Is 30 too old to start a career?

Is 30 too old to start a career?

Do you find yourself wondering about this while sipping your first cup of coffee before leaving for work?

Guest what? You’re not alone.

Planning a career change at 30 is possible! However, we must first identify our main objectives and the reasons why we want to change careers. A careful and well-thought-out plan can help us succeed as we pursue a new path in life.

But before we dive deep into this topic, let’s talk about the “WHY?”

Thinking about a career change in your 30’s is deeply rooted in a lot of factors you experienced throughout your work life. Most of the time, it has something to do with how you feel about your job right now. Things like:

Why do people think of a career change at 30?

My colleagues are leaving one by one. Should I do, too?

My job is making me miserable.

This job is going nowhere.

I get sick all the time.

I haven’t been sleeping much.

Everyday has been a struggle to get out of bed to work.

Or worse, you’re experiencing early signs of mid life crisis.

If you’re experiencing any of these, now is the best time to pause and reflect on the career path you choose.

Is 30 too old to start a career? 

No. As the saying goes, “age is just a number,” it is never too late to change careers. Whether you are chasing your passion or looking for more lucrative jobs, you are better able to make good choices at 30. Having said that, you must keep in mind that changing careers may require a significant amount of effort. Modern competition can be tough, but if you focus your energy on your career goal to achieve financial stability and job satisfaction, the career change your hoping for would be an excellent opportunity to enjoy the rest of your adult life without any regrets.

A little side story. Remember Steve from Blue’s Clues?

Steve Burns is the original host (1996-2002) of Blue’s Clues, a well-loved preschool television program. Fans of the show were devastated when he left, saying “the show is never gonna be the same again.” Awful conspiracy theories start to circulate on the internet about Steve leaving the show. Things like, he was a drug addict, or he was killed in a car crash.

In reality, Steve stated in an interview that:

I was getting older; I was losing my hair; a lot of the original gangsters on the show, like the people who created it, were all moving on to other careers.

Steve Burns

In a short documentary narrated by Jim Forbes, Behind the clues: 10 years of Blue, Steve added:

 I knew I wasn’t going to be doing children’s television all my life, mostly because I refused to lose my hair on a kid’s TV show, and it was happening, fast.

Steve Burns

He was 29.

After Blues Clues, Steve continued making music and even helped pick the new host Joshua Dela Cruz. Moreover, he has written and directed some of the episodes of the new show.

His music and acting career continued. One of his hits became the theme song (Might Little Man) of the CBS series Young Sheldon.

Before Steve hit the big 30, he knew that a career change is due. He just dived right at it. As a result, the career change has given him the freedom to pursue projects like directing, producing, making music, all that good stuff.

Imagine Steve still hosting Blues Clues today. I can’t imagine how miserable it must have been for him.

How Often Does the Average Person Switch Careers?

According to Career Advice Online, statistics show that an average person can change careers from 5 to 7 times. 

This is the result of the increasing number of career choices available, considering that online jobs are in demand these days. 

Worst case scenario would be losing the job you love because of the pandemic. One of the noblest professions that were hit by Covid in 2021 is teachers. In fact, this article from Forbes said over 1 million teachers and staff lost their jobs in April 2020. Therefore, even if you don’t want to change careers in your 30’s, you are forced to because of this unforeseen circumstance.

What are the most common reasons for a career change at 30?

Before you raise your white flag and call it quits, you must address the root cause as to why you realized that a career change at 30 is due. 

Some of the most common reasons for a career change at 30 are the following:

  1. No career growth opportunity.
  2. Overworked yet underpaid.
  3. Physical/mental stress and exhaustion
  4. Abusive work environment
  5. Lack of purpose and fulfillment
  6. Missing out on important personal milestones in life 

To guide you in making the right decision, here are some questions to help you evaluate your career progression or job satisfaction.  

  1. Have you made all the right career choices, but your current career feels so wrong?
  2. Is money no longer compensating for the emptiness and boredom you experience in your current career?
  3. Do you feel consistently worn out, depleted, and exhausted working in your current career?
  4. Do you feel your abilities and talents could be used in a more impactful way in another career?
  5. Is your current work situation not what you want to do for the rest of your life?

Pro tip: Write your answers on a piece of paper, notebook, or journal. Do this before bed or upon waking up. This will allow you to prevent sudden outbursts which will lead to wrong career decisions. Take your time.

Pros and cons of a career change at 30 

Not that we’re able to identify why we think of a career change at 30, let’s look at the pros and cons.

Pros of a career change at 30 

  1. You will make more money. If one of the main reasons why you want a career change at 30 is due to financial difficulties, a new career may address that issue. You can even turn a new job into a profitable business. 
  2. Career progression. If you’ve been working for the same company with the same position for over 5 years, a career change can give you an opportunity to learn new skills and prepare for growth. 
  3. A change of scenery. In need of a fresh start? Then a career change can give you that.  
  4. A career change can help address health issues. Do you suffer from occupational illnesses? A career change will improve your lifestyle and well-being.

Cons of a career change at 30  

  1. The fear of not getting a new job right away. Not having the sound of the alarm dictate what time you should get up in the morning is so satisfying. But if it’s been months and you haven’t heard back from prospect employers, that’s definitely not a good sign.
  2. The fear of starting from scratch. Do you feel the need to pursue graduate studies but hesitating because you’re in your 30’s?
  3. The fear of competing with younger and modern job competition. Do you feel that age has made you irrelevant or incompetent? When was the last time you updated your resume? What’s a Zoom interview?
  4. The fear of making the wrong decision. What if your new job sucks? What if you lose more than you gain?

What to do if a career change at 30 is not an option? 

Assuming you’re saying yes to a career change, but you’re not ready, how do you keep your job without losing your sanity? Here are simple and practical tips to help you manage your stress at work, most of all, stay happy.

  1. Aim for a promotion. Talk to your boss. Explain your interest in how to get promoted. Ask for his/her advice on how to get it. DO NOT tell you’re boss you want to quit.
  2. Side hustle. Do you have a few extra hours per week to do some side hustles? There is quite a number of legit online jobs you can do at home to help you earn some extra cash on the side.
  3. Start a healthy morning routine. Sometimes, we don’t really need a career change, but a positive mindset. Start your day right.
  4. Do not bring your work home. At times, this is completely unavoidable. But if you can, do not bring your work home. Recharge and enjoy your evening with some me-time or bonding with friends and family.
  5. Avoid working overtime. A few extra hours per week is fine. But working overtime every day is unacceptable.
  6. Spend more time with friends outside work. When was the last time you’ve spoken to your high school or college best friend?
  7. Find a new hobby. It doesn’t have to be expensive. How about inviting your friends over and have a tea party? Learn to play the guitar or a new language. Do whatever makes you feel happy without thinking about work or money.
  8. Find love. When was the last time you’ve been in a relationship? As the song goes, “Love will keep us alive.”
  9. Do not make your job as an excuse not to attend family occasions. If you don’t really like these people, then don’t go. But if your job is stopping you to spend precious family time, you need to stop making excuses and see them ASAP.
  10. Choose to be happy. We always get what we deserve. If you want to be happy, be happy.

Related topic: How to deal with a job you hate but can’t quit.

What are the steps you need to take in order to have a successful career change at 30?

Okay, this is it. I know you’re excited to hand over your resignation letter. But before that, you need support to help you get through with this transition. How do you do it? Here are some tips to help you get started.

  1. Call a friend or family member about your decision. The last thing you need is someone who will lead you to make wrong career decisions. Talk to someone your comfortable with for this type of conversation. Someone you can trust. It can either be a friend outside work or a close family member.
  2. Do your research. What job do you want to pursue next? Does your new job require training or certification? Can you start without prior experience? How soon are you gonna get paid?
  3. Save at least 6 months’ worth of living expenses. Your bills will keep coming no matter what. Make sure your pockets are not empty before quitting.
  4. Enroll in online courses that will help you get the job, for FREE
  5. Do not tell your boss or anyone (as in ANYONE) in your office that you’re thinking about a career change. Rumors can spread faster than the speed of light. It won’t make you look good, too Aim for a graceful exit.
  6. Do not burn bridges with your boss and colleagues. You may need character references for your new job. This isn’t the time to hold a grudge against your boss and colleagues. Your decision to change careers at 30 is an end of an era. Make it worthwhile.
  7. Settle your debt before leaving your job. Are you drowning in credit card debt? Is your mortgage draining your bank account as fast as you sip your milk tea? Debt defeats the purpose of starting a new career for a more happy and balanced life.
  8. Write a sincere and appreciative resignation letter. Express how grateful you are for the years you’ve spent with the company and the opportunities which made you the person you are today. A simple token of appreciation would be nice, too.
  9. Update your resume. Lucky for you, we now have graphic design platforms like Canva that can transform boring resumes into something artsy. Get creative.
  10. Do not lose faith in yourself. Braise yourself for what lies ahead. Do not be afraid. Trust in your process. Remember, you are on your way to FINALLY landing your dream job. Take it. Own it.

What are the best online jobs for a career change at 30?

One of the difficulties of changing careers is determining which job is best for us. However, once we’ve identified our goals and objectives, we’ll be able to make a more informed and wise decision. So, while we plan and research thoroughly, here are 10 in-demand jobs in 2021 that we can consider for a career change:

1. Social Media Manager

A social media manager maintains all of a business’s social media platforms. Social media has been a popular medium for personal/business branding, product promotion, or entertainment. 

Tasks include, but not limited to:

  • Knowledge in graphic design software like Canva and Adobe Photoshop
  • create a content calendar (annual, quarterly, monthly)
  • in charge of content marketing strategies to increase user engagement and followers
  • Knowledge of scheduling apps like Hootsuite, Later, and Planoly
  • Hashtag research for Instagram and Twitter
  • Respond to DM’s, comments, and other business inquiries

Sometimes, Social Media Managers can handle all social media accounts. There are some who specializes in one platform like:

  • Facebook group moderators
  • Pinterest manager
  • Instagram manager
  • Facebook ads expert

2. Online Real Estate Agent

An Online Real Estate Agent or Virtual Real Estate Broker has the capacity to perform the same duties and services of a regular real estate broker that you can do at the comfort of your home. This job requires a certification though. But if you have one already, this can be an easy transition from your previous job. If not, here are some of the best online real estate schools where you can enroll today.

3. Bookkeeper/Accountant

An accountant or bookkeeper manages and supervises a company’s finances. Many businesses these days outsource accounting jobs, especially for payroll and tax filing purposes. You can familiarize yourself with accounting software like Quickbooks to help you get started.

4. Digital Marketing Manager

Nowadays, digital marketing managers play a significant role in the majority of businesses. They manage and run ad campaigns to attract a specific audience in order to sell products. This can be an excellent job to consider for someone who wants a career change at 30.

5. Human Resources Manager

A human resources manager is usually responsible for building a strong workforce within a company. An HR Manager can work with a recruiter to find the best talents for a company.

6. Online course creator

If you have a hobby that you want to make money from, create a course instead. For example, if you like preserving flowers in resin, create a course about it. Online courses are very lucrative these days. If yours can help other people make money from home, it will definitely be a hit. You can create your course on platforms like:

7. ESL Teacher

Companies continue to hire more teachers in any specialization as the world shifts from school to virtual classrooms. This career is best for those who enjoy teaching others, adults and kids alike.

8. Copywriter

Writers can make complex topics simple and easy to understand for people to read. To be a successful writer, one must possess strong research and writing skills. Some of the writing gigs you can do are:

  • ghostwriting
  • blogging
  • content writing for social media
  • email marketing expert
  • sales funnel expert
  • direct response copywriter
  • Amazon product description writer
  • Web page writer

9. Virtual Assistant 

Virtual Assistants support the day-to-day operations of online businesses. They typically have strong organizational, administrative, and multitasking skills. Think about administrative assistants or secretaries who work in the corporate office. Some Virtual Assistants specialize in certain fields like:

  • Amazon VA
  • Project Manager
  • Cold calling

10. WordPress Developer

A WordPress Developer usually builds and maintains websites whether it’s for personal or business purposes. This job can be challenging but it’s a highly lucrative one. WordPress Developers with knowledge in CSS is a plus.

11. SEO Specialist

With thousands of content published daily, making it to the first page of any Google search can be difficult. This is a great career opportunity for SEO specialists. SEO specialists help any business create quality content to target a specific group of people. Offer this service to independent bloggers, small business owners, and freelancers.

12. Facebook ads expert

Running Facebook ads can be a waste of time, energy, and money if not done right. if you’re good at this, being a Facebook ads expert can help you make at least $5k a month.

13. App developer

Do you have knowledge and skills in app development? You can be the next big thing when it comes to mobile games.

14. Photographer

A lot of companies have decided to work on gaining more exposure online since the pandemic started. Aside from copywriting, businesses need photographers for product shoots and marketing promotions. Invest in a good camera and lens and start shooting at the comfort of your home. For product shoots, you can request your client to send the products over to your home, and deliver the digital assets via email or Dropbox.

Career change at 30. Is 30 too old to start a career?


There you have it, I hope this answers your question, “Is 30 too old to start a career?”

Remember, age is just a number. There is nothing wrong with taking a few big steps to turn your dreams into reality.

If your current job will stop you from doing so, then it’s time to move on.

If you’re saying yes for a career change but you’re not ready, that day will come. Prepare for it.

Take care and good luck.

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