“If you are in a job you hate, then get out of it. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to enjoy fulfillment. You deserve to have a job that you enjoy. If you’re miserable in a job, get out of it! I’m not saying that it’s easy or that it can happen overnight, but take some action.” – Bernie Borges
In this #ContentChat recap, Erika joins Bernie Borges, VP of global content marketing at iQor and host of the Midlife Fulfilled podcast, to discuss how to navigate a fulfilling career change as a midlife marketer. Watch the full conversation on YouTube or read through the highlights below. Once you’re ready to start planning your next steps, download Bernie’s free Midlife Career Reboot Workbook to walk through his five-step process to find your next role.
If you’re looking for more resources around navigating a midlife career change, start with Midlife Fulfilled episode 100. Bernie explains what midlife means (spoiler: it isn’t defined solely by age) and the five areas of life where you should seek fulfillment.
Erika and Bernie also hosted a free online event to empower you to create a fulfilling professional development plan! Access the replay here, which includes a free workbook that guides you to set and reach your goals.
Q1: What are some signs that it is time to consider a career change, instead of pursuing a similar marketing role with a new company?
It’s a unique and deeply personal journey to decide if you should pursue a career change. Bernie shares one telltale sign that it’s your time:
“The easiest way to answer that question is: If at night you dread going to bed because you have to get up tomorrow to go to work—especially on Sunday. If you are dreading Monday, that is a telltale sign that it’s time to do something different (or keep doing what you’re doing somewhere else).” – Bernie Borges
Your career is one area where you can seek fulfillment. Bernie explains that health, fitness, relationships, and legacy are also core areas that you should prioritize.
“Career is one of five areas that I speak about in terms of fulfillment. There’s career, health, fitness, relationships, and legacy. Career is huge. We spend most of our waking life working as adults. You’ve got to be fulfilled in your career. But if you’re not 100% fulfilled, but you’re still OK, don’t beat yourself up. Not everybody is going to get to 100% fulfilled in their career. And very few people ever get to 100% fulfilled across each of those five areas. That’s just way too much to even ask of yourself.” – Bernie Borges
Q2: How can marketing professionals start to identify potential new career paths?
Let your values guide your career search. Write down your values in this season of your life.
“Start with what your current values are. I don’t mean values like your morals and ethics, because hopefully those have been ingrained in you since you were a child. What are your values at this season in your life right now? Is it spending time with a significant other, or a grown child, or a grandchild, or your pet? What are your values? What’s really important to you? Maybe a value is using a certain skill you’ve developed that you’re not using in your current role.” – Bernie Borges
Perform a gap analysis to see which value(s) are not realized in your current role.
“Do a gap analysis. Where are you not realizing those values in your current job or current business? Once you’ve identified that, then you can begin to think about ways to tackle that. Now that you understand what that gap is—let’s say you’ve become a great writer over the last 15 years, but you’re not doing enough writing—and go down that path. Where can you find a job or role or business where you can [bridge that gap]? It starts with identifying what your current values are, and then what’s the gap between what you’re currently doing and your values.” – Bernie Borges
“We go through these different seasons, and our values can change. When my kids were young and at home, my values were different then than now that they’re adults and we’ve got grandchildren. You have to look at where you are now. Recognize that midlife is not one part of life. It is multiple decades, and we go through a lot of changes in those decades. We just have to take stock in where we are now, do that gap analysis, and then take action if you’re not pleased with where you are.” – Bernie Borges
Marketers often fall into an industry or sector that they don’t actually enjoy. Ask yourself about which industry or sectors you find interesting and engaging.
“[A gap analysis] can frequently help you see that it’s not that you don’t like your job as a marketer, it’s that maybe you fell into your industry that you work in. I think that happens for a lot of folks where their first marketing job right out of college is in a specific industry. As they build up that industry expertise and those connections, then they keep being hired for those kinds of jobs.” – Erika Heald
“It’s about reframing your own and other people’s expectations and the way in which they’ve labeled you. It’s always important to see if those are labels you want affixed to yourself and your career.” – Erika Heald
Bernie encourages people to converge two archetypes when planning a career change: a product manager and a B2B salesperson.
“Make one persona between those two. The product manager[‘s] job is to take a product and take it to market. They have to know their product inside and out: what it does, what it doesn’t do, where it fits, where that target customer is, and the pain points of that target customer. The salesperson, similarly, has to take whatever product they’re representing, take it to market, and sell that product day in and day out. When you bring those together, there’s a converged mindset. Think of yourself as a product. What problem do you solve, who do you solve it for, who are your target customers—and identify those customers either by role or by company or people. You’re a product, so what are you as a product? Then identify the who, and build a list of those and engage with them relationally.” – Bernie Borges
“If that’s not comfortable for you, think of it being a muscle you haven’t developed yet. You just have to develop it. In the beginning it’s going to be a little sore, but it will get better. Like working out, if you get past that soreness stage, then you start to feel good. Once you engage with people relationally over time consistently, then you can begin to actually ask for something (a meeting, a phone call, conversation).” – Bernie Borges
Networking can be essential for breaking into new fields or finding out about new opportunities. Network in ways that feel most natural for you.
“There are probably people saying ‘I don’t want to go to those stupid networking events.’ Well, you don’t have to. If you don’t like to go to networking events, don’t do it. You can network with people on LinkedIn. And if you think to yourself that you don’t like social media, then you can find a community online. And if you don’t even want to be online, then there are likely local professional associations or neighborhood groups that you can join to meet some of those people you need to meet. And if none of that works for you, there are amazing conferences. Learning [from] and meeting new people is how your career has these interesting twists and turns.” – Erika Heald
Q3: What resources are helpful as marketers navigate their career change?
Bernie’s workbook provides one way to create an action plan.
“The Reboot Workbook is one approach. If this particular methodology doesn’t work for you, then find one that does and put an action plan in place and do something about it.” – Bernie Borges
Listen to podcasts and read stories from people who have pursued a midlife career change. Dr. Carol Parker Walsh’s The Midlife Career Rebel podcast is a great resource to explore.
“Get inspiration from other people that have made some kind of a change. An idea that sparks something for you may not spark it for me, and vice versa. Get exposed to informational and educational content. Whatever you gravitate toward—consume that content. When you hear something, learn something, or see something that really resonates with you, take action on it. Whatever that action is for you, take some action.” – Bernie Borges