Nursing is a hard career. Rewarding, but hard.
You’re in your forties and life can be up and down on an hourly basis. You have twenty-plus years of nursing under your belt. Could there be more to life than being a nurse? And, if your current position fits about as well as your size ten jeans, where do you go next?
Of course there is life after a career in nursing! And, you certainly do not have to give up the nurse-brain just because bedside care is no longer your favorite gig. But, it is important that you know two things – you are not alone and you are normal!
We are biologically hardwired to experience the most unhappy times of our life in our forties. This is also known as the U-bend phenomenon which can make the mid-life crisis real. You may be knee deep in child-rearing, elementary school and different disciplinary tactics, or you may watching teens drive off to college or a separate life.
Or, maybe you never had a family and that biological clock is ticking faster by the second. Mid-life is hard.
In your career, you may be wondering what you have contributed to your craft over the past twenty-plus years. Curious if anyone will remember. Or, even wondering if you made an impact at all. And, as you look towards the future, can you truly see yourself continuing to work 12-hour shifts with aching feet and a throbbing back for another twenty years?
What Could Be Next?
First, consider what it is that you are looking for in this next chapter of life. As my gramma used to say, “Don’t jump outta the fryin’ pan and into the skillet!” Sit down with a pen and paper and really think about these two questions:
- Who am I?
- What do I want?
I did not say this would be easy! These are hard questions! And, this is going to take some time and diligence on your part to find the next passion for your life. Below are some tips and tricks on figuring out what it is that you are looking for in this next chapter.
There are a myriad of tests out there that can assist you to determine your strengths. This can really help when figuring out where you want to spend the next twenty-plus years. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator – Identifies basic preferences for each of four categories and 16 personality traits. You will pay $50 for this test, or you can find some free imitator-tests online.
- Predictive Index – This test identifies personality characteristics that predict how we work in a day-to-day workplace environment. You will find out your strongest workplace behaviors, management and influence styles.
- Career Clusters – This is a great one to start with! It is short and free. Completing it will take only 5-10 minutes. You rate activities, personal qualities and school subjects to find a grouping or “cluster” of careers that match your interests.
Hire the Professionals:
It may be time to hire a coach or counselor. Don’t view this as a sign of weakness. In fact, reaching for help shows great strength. A coach can help you create a vision and goals. Before you know it, a new career direction will be clear and you can begin obtaining it.
Take it for a Test Drive:
Have you ever bought a car without taking it for a test drive? Of course not! And, you certainly should not leave your day job for a dream that quickly becomes a bad decision.
Start out small. If you think you want to open a bakery, take a few classes at the local community college on cake decorating. Or, work at a bakery on the weekends to get your feet wet and learn the ins and outs of the business. You may love it. You may hate it. Either way, you will get hands on experience without buyer’s remorse.
Just as all surgeons take a time out to ensure they have the right patient, site and planned procedure, take a time out to be sure. Never make a hasty life decision. Give yourself time to think and plan.
Best of luck to you on this new journey! Remember, you are not alone and completely normal! What is your dream job? What do you wish you could do tomorrow? I would love to know.