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eldragon
05-21-2006, 10:12 PM
Have you ever known someone who had either an empty nest syndrome, or mid-life crisis, and started a completely new career in their forties or even later?


While in college, do you remember any older students, and if you do, can you remember anything about them in particular, like why they were studying later in life, etc.


What are common careers that adults take up after 40?


Thanks!

Pat~
05-21-2006, 10:46 PM
Well, I took up coaching ice skating and freelance writing in my forties...though I'm not sure I'd be able to recommend those for everybody! I do think, if you're financially able, that mid-life is a great time to experiment with self-employment, pursuing life-long interests or even brand-new interests. I loved teaching when I was a schoolteacher, but I love what I do now, too; different seasons of life often call for different seasons of work.

eldragon
05-21-2006, 10:49 PM
Thanks for answering, Pat. I'm sure coaching ice skating is specialized, though!


Let's say someone has been a housewife their entire adult life, and now, the kids are grown and gone, what might one study?

Teaching?
Nursing?


What are some common career choices?

alleycat
05-21-2006, 10:53 PM
Thanks for answering, Pat. I'm sure coaching ice skating is specialized, though!


Let's say someone has been a housewife their entire adult life, and now, the kids are grown and gone, what might one study?

Teaching?
Nursing?


What are some common career choices?
Real estate! Opening a boutique of some sort. Dental hygentist. Avon lady. Working in a grocery or convenience store.

Pat~
05-21-2006, 11:24 PM
One of my college chums who was experiencing empty-nest syndrome adopted 2 little girls from S. America. Motherhood (again) might be an option for some...or maybe foster-parenting?

(Not for me...I'm still working on family #1!)

writeorwrong
05-22-2006, 03:18 AM
Yes, I did the real estate thing too (investment r.e., not sales. But I know a lot of people who go into sales). Left a well paying job six years ago to become self employed. I don't regret it. Now I have a chance to see if I really have that novel in me waiting to be published-- no excuses.

But most people in their 40's I have found not to be huge risk takers with their security. They may have a job they hate, but it's better than dealing with the unknown, so sadly, they stay put. I didn't, I took the risk. Wasn't so much a midlife crisis as a realization that life is too short to spend most of it doing something I didn't like.

stormie
05-22-2006, 03:27 AM
Around here (since house prices have skyrocketed), many of the new real estate agents are at least 40, and had another career before. Guess they figure the hours aren't the usual Mon-Fri, 9-5, long commute or crowded road thing they had to deal with, the money can be good, even on just three sales a year, they don't have to worry about leaving their kids on the weekends (sales offices boom on the weekends) since their kids are grown or at least teenagers....

eldragon
05-22-2006, 03:58 AM
Thanks.


What about starting over from the beginning? I'm talking college and everything.


Here's a question: If an older person starts college, can they be in the marching band? Can they do extra-curricular activities? Can they be on the dance team or play basketball?


Isn't the idea of a fifty year old woman in the center of a college choir, a hoot?

punstress
05-22-2006, 04:05 AM
My friend is finishing her first part time semester of community college. She is in her mid-40s. Her major is something like video arts and technology but she's taking general ed courses right now, after her day job as an admin, which she hates.

What she really would like to do is act, which, of course, you don't need a degree to do. But she found out how easy student loans are to get and she thought, brilliant! Free money! I know, I know. I tried to warn her but she doesn't listen. In fact, she borrowed the maximum she could, although I'm sure she could afford to pay the part-time public-college tuition herself. Oh well. She's a bit of a dreamer.

It's been frustrating for her. Not because she has trouble keeping up. Quite the opposite, even though she was never big on school. She dropped out of high school at 15 and got a GED. But she has been just flabberghasted by the bad attitudes, absenteeism, shoddy scholarship and lack of commitment of her fellow students, almost all half her age or younger. They made doing a group project really difficult. And the teacher had to cut scads of content from her math class because they were getting so behind. It's sad.

She'll probably be around 50 when she graduates with an associates degree and a mountain of debt. So much for fortysomethings worrying about their security. But her husband has a solid career so I don't think she worries much.

punstress
05-22-2006, 04:15 AM
Thanks.


What about starting over from the beginning? I'm talking college and everything.


Here's a question: If an older person starts college, can they be in the marching band? Can they do extra-curricular activities? Can they be on the dance team or play basketball?


Isn't the idea of a fifty year old woman in the center of a college choir, a hoot?

There was this great guest on (I think?) Jay Leno once who got a starting position on the college football team. We're not talking Notre Dame, but still it was a real team. They knew he was a little older, but he looks younger than his age and eventually they were shocked to find out he was fortysomething. I'm totally hazy on the details but I think he had just retired from the military and was using his college benefits?

I've heard of a "mature" student joining a sorority!

The friend I just mentioned is not much of a joiner, but I do think it will be awkward for her to do things like work an internship -- required in her major -- in her upper 40s.

writeorwrong
05-22-2006, 04:20 AM
Thanks.


What about starting over from the beginning? I'm talking college and everything.


Here's a question: If an older person starts college, can they be in the marching band? Can they do extra-curricular activities? Can they be on the dance team or play basketball?


Isn't the idea of a fifty year old woman in the center of a college choir, a hoot?

There was a woman I went to college with, a mom in J-school whose dream it was to become something on the order of an Erma Bombeck type columnist. She did a column of that type for the university paper, and because it wasn't the best fit for the venue, she got snickered at behind her back. I believe she was in her late 30s or early 40s-- older than the typical 18-21 y.o. student.

Now, if an older student is in the college choir, I don't think it would matter much if she can sing. There's more comic potential if she played basketball or was on the dance team. But if she was actually on a college team instead of doing this for her own enjoyment, she would have to be fairly proficient at either, which takes away of the inherent humor of someone fumbling through these activities without a clue.

eldragon
05-22-2006, 04:46 AM
That's true. For instance, I am 42 and was quite good at basketball and very good in track, when I was in High School.

I would die of a heart attack just trying to play baskeball for one or two minutes now, with a team, that is.


Even people in very good shape have a very hard time keeping up with young people in basketball.


My 9 year old plays,and my husband, who is 41 and in super shape, used to play one on one with a 14 year old boy while my daughter practiced. A few times, I was actually wondering if I should call an ambulance for my husband, and the 14 year old wasn't even breaking a sweat.

eldragon
05-22-2006, 04:49 AM
I was reading something online about a man who spent his entire life as an attorney, and at age 59, decided he wanted to be an arcitect instead. He was discouraged, so he didn't pursue the 6 years of education that would have been required.


There is one thing I remember hearing years ago: Sure, you'll be 65 years old when you graduate 6 years from now, but how old will you be in 6 years if you don't graduate?

ATP
05-22-2006, 05:10 AM
The generic term for the later age student you're referring to is
mature-age student. Much of the impetus began way back with the University of the Third Age, as it was called then. I think that it has developed beyond this now, and is offered to mature age students and seniors by many educational institutions throughout developed countries.

I suggest that you first look at the US demographics, then check out demographics of US student groups.You might be pleasantly surprised at how many mature-age students there are!

I know, in Australia at least, that many of them study by correspondence, while maintaining their jobs. As a younger full-time student, I had heard that lecturers liked the mature-age students, for their dedication and overall attitude, as opposed to many of the full-time, younger students.

ATP

pdr
05-22-2006, 06:05 AM
Isn't the idea of a fifty year old woman in the center of a college choir, a hoot?

Shame on you el dragon. If she can sing why the hell not?

In NZ the biggest mid-life change is that everyone wants a small farm, buys one and either lives happily ever after or gives up in three years.

Mature students are motivated and work hard. Our National Drama School takes several each year and the Universities are full of 'em.
Many keep their old job but study things they like - languages, history, not job orientated at all. Many are out of work (it's really hard to find work if you're over 40 in NZ there just isn't anything!)

A lot of our Kiwis and the Aussies travel. There's a Home Care supplier in the UK who employs middle aged nurses and trains the unqualified people. Over half their employees are from NZ and Oz. PAys good and you get to enjoy Europe's summer during our winter.

Quite a few Kiwis I know, couples of course, work our NZ winter in the English summer in English Country houses, sometimes for the National Trust Historic Houses others as private employees of Lord XZY etc.

Those of us with the correct academic qualifications and no job at home teach English in China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan and Thailand.

FitWriter
05-22-2006, 06:13 AM
I have a friend who went back to school at 43 to study landscape architecture -- and lived off-campus but away from her husband (the school was 2 hours from her home) for two years. She went home for weekends, but it was extremely difficult for them. She almost gave up a number of times but somehow made it through with the proverbial flying colors.

She's now happily employed doing what she's always wanted to do.

While in school, she always wondered why the younger students referred to those in her age group as O.P.'s. Finally someone told her: it stood for "old people."

P.H.Delarran
05-22-2006, 06:18 AM
i had a friend (mid 30's at the time) quit her well-paying grocery job to go to school to become a masssage therapist. that soon led to her pursuing medical assisting, and now, about 15 years after this change, she is a tech at a kidney dialysis center.
me personally, i would enjoy having my own business. any schooling would be to that end. i recently took an Excel class and most of the students were older and many were changing careers.

Chacounne
05-22-2006, 06:23 AM
Pam,

I'm going through that very change as we talk. Since my husband's death, on June 12th, I have embarked on a new life. This will include going to college in the fall and getting my Bachelor's Degree and then, hopefully, my Master's of Divinity. The eventual idea is in the area of hospital chaplaincy, unless, of course, God has a different plan. It may take me until I'm fifty to reach my current goal, but the journey will be worth it.
Please feel free to post or PM me with any questions you might have.

Just one person's experience,
Chac

Sassenach
05-22-2006, 06:34 AM
.

What she really would like to do is act, which, of course, you don't need a degree to do. But she found out how easy student loans are to get and she thought, brilliant! Free money! I know, I know. I tried to warn her but she doesn't listen. In fact, she borrowed the maximum she could, although I'm sure she could afford to pay the part-time public-college tuition herself. Oh well. She's a bit of a dreamer.

It's been frustrating for her. Not because she has trouble keeping up. Quite the opposite, even though she was never big on school. She dropped out of high school at 15 and got a GED. But she has been just flabberghasted by the bad attitudes, absenteeism, shoddy scholarship and lack of commitment of her fellow students, almost all half her age or younger. They made doing a group project really difficult. And the teacher had to cut scads of content from her math class because they were getting so behind. It's sad.

She'll probably be around 50 when she graduates with an associates degree and a mountain of debt. So much for fortysomethings worrying about their security. But her husband has a solid career so I don't think she worries much.

What kind of community college degree requires a 'mountain of debt.' Most are very low cost.

eldragon
05-22-2006, 06:40 AM
You guys are awesome!


I love reading these stories!

eldragon
05-22-2006, 06:42 AM
What kind of community college degree requires a 'mountain of debt.' Most are very low cost.


The affordability factor is why so many students try to go the first two years at a community college. The college down the road from me costs less than $1K per semester, tuition and books.


Some loans, I think, also give you some living expenses, which would drive up your debt factor.

punstress
05-22-2006, 07:21 AM
What kind of community college degree requires a 'mountain of debt.' Most are very low cost.

As I said ...

In fact, she borrowed the maximum she could, although I'm sure she could afford to pay the part-time public-college tuition herself.

I'm not sure how much she borrowed exactly, but it was thousands more than she needed. If you do this every semester throughout a part-time degree, you will end up with a lot of debt.

ATP
05-22-2006, 10:02 AM
I will also add that I undertook my undergrad study in the arts in a smallish rural-based university. There were quite a number of students,myself included, who came from other states, and metropolitan areas.

One of the students who used to frequent the cafeteria where many of us congregated, was an woman I am sure in her late 40s to early 50s. She seemed what we termed a 'rurally' - from a farm, wore a cowboy hat (Australian style?), and jeans, and had her long hair in plaits. I think she was a full-time student. I never got to know her well, but I do remember her to this day, about 25 years later.

I think she found the experience of living among so many diverse lifestyles and city folk a bit perplexing, strange, but a totally new experience for her.

ATP

Alien Enigma
05-22-2006, 11:01 AM
There was a 40 year old guy playing college football. I saw him on Jay Leno awhile back.

Melisande
05-22-2006, 06:13 PM
My mother, who had been housewife until we were all teens, took up a career in antiques. She started working in an auction house. As she didn't want to remain one of the manual laborer, she took classes all the time and educated herself. She retired as an associate after 20 years in the business, very respected for both her knowledge and experience.

eldragon
05-22-2006, 06:46 PM
Interesting, thanks!

Variant Frequencies
05-22-2006, 07:57 PM
Let's say someone has been a housewife their entire adult life, and now, the kids are grown and gone, what might one study?

Teaching?
Nursing?


What are some common career choices?

Jumping in late...

I've met lots of middle-aged nursing students, some wanting a career change, some entering the workforce for the first time. Entry level can be an associates degree in most places, though many go further than this. Demand is high, so jobs are easy to find anywhere.

stormie
05-22-2006, 09:59 PM
I've met lots of middle-aged nursing students, some wanting a career change, some entering the workforce for the first time. Entry level can be an associates degree in most places, though many go further than this. Demand is high, so jobs are easy to find anywhere.

I forgot--(how could I??). My mother did just that. Before she had kids, she was a secretary. Then stayed home with us. When we were teenagers, she went back to school--community college--and became a liscened practical nurse. I remember she used to say half of the class were older people. She got a job right away, loved it, and worked many years at the local hospital.

Euphonious
05-23-2006, 06:42 AM
Hi,

2 schools that have thriving "alternatively aged" student programs are Smith College and Mt. Holyoke. I attended Smith as a traditional student. Our Ada Comstock Program was for students 24 years and older, I believe. There were many amazing, courageous women enrolled. Some moved all the way across the country to attend! Some had been enrolled before, and some attended community college before applying in order to attend. There were mothers, young women who took a while to "get it together" and grandmothers. There was an ambassadors wife, a women in her 80s (I believe), actors, authors, and other "accomplished" women who came back for their college degree.

Check out www.smith.edu

Lee_OC
05-23-2006, 06:58 AM
In grad school, I met a few students in their 40s-50s. Most of them were full-time students. A few were changing careers. One student started college in his late 40s and went on to grad school right after he got his college degree.

eldragon
07-05-2006, 07:11 PM
yes, being a chef is an ordeal, from little experience I have with that. (Knowing chefs, not being one.)


What is it about 42 that causes so many people to want to change careers?

Jenan Mac
07-05-2006, 07:50 PM
Here's a question: If an older person starts college, can they be in the marching band? Can they do extra-curricular activities? Can they be on the dance team or play basketball?
Isn't the idea of a fifty year old woman in the center of a college choir, a hoot?

Probably not to the fifty-year-old. It's not like your singing ability suddenly ceases at forty-nine.
I'd be a little surprised to see a fifty-year-old cheerleader or point guard, but I think my initial reaction would be "hey, you go, lady!"

Jenan Mac
07-05-2006, 07:55 PM
Let's say someone has been a housewife their entire adult life, and now, the kids are grown and gone, what might one study?

When I got my RN I was the second youngest in my clinical group; more than half were over forty. (One of the best psych nurses I ever worked with was in her seventies.) I know people who've switched careers to go into teaching, coaching, and mortuary science. IME, people changing careers as a mid-life thing tend to look for something with more direct social value, though I can't back that up with anything statistical.

britwrit
07-18-2006, 05:31 PM
It's weird. Here in the UK, the big thing for that midlife rut is to move to Spain. Better weather. Cheaper living. A more relaxed lifestyle. And if you've got the cash, southern France or northern Italy.

Laurie
07-18-2006, 08:33 PM
As a 44 year old who quit work almost 16 year ago to be home with the kids, yeah, I've considered the options quite extensively lately.

I looked into a Masters in biology, teaching or couseling.

MBA's and nursing degrees are quite popular. Some get associates degree in some kind of medical tech or theapy and then work towards finishing up nursing degree. I was just looking at the job postings and opportunities for nurses are always plentiful.

Laurie
07-18-2006, 08:39 PM
What is it about 42 that causes so many people to want to change careers?

-Well there are the women whose children are independent enough for them to reenter the work force

-The people who have achieved about all they can in their first career

-Sheer boredom with a job you've been doing for 20 years

-A re-direction, most minsters we interviewed recently were second career people

- A knowledge that life isn't going to last forever and if they are ever going to do that thing they always wanted to they better do it now (met writers like that)

-experience, maturity, knowledge and wisdom that would be better served in another career.

- A desire to live somewhere, or somehow different

rsclark
07-21-2006, 09:10 PM
Another reason people seem to change careers mid-life isn't because they want to, but because they have to. Their jobs are either phased out or out-sourced to cheap, right-out-of-college-and-hungry labor that is up on all the latest technology (hopefully). Therefore, the older workers feel they have no choice but to return to school for either an assoicate, bachelor, or masters degree. I know when I was in college in the early 90's, my classes were filled with older outplaced employees who were desperate for a change. They were also the ones who had the most grants. They were actually paid by the government to go to colllege. For them, this was an answered prayer since their unemployment ran out.

Another interesting thought to check out. I've always been told by college professors that college enrollment goes up when the job market gets bad. Can't guarantee this is gospel, but I'm sure someone out there will be willing to confirm or correct my statement.