A stunning second act! Meet the people who changed course in midlife – and loved it

second act

Sometimes, when contemplating a midlife transition to a green job, it’s good just to read about other people who have made big midlife changes, in any domain.

This article in The Guardian today does just that: A stunning second act! Meet the people who changed course in midlife – and loved it.

The popular book that most people are reading on this subject in the past couple of years is Late Bloomers: The Power of Patience in a World Obsessed with Early Achievement by Rich Karlgaard. This book does a good job of explaining in detail what you already know: that cult of youth, the fact that older people bring many benefits to jobs, and that lots of people are late bloomers who don’t fulfil their potential until later in life.

There are two chief drawbacks to Karlgaard’s book. First, many of the examples of supposed late bloomers are aged 35-45, which is a bit annoying if you’re 55. Second, it can feel as if some of the supposed late bloomer examples are people who switched from doing one already above-average career to another later in life, which doesn’t feel very comforting if you’re currently working in a mundane environment. Nevertheless, it’s a useful read if you want to explore that subject. The article above has examples of more “normal” people.

Alison Webster was once showing prospective students around the university where she was studying medicine when a sixth former said: “You’re so old – why are you even doing this?” Webster laughs at the memory, home after the end of a shift as an A&E doctor. “I said, ‘When you go home, ask your mum if she likes her life. I bet there’s something your mum’s always wanted to do that she’s not had the opportunity to do because of you. Ask what her dreams were, and see if she has fulfilled them.’”

Webster’s childhood dream was to be a doctor, but she didn’t do well in her A-levels, “so that got put to one side. But it was always in there.” She ran a music distribution company, but as she approached her 40s, the business was struggling and she had started to wonder what to do with the rest of her life. Was a career in medicine really out of reach? Read the full article at The Guardian.

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