You’re not too old to change careers, say those who’ve been there

Mactaggart said Hicken knew the local area and a lot of people, and an older cadet might be more worldly.

Hiken “is not afraid of getting stuck on tasks and [is] happy to talk to anyone,” he said.

Jaci Hicken at the Latrobe Valley Express newsroom in Morwell.Credit:Simon Schluter

RMIT University behavioral economist Dr. Meg Elkins says now is a good time to change careers because unemployment rates are so low. “This means there are greater opportunities in a strong economy for mobility than before COVID.”

However, according to the latest available data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in the 12 months to February 2021, 975,000 or 7.5% of employed people changed jobs, the lowest annual rate of job mobility on record. .

Among the 1.8 million people who left or lost a job, the most common reasons people gave were layoffs and “getting a better job or just wanted a change” (both 21.7 percent).

Nick Witkamp, ​​who worked in construction for more than 30 years, is now training to be a police officer.

Nick Witkamp, ​​who worked in construction for more than 30 years, is now training to be a police officer.Credit:victoria police

Elkins, an actor-turned-academician, said that as people age, they reflect on their purpose and goals in life and become less concerned with pleasing others.

She said that COVID-19 had been the catalyst for many people to change careers. They audited what your skills, character, strengths, and values ​​were and looked for jobs that matched.

Nick Witkamp, ​​56, spent more than 30 years working in construction but will graduate as a Victoria Police officer in November. He said that his old career no longer fulfilled him and that his children had encouraged him to pursue happiness.

Leena van Raay, a former medical research assistant, who founded Bike n' Blend, a startup business that mixes smoothies with stationary bikes.

Leena van Raay, a former medical research assistant, who founded Bike n’ Blend, a startup business that mixes smoothies with stationary bikes.Credit:vinnie lum

He joined Victoria Police as a Custodial Police Officer in 2019 and, after working for three years in East Melbourne Police Stations, is now becoming a Police Officer.

“With all of my life experience, I would love to be able to mentor young people in our community and change their perspective,” Witkamp said.

“When I joined as a PCO I couldn’t believe how welcoming and understanding everyone was, age was not a factor,” she said.

“My colleagues were the ones who encouraged me and gave me the confidence to believe that I could be a police officer.”

For most of her 20s, Leena van Raay, 41, from Northcote, was a medical research assistant at the University of Melbourne. But she wanted to get out of the lab and work in the community, and do something creative.

And so, 11 years ago, he started a business, Bike n’ Blend, showing up at festivals and events using stand-up bikes to power blenders to make smoothies.

The business now operates in three states, at more than 400 events a year. Van Raay is having “the itch” to change again, perhaps to become a counselor or pursue an MBA.

“I’m glad I followed my passion, I followed my dream, but I was also very smart to make it work,” he said.

“I feel now that it has stung me again, I feel that I am in the same position, that I need a change. I am looking forward to studying counseling or psychology and changing careers again.

“I think I like to take risks, more than the average person.”

For others thinking of changing careers, van Raay said: “I think if it’s something you can’t stop thinking about, absolutely. I think the risk of not doing it is worse than doing it. At least you will know.

“It’s a big jump. It’s harder for me the second time to make that decision.”

Jaci Hicken said that one of her reasons for getting into journalism was to learn new things, which is why she completed a Diploma in Journalism at RMIT last year. And writing community stories appealed to him.

Like the diversity of journalistic work, and in its first month alone, it covered a court case, gun safety, an art exhibit, a 100th birthday, and profiled eight local federal election candidates.

She says that maybe she’s not as scared as a younger cadet would be, and that she’s more comfortable talking to people like senior police officers.

To other older people who might change careers, he says, “You’re not too old. You can go and do it if you want. You should do anything you really believe in and want to do.

“I know that’s not possible for everyone, but if it’s possible for you, you should do it.”

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