How do I even begin to explore a career change at 40?
May 1, 2020 12:19 PM   Subscribe

I am contemplating a career change, but not the kind that requires going back to school or starting over completely. I think my professional skills could translate into a slightly different field than I currently work in, but I have no clue what or how to start thinking of this. Is there a person or service I should be looking for? How do I brainstorm other fields/positions that I should explore?

I know some recruiters, but they are specific to my field. Are there more general recruiters that could do a deep-dive into my resume and help me think of other roles or fields I should consider? Is it a career coach I need? Where do I start?

I work as a consultant in the energy (mostly oil & gas) sector. My background is science and my job is a mix of actual science (writing/managing environmental impact assessments, etc.) and a lot of legal and regulatory work (dealing with federal/state agencies and laws). I am a senior project manager, so I can manage teams and budgets. I also do a decent amount of business development/marketing within my field. I've working on projects all over the country and have been WFH for about 5 years. I've got over 15 years experience.

Thing is, I'm a little burnt out due to consistent long nights and weekends trying to meet project schedules, plus a lot of our best staff have moved on leaving me with only a few coworkers that I enjoy working with. I have been considering jumping to a different consultant doing the same job - my skillset is typically in high demand and I am recruited a lot. However, with the oil & gas market being, uh, insecure right now, I figure this might be the time to try something else.
posted by tryniti to Work & Money (8 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Most recruiters work for firms that serve multiple markets. Reach out to the ones you know and ask for an introduction to other colleagues.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 12:31 PM on May 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

Are you interested in renewable energy? I think, especially if you have an interest in moving to a lower-carbon field for environmental reasons, many people would be open to talking to you if you reached out on LinkedIn. I think I would start by reaching out to a couple of people with equivalent jobs, and then just start applying to open positions directly, though you could also work with a recruiter.
posted by pinochiette at 12:31 PM on May 1, 2020 [5 favorites]

What about something with the federal government, like in the Department of Energy?
posted by jabes at 12:35 PM on May 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

Do you have a PMP? The software industry is always looking for project managers. Although I’m not sure that would help with the long hours...
posted by kevinbelt at 1:28 PM on May 1, 2020

If you have experience writing EIAs and EISs and managing teams that do so, you can easily jump to another industry, they are all much the same from the environmental side. If you want a more reasonable deadline environment I'd try transportation, that works on a fixed and long schedule and there isn't a lot of last minute scrambling compared to oil and gas.
posted by fshgrl at 4:55 PM on May 1, 2020

I assume you've considered the regulatory agencies? Those jobs tend to have 40-hour weeks.
posted by slidell at 7:10 PM on May 1, 2020

I have found Jen Dary's (free) career planning guides to be really useful, as well as her yearly version she's just released a C-19 remix as well.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 12:51 AM on May 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

I’m a psychotherapist and career counselor. The issue you describe is one I help people with often. Seek out a good career counselor to help you figure this one out.
posted by MonsieurBon at 11:08 AM on May 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

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