel mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted are prone to burnout. If your productivity is dropping and you’ve become disengaged, your current field may not be your best fit.
  • You start counting down to the end of the workday as soon as you clock in. Professionals who are engaged in what they do often find their workdays pass quickly. On the other hand, if you’re dissatisfied with your work, every day can feel like a lifetime.
  • You feel like you’re not being paid appropriately for the amount of work you do. Many jobs require occasional overtime. However, if you’re consistently putting in extra hours and you feel your workload is never-ending, it may be time to seek other opportunities.
  • You feel like you don’t have enough time for other priorities, such as family and friends. The number of lifetime hours that people log at work is staggering. Finding a career that provides you with adequate work-life balance will allow you to have time for your friends, family, and hobbies.

Benefits of Switching Careers

Working in a field you’re passionate about can help you be more productive, improve your mental health, and lead to more advancement opportunities. Switching to a career you love can offer these benefits, too:

  • You’ll have an opportunity to learn new skills. People who change careers often need to broaden their knowledge and learn new things. Moving out of your comfort zone can prompt you to develop new routines, meet new people, and develop new skills.
  • You’ll learn how to adapt to new situations and environments. Every work environment is unique. Changing fields can help teach you how to adapt to new personalities, work dynamics, and organizational policies.
  • You can pursue work that interests you and fits your work-life balance needs. Working long hours, weekends, and/or holidays may have been fine before you started a family or had other commitments. Finding a job that gives you work-life balance can make you happier and feel more fulfilled, both at work and at home.
  • You may be able to increase your earning potential. Raises and promotions are often based on productivity. When you love what you do, you’ll be more driven to succeed, which can lead to advancement opportunities and greater earning potential.

Tips for Switching Careers

The idea of changing careers at 30 can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. The first step toward finding a job you’re passionate about is to develop an attack plan. Below are a few action items to add to your list.

  • Take a personality inventory to discover your interests. Personality tests are a great way to identify your strengths, weaknesses, and what drives you. If you’re interested in taking a personality inventory, numerous options are available online, such as CliftonStrengths, the DISC personality test, and 16 Personality Types.
  • Upgrade your skills. If you’re looking to shift careers, you may need to upgrade your knowledge base. Going back to school at 30 to earn an online bachelor’s or master’s degree can provide you with the specific skills needed to make a career change.
  • Upgrade your personal brand. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos once said, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you are not in the room.” If you Google yourself, what do the search results tell you? What are you known for? If you want to shift careers, you may need to make a conscious effort to change your personal brand and reshape how others perceive you.
  • Expand your professional network. Having the right hard and soft skills is key, but so is knowing how to leverage your skills through professional connections. If you want to make a change, join industry organizations and LinkedIn groups, and network with local alumni from your school or university.

Learn New Skills and Pursue a Career That Inspires You

If you’re unhappy with your professional path, it’s never too late to make a change. Are you ready to take the first brave step toward a happier, more fulfilling career? Discover how Maryville University’s online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs can help you transform your desires into action.

Recommended Reading

How Long Is a Master’s Degree?

Minternship: Changing Paths Midcareer

What Does It Mean to Be a First-Generation College Student?


The Balance Careers, “The Importance of Achieving Work-Life Balance — And How to Do It”

The Balance Careers, “10 Steps to a Successful Career Change”

Flex Jobs, “Is It Time for a Career Change? Look for These Signs”

Forbes, “3 Signs It’s Time to Change Careers Plus Inspiration to Successfully Start”

LinkedIn, “Your Brand Is What People Say About You When You Are Not in the Room”

Thrive Global, “The Benefits of Changing Careers”

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