The pandemic and the rise of remote job options encouraged a lot of workers not only to take a hard look at their current employers, but also to reconsider their career paths in favor of better opportunities.

You might be one of those people—maybe you’re looking for a new challenge, want to make more money, or are seeking a better work-life balance. Whatever your reason, making the jump into an entirely different career can be scary—so much so, that it can be paralyzing.

And it makes a lot of sense!

If you’ve established your career already and have years and years of experience under your belt, the idea of starting from scratch just…doesn’t sound appealing, at least on the surface. You may feel like you’ve built up enough seniority that it’ll be uncomfortable to move elsewhere (at least laterally), or like it’s a waste of time and money to go back to school just to look for jobs you’re not totally sure you’ll be able to get.

But you’re reading this article for a reason. It’s never too late to change careers, and we at Frayed Passport are enthusiastic advocates of forging whatever career path inspires you, keeps you happy and productive, and that gives you the freedom to live the lifestyle that you want.

Let’s look at why you should at least dip a toe into researching a new career path.

You Owe It To Yourself

You have one life to live. Changing your career from something that doesn’t do it for you, that you tolerate, or that you even actively hate, is something you owe to yourself.

We’re not saying to ditch your responsibilities and pursue a dream without a plan. You may be stuck because it’s literally the only job you could find. Or you may have obligations and expenses that are so overwhelming, the thought of changing a career is laughable.

We are saying that if you have any resources or time available to begin at least jotting down your goals and desires, looking for ways to inch toward a career change, to network and learn about opportunities available to someone in your position, and so on—it can make a huge difference. Little actions can add up to much bigger accomplishments.

Starting small can do wonders for your mental health and help you build the skills and knowledge you need to forge a new career path. A few ideas:

  • Go to your local library! At least look up their resources online—they’re a goldmine for professional development, and you can get so many resources beyond books, absolutely for free. Start here to find your local library (well, in the US) and to find tons of helpful information, events, and resources from other libraries, like the Library of Congress.
  • Listen to podcasts by experts in the field you’d like to break into—not only for career advice but also for interesting insights and information about the topic.
  • Check out free online courses, videos, and other types of training in your preferred field—this is a great way to get a better understanding of what knowledge, skills, and abilities you’ll need in that career without paying for a degree or certifications up front.
  • Look into different types of certification both within and adjacent to your career path—for example, Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is applicable to so many different types of jobs and careers, and is a highly-sought-after accomplishment that can put you ahead of other job-seekers.

You Can Keep Your Body and Your Brain Active

As we get older—and further away from full-time education—we kind of forget to actively learn new things. It’s not just cognitive decline that comes with age; when we transition from student to professional and don’t have to, for example, read and think critically as regularly, or delve into certain subjects in-depth, it gets harder to learn and study and easier to focus only on what’s in front of us.

You’ve got to exercise your brain and treat yourself with the respect you deserve, and that means forging healthy habits like eating well and staying active, as well as relearning how to…well, learn.

Planning your exit from one career and your entrance into another is the perfect opportunity to do this! You don’t need to just seek out courses if you want to get better at learning new things—in fact, the act of traveling is a fantastic way to build and grow as a person. And speaking of little things that can make a big difference, just changing the time that you wake up in the morning can take you farther than you think.

You can also find ways to learn, grow, and be healthy at your new job. Say you want to spend more time outdoors, getting active and actually getting paid to do it…but you have a desk job currently. There are tons of opportunities to check out that will help you with your goals, like careers in construction, becoming a park ranger, and even travel blogging your way around the world.

Related: Best Semi-Retirement Jobs for Nature Lovers

There Are So Many Options Available

Not all of us know exactly what we want our careers to look like early in life, and yet we get so much pressure to pick a path as soon as possible—even as early as middle school, and yet our brains aren’t even fully formed until about the age of 25.

So if you got into a career track quite young, it’s not embarrassing or strange in the slightest to think, “Hey, this isn’t working out the way I hoped it would, and I’d like to do something else.” Is it any wonder that as the years go by, and we learn more about ourselves and the world around us, that we may decide a change in careers isn’t just an idea—but a necessity?

Fortunately there are tons of options for people who’d like to switch careers at any age, especially with the rise of remote and hybrid work opportunities—you don’t have to physically be in the same location as your employer to work with them. And that’s not to mention entirely new job types popping up all the time with the advent of new technologies, like generative AI.

If you’re interested in researching new and exciting career paths, we’ve got a whole section of Frayed Passport dedicated exactly to that. Here are a few guides to get you started:

Featured image by Mark Potterton on Unsplash

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