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Over 40? Quit Your Job - Get A Life: Here’s How!

By Craig Nathanson

Did I get your attention?

Good; that was the point. No one should have just a job after 40. Before 40, it is necessary to build your ego in the world. It is critical for self-development, self-esteem, and to get a sense of your place in the world. Naturally, it would be perfect to do the work you love before 40, but this is not always possible. Before 40, it makes sense to align your interests and abilities with the work you love. After 40, it is an absolute requirement for an authentic life
First - Quit your job

Of course you will need a plan. Answer these questions to determine if you have a job you should to quit.

Does your present job leave you breathless at the end of the day wanting more?

Do you think about your work all the time?

Do you have trouble telling the difference between work and play while you are at work?

Do you feel like your work uses all of your natural abilities and creativity?

Well, I am sure you know the answer by now. If you loved your work, you probably would not have picked up this article to read in the first place.
Where to start?

If you quit your job today, how long could you go without making any money? Over 40, we need more time than money. What other resources could you use now to lengthen the time you could live without a paycheck so that you could focus on finding your life's work — that work that is just right for you? Once you start working at what you love, how much do you need to make? Remember, there is a difference between "need" and "want".
Start with decision, and then take action

First, decide today that you will no longer settle for "just a job." You must have vocational passion!

What is the next step you must take, and then the next and the next? Answer the following question:

If I had to decide right now, the perfect work for me — the work I am most passionate about — would be ___ .
Time for new learning

Find out who else is doing what you most want to do. Make a plan to contact them, or research how they make a living and what is required. Also, decide for yourself what route you now want to take. Do you want to do this passionate work alone, in partnership with others, or with lots of people?
Find 6 people to support you

Find 3 people right now who share these same interests. Connect with them weekly.

Find 2 people who share your interests, and can also be a great referral source for new opportunities.

Find 1 person who can be your mentor. This should be a person who shares your interests, is a great referral source, and most importantly, can coach you and get you to new opportunities.

Sadly, we only had coaches when we were children, and even then only if we did sports. After 40 is when we really them the most!! You might be so lucky as to have your spouse be that coach — that would be so great (but so rare)! Chances are, loved ones will be neutral, or even threatened, when you come home one day and suddenly announce your plan to quit your job and get a life!
This is crazy

No, crazy is working for years and years like a robot to earn an income while you silently die inside. There are so many ways to earn an income. The challenge is making sure — especially after 40 — that you are doing the work you love.
No one else does this

Yes, and peer pressure and societal pressure is exactly the reason why most adults over 40 do not change their work. They just wait for retirement with the hope that perhaps then they will finally be able to do more interesting work.
Sadly, this is like playing the lotto — without a plan, you are giving your life up to chance.
Ask better questions

What will my life be like in five years if I do change?
Worse, but also a good question; what will my life be like in five years if I don't change?
Stop looking for outside approval

Look instead for inner support. Have a board meeting with the inner you. Discuss what steps you need to take now for change. Give yourself approval to take some action today.
The rest is history

Once you start to move towards more pleasure and passion in your work life, your past will turn into wisdom and reconciliation. You are special and unique, and you deserve an authentic life.

I can sense your heart beating faster, your thoughts racing: Good! That was the point of this article!

As always, I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines as you go.

Craig Nathanson- The Vocational Coach

Author’s Bio

Craig Nathanson is the author of P Is For Perfect: Your Perfect Vocational Day and a coaching expert who works with people over forty. Craig's new E-book, Discover and live your passion 365 days a year is a workshop in a box designed to help busy adults go insane with their work. Craig's systematic approach, the trademark “Ten P” process,'' helps people break free and move toward the work they love. Visit Craig's online community at where you can take a class, get more ideas through Craig Nathanson's books and CD's, get some private coaching over the phone or read other stories of mid-life change and renewal.

Craig lives in Fairfax, California. His office is located at 6 School Street, suite 220, Fairfax, Ca 94930. You can reach him at 415-457-0550 or at

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Scottishrose6 wrote Oct 9, 2008
    • What if, even after all of these years, you don’t know what you WANT to do? I’ve been in sales and marketing for over 18 years and I’ve hated it every step of the way. But I’ve  never had the opportunity to try anything else. How do I figure out what I would enjoy doing?


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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Nancy Frye-Swope wrote Nov 6, 2008
    • I’ll be 57 in two weeks and I’m in the last stages of starting a Virtual Assistant’s home-based business.  It took me a long time to figure out that I could do something about my unhappiness at work for a large corporation.  I’ve always enjoyed what I do, was good at it and enjoyed working with my clients.  I resented contributing to the corporation instead of to me - the satisfaction of doing a good job was there but it was lacking in the sense that the credit went to the corporation.  My goal is to quit this job in March of 2009 -that’s when my husband’s social security kicks in and he is going to collect it while continuing to work so that I can accomplish this change. I searched for help and found it through a Virtual Assistant Networking Forum started by Vanna Sutherland, found at [Link Removed]  That was the “kickstart” I needed.  That was my first ever forum, which led me to explore others and I found this one!

      Ladyella, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Scottishrose6 wrote Nov 6, 2008
    • it’s unfortunate this thread didn’t get more exposure. This is a really great question (how exactly to find what you’d be good at and enjoy after 40). We need more women to come on here and share how they found what they wanted to do and made it happen!

      What I don’t want to hear (and what the magazines publish) is how a woman just fell into an opportunity and now makes money hand over fist. What searching do you have to do to find what you’ll enjoy?


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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Nancy Frye-Swope wrote Nov 6, 2008
    • Dear Annie,

      I am fortunate in the respect that I love my work but hate my job.  In addition, my new venture will be done “virtually” so I can move my job to my home.  I understand exactly what you mean regarding articles about “falling into” jobs where you can make money hand over fist.  I guess I’m old enough to understand the adage that if it sounds too good to be true, you can bet it is.  It’s taken me a lot of time and hard work to find a job that I am looking forward to doing each day.  Quitting my job first was NOT an option for me & there’s often not enough hours in the day to get my new venture up and going as quickly as I’d like.  I had to get help from my son’s mother-in-law to get a website.  She took a class on web design and she’s 65 years old.  She’s now beginning to develop websites!  Maybe that’s the key if you aren’t sure -take a class you think will be interesting and you might find your niche.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Dec 1, 2008
    • This was a great article..... I have already quit my job, not because I didn’t like it but because I moved.
      I am going to print this out and use it as a starting point to me decide what I should be doing.

      Thank You!

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mz. Queen wrote Dec 26, 2008
    • I’m not sure where I fit in here, but I like what I read. I love my job and what I do, however I need an increase in my overall income. The pay scale is great for the education that I have and had when I got the job. I work in the Healthcare industry, in the outreach service aspect. I am bilingual and will soon increase my sign language skills. What I would like to do encompasses all these language skills. Where to begin is my question?

      [Link Removed]

      47ntiredorunnin, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Shamac5 wrote Mar 5, 2009
    • I had the same feeling - I have been figuring “it” out since January - and now I have to talk to actual people and get out of my mind - I like the way the steps are layed out.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lisa Brown wrote Apr 9, 2010
    • just turned 50 last month and I too have been wondering what I would like to do with myself.  My job right now is just to pay the bills.  I am not sure what I want to do. I have signed up for the emails so maybe that will give me more ideas.  Here’s to us!!!!  estaticestaticestaticI

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