How to Pivot to a New Career for Gen X

Blog / How to Pivot to a New Career for Gen X

Changing Careers Mid-Life Doesn’t Have to Be as Difficult as Getting a Sofa Around a Corner!

“Pivot! Pivot! Pivot!!” As Ross in Friends discovered, pivoting isn’t always so easy. Changing careers can be difficult at any stage of your life. But for Gen Xers who are over 50, it can be especially difficult. Many Gen Xers have reached a time of “Career Insecurity.” For some this may be a mid-life crisis (no judging here). For others it could be that you just aren’t able to advance enough in your current chosen field or that your current field isn’t bringing you the personal fulfillment you had hoped for. And for some, it may just be that you aren’t able to make enough money to live comfortably. 

Whatever your reasons are for wanting to pivot to a new career, we have some tips to help you do just that without completely stressing out over such huge change.

Able to Take What Life Throws At You

You are the generation of latchkey kids, often raised by a single parent. You were self-sufficient at a young age and able to take whatever life threw your way. So remember how resilient you are! (We just wanted to remind you of that in case you needed a confidence booster.)

Obstacle: The Forgotten Middle Child

Gen Xers face a few obstacles to changing careers that some of the other generations may not be facing. The first is that Gen X is the forgotten middle child. Gen X is often underrepresented in discussions and overlooked for promotions–which has probably led to that dead end career you are wanting to escape. 

Tip: To avoid being overlooked for a job in a new career path, you’ll need to stand out on paper and in person. This means tailoring your resume and asking unique questions during an interview, which can help you break free from that status of career wallflower. 

Obstacle: Juggling Act

Gen X is the current sandwich generation–the generation that is taking care of kids and elderly parents. You are having to juggle a lot of external pressures and you may be feeling you don’t have the financial or personal resources to do it all–which is one of the reasons many Gen Xers are pivoting to a new career. (One of the characteristics of Gen X is your constant quest for work-life balance and all the other generations are thankful for you spearheading this effort!)

Tip: Ask for help from family and friends to help take over some of the responsibilities of caretaking while you focus on pivoting your career. Taking off some of the pressure of doing it all can really help you land the job you want and need. 

Positive: Both Sides Now

While you have a few obstacles to overcome when pivoting your career, you have a lot of great characteristics you can showcase. The first is that you can see both sides of technology, because you’ve been on both sides of it. You are able to understand and use it and even learn new tech quickly. But you can also see it from the Boomer perspective. 

Tip: You are the bridge between tech savvy Millennials and luddite Boomers. Showcase your comfort level with using technology and your ability to show others the ropes.

Positive: Can-Do Attitude

Another positive, which we touched on earlier, is your ability to be self-reliant. As a kid, you’d come home from school and let yourself in, get a snack and start on homework. This built a foundation of being able to figure things out on your own and you are known for a can-do attitude that brings positivity to the workplace. 

Tip: Highlight that you are up for a challenge! Speak toward projects you’ve spearheaded and challenges that you’ve figured out how to overcome. 

Positive: Flex It

Growing up, you saw how the financial crisis of the 80s affected your parents, but you also saw them find new opportunities to support the family. You soaked this up and became comfortable with flexibility. 

Tip: Look back on your career and find an example to share with a hiring manager that shows how comfortable you are with flexibility (after all, you are comfortable enough to be pivoting careers now)!