Finding Success in Your 30’s

March 21, 2013

Print by Sara Eshak

Hi friends! Today we are going to have a little chat about Finding Success in your 30’s – and since I cannot go for coffee with all of you, I decided to make this topic into a blog chat; a friendly debate where we talk about our struggles, successes, and everything in between. I encourage you to voice your opinion – don’t be afraid! The Artful Desperado readers are quite an awesome gang, so go ahead, comment and make new friends! (Note: you don’t have to be in your 30’s to participate).

Read all about it after the jump!

Finding Success in Your 30’s

The Awakening
On January of 2013 I turned 30 – the age that officially marks your adulthood. Right as I was blowing the candles on my cake, the wind whispered “are you gonna eat that cake? You’re 30, you’re an adult now – shit’s gonna go straight to yo hips girl” – then I felt this slap on the face and another whisper came by: “remember that list of goals you did when you were 20 (and fit)? Where is it? How many things have you crossed out?”. Thing is, it wasn’t the wind. It was ME. Activating panic mode!  How could this be?! I am 30 already? I haven’t been to Japan yet. Or Bora Bora. I still haven’t paid off my credit card debt. Wait, is that a wrinkle? – complete OVERLOAD.

The Realization
As the weeks went by I became a voracious internet beast, reading everything about success in your 30’s, the 30’s life crisis, people that found glory in their 30’s, and 30 minute fat-burning workouts, ’cause you know – after you’re 30 you can’t have twinkies for breakfast and cookies for dinner without feeling the consequences.

After all the reading I thought to myself “hey, wait a second, there must be other people out there feeling the same way, struggling to find success, poking every corner of the internet looking for an answer – afraid of changing careers because it may be too late. I know I’m not alone!” And yes, after tweeting about this subject, I found out I am definitely not alone.

What About You?
Are you happy with what you’ve accomplished so far? Do you hear the “wind” whispering in your ear? Do you LOVE your career? (by LOVE I mean that you see yourself 40 years from now doing the same thing – yah. Scary, right?!). Is it possible to swap careers at this point in life? So many questions! Today we’ll tackle one (the scariest of all):

Is it worth it to make big careers changes when you are 30 or over? Or, should you stick to what you have and do lots of”side projects”?

Print by Sara Eshak

Let’s see what some of my interweby friends have to say about it:

Sandra Harris from Raincoast Cottage:

I’ve made two career changes over the years and they were both worth it. The thing is, none of us are the same people we were back in the day picking our first career. We grow and learn and change. What “fit” at 18 or 25 might not necessarily fit when we are 30.

There isn’t a “right” answer (wah – don’t we want someone just to tell us what to do???). There IS merit and honour in doing a regular day job that pays the bills and supports the side projects. What you may love to do for fun may end up being a grind when you are doing it for money.

And there is something wonderful about finding a way to make a living following your passions.

But life is short – and you need to live your own dreams and values. When you are 80 and looking back on your life, what will you regret more – trying something new or not?

Melanie Biehle from genuineMix

Turned 30 in 1999. Since then I’ve been a psychiatric research manager, a dotcom tech marketer, a neuroscience and nephrology (look it up) research manager, a movie industry marketer, a pediatric behavioral research manager, a lifestyle blogger, a graphic designer, and a content marketing + social media consultant. And the mom of a 2 1/2 year-old boy. So…yes.

Christie Jones from bedsidesign

To change or not to change, that is the question. You’re 30, so what! You aren’t dead (maybe you feel like you are when you wake up in the morning). Change it up. I’m not quite 30 yet but will be in a few years and I am JUST figuring out what I want to do in life. Happiness is key, so if you discover a passion later than expected jump in with both feet!

Kristin Guy from The Cuisinerd

I’m a firm believer in career change at any age! Last year, at 32, I left a 9-5 corporate job as a creative director when my “side projects” of food writing started to take shape into a potential part time job. The key to a successful transition is to have a solid portfolio (blogs count!) in your new area of interest, update your resume to reflect how your skills cross over into a new industry/position , establish a set time frame to attempt the new career and assess the reality of it sticking.

I gave myself one year to build new relationships, expand my portfolio and throw myself into every possible situation that could lead me to becoming a professional food content creator. Thankfully, due to persistence and setting goal-oriented benchmarks this leap paid off for me and I now contribute to several national food columns. If you have passion, dedication and confidence in switching to a new career, I say go for it with gusto and a solid plan… you’ll never look back.

Print by Sara Eshak

As crude as it sounds – we are all going to die one day, so – how do you want to live the rest of your life? Guessing? Or taking action?

It may sound super easy to say “Fuck it, I’m quitting my job and I’ll move to Nepal to train albino tigers” – when in reality, you can’t really do that – you gotta work, you have to pay your bills, feed your cat,  AND on top of that you  have to find the career you love. Yikes! It’s actually really hard. BUT, there is time, and you can always take small steps towards your new path. Like I said – do you want to continue a life of guessing or a life of taking action?

As a side note – success comes in all shapes and sizes. In this post we talk about success in your 30’s as a “career you love”, but perhaps success for you means to travel the world, or having kids and a lovely wife – whatever it is – same question applies:  do you want to keep guessing, or do you want to take action?

Tell me, what are you doing RIGHT NOW to change your career? (or something else that’s professionally bothering you). Are you being proactive about it? Are you procrastinating? If so, why? Come on friend, open up. I know I’m not alone. Share you story on the comments below and let’s get this blog chat started!

Print by Sara Eshak

ALL ART: Sara Eshak (love how it totally fits with this post!)

164 comments

  • Melanie

    Thanks for having me today, Gabriel! I loved being part of this. xo

  • jacqueline | the hourglass files

    I am of the mindset that there is no one true calling for each and every one of us. There are probably multiple callings throughout our lives as we grow and change. The problem with career changes isn’t that they aren’t good for us as humans (who I believe need new challenges to be the best we can be instead of being beaten down with repetition — even jobs we love can do that), but that the barriers to career change can be so steep. Something needs to be done to reduce those barriers so that those without as much privilege have the ability to make career changes.

    • Gabriel

      Hi Jacqueline! I love what you say about reducing barriers for those less privileged. How can one change careers when you can’t afford your rent? It is obviously not as easy as expected, but perhaps with little side projects it can be achieved. Also, I definitely agree with you on “we have multiple calling throughout our lives” – As Sandra mentions, what fit when you were 20 may not fit anymore.

      Thanks so much for your input!

    • Vv

      I really appreciate all the honest input here. Those barriers mentioned – are some of the things I have been facing. I’m 31 and did not finish college, now it haunts me because everywhere they seem to look for that degree. Ironically I didn’t finish school because I started making money modeling but it became perverse so I removed myself from that world. But I did make money. Going back to school noW isn’t really feasible because of the very point made earlier – it costs money which is the problem right now- the lack of. A catch 22….or 31 in my case lol. Im smart and would love to have my one business, but another issue I face now …I don’t know what my passion is ? (Waaaa waa) So lost…at 31 nevertheless, scary. Any advice ?

      • Liyah

        I am also 31 and have just moved back to the UK from working abroad for 3 years. I also feel lost having started to look for new job I have realised that I am unhappy In my career but I don’t know what my passion is in terms of a career. I mean I have interest… Fashion… Makeup… Good… Animals…. I have also had the opportunity of raising a lion cub into a fully grown lion… So moving to South Africa to work with lions is quite tempting I must say. I just know I want to try something different to my current career also like u I don’t know if my skill set would allow me to change my career without going back to university. Since I didn’t finish my university education due to personal reasons. And I graduated with a higher level diploma. Which is quite disappointing and haunts me till this day.

  • The Cuisinerd

    Thanks for letting me soap box about our creative freedoms and life changes! Inspiring to see that we are all supporters of morphing and becoming the best versions if ourselves…and most importantly HAPPY versions!!

    • Gabriel

      Yes. That’s definitely the most important part of changing your careers – make sure it makes you happy! Thanks for sharing your wisdom Kristin.

    • Barbara

      Your story has inspired me, thank you for the advice. I am 28 years old and working as an accountant. I hate it, I am so miserable and while I like doing personal finances, I hate doing it as a day job. Since November I have been baking and love it! I feel very passionate towards it and am taking small steps (or in your words building a portfolio) to see if I would want to pursue it as a career. What you wrote is validation that me taking these small steps is the right step. I hope to find what I love to do within a few years!

  • Sandra

    Thanks G for having me! Always a pleasure…

    I think another aspect is to REALLY know yourself – from a practical point of view. If you are attracted to a new career, what is it about that career? Have you spent time with people who actually work in that field?

    Are you someone who can work on your own? Then freelance could work for you. If you need regular contact with coworkers, maybe not.

    Are you dreaming of starting a business on your own? Then do a business plan and see if it is financially viable. Maybe that great idea will be a hit part-time but might not generate enough income for you full-time.

    • Gabriel

      That’s so true. You may think it’s totally a full-time gig, but maybe the demand is not there yet. Starting part-time can definitely “get your feet wet”. Thanks Sandra! As per usual, love your insightful comments.

  • Christie Jones

    I’m not 30 yet but seriously this is exciting! As someone who is still bouncing around and trying to find my career sweet-spot I’m glad others are on the same page. I definitely struggled when I was “younger” with trying to find something that pays the bills – I think priorities switch, new goals are created and that’s totally okay! P.S. You still have time to go to Bora Bora AND Japan!

    • Gabriel

      haha yes! Well, fist I gotta budget it, but yes, it is possible. I guess like you mentioned, you need to set your priorities straight – then go from there, otherwise you may spend time and/or money on distractions. Thanks again so much for sharing a few words with us, Christie.

  • Emily | Sparkle Meets Pop

    This so such a timely topic! While I’m “only” 28 I feel like I’m old and running out of options to make my life interesting, in particular, work for myself. Isn’t that terrible that I’m not even 30 and I already feel a panic that I’m nearing “the end”? I keep reading all about young entrepreneurs and I’m so inspired by it, that it practically consumes me. Then I start to be “realistic” and say that I shouldn’t or couldn’t and then I just get tired. But like you say, I don’t want my “one day I’ll do it” turn into “I’m so sad I never did it.”

    • Gabriel

      Hey Emily. Exactly! There’s so much pressure out there, especially with the new “cyber entrepreneurs” that seem to become successful overnight – at least that’s what we see. I know for a fact those people have been hustling like crazy and now they are enjoying the rewards, so I guess it’s almost like a balancing act, where we start to focus on our new path, but don’t leave the current one unattended. Moving slowly everyday is better than not moving at all.

      Thanks for sharing your comments Emily!

  • Mere // Not Merely Living

    I’m turning 30 this year, and I have been thinking about this very topic. I feel like I’ve got one foot firmly planted in my solid day job and one foot dancing and dreaming towards a more creative life. Right now I’m trying to negotiate a four day schedule so that I can somehow still live in both worlds. Thanks for sharing all of these lovely insights.

  • Charlotte

    Hello!

    I read this wonderful article the other day about people who change careers and I thought you might find it worthwhile.

    http://www.musicalamerica.com/mablogs/?p=9917

  • maddy

    I am 30 now and at a serious crossroads with my job. I was told a month ago that my division will be closing down. I am ok with it since I wasn’t passionate about it but it has suddenly woken me up to think about what I am passionate about. I think that the hardest part of this process at times coming up with what I actually want to do. I try to keep a list of what I love, keep my ears out about opportunities and most importantly, keep a positive attitude. I guess its nice to know that 30 isn’t too old to start over again– which I just have to keep telling myself.

    • Gabriel

      So very true Maddy. After talking to several people about it, we are 30 – not 95. We can start all over again, it takes time and effort but can be done!

  • Artsy Forager

    This post makes me feel sooo old, as 30 was ( gulp! ) a decade ago. ;-) When I hit 30, I was single ( gah.. that’s a whole other life crisis ), in a job I liked but didn’t love, in a city where I was surrounded by friends & family yet never really felt at home. Through the course of the next decade, I left that job and went into one I DID love, where I spent 5 years working with artists and selecting art for clients daily, fell in love and married the man of my dreams, quit what I thought was the dream job, moved to and am traveling throughout the Northwest/West Coast, writing my blog and shaping our dream life.

    It’s never too late to strive for the life you truly want. Even if you have to take baby steps to get there!

    • Gabriel

      WOW Lesley, this is so incredible. I love love love to hear this type of stories, it really boosts one’s motivation to get shit done! Thanks for sharing your story with us :)

    • Dani

      Hi, I read your post and love your amazing story. Congratulations on finding what you love!! I’d love to ask your advice, if you get this. I’m in something of a mid-life crisis at 32 (33 in 3 months). The thing is, I founded a small company as soon as I left college, and had my ultimate dream job for most of my 20s. At the end of my 20s I was invited to start a new company, which seemed like a dream, but it failed. I then tried to start another company, in the hopes of achieving a passive income and it too, failed. I can see where I went wrong, and the mistakes I made, after a year of travelling to clear my mind of the built up stress to get it properly functioning again. but now I am in such a rut, without a job, and living with my parents in a remote area for the time being, which makes it extra hard to get out there, and have zero confidence to make my next step – all of which is starting to make me super stressed again. I still strive to be an entrepreneur (a lifestyle entrepreneur as I was before, which is the only thing that truly makes me happy) I was wondering how you did it. How do you start in a new career? Do you start working at a company by applying and work your way up? (Even if your my age, 32?) Did you work on your blog on the side and when it was big enough then leave your job to work on it full time? Sorry for asking what may seem like basic questions, but having always worked for myself I don’t even know how to make a first move, I’m trying to figure out the logistics of it all and thought I might ask as you seem to have figured it out an an incredible way. I admire your story very much!!!

      • Gabriel

        Hi Dani! Thanks so much for your comment. And honestly, as cheesy as it sounds, it’s NEVER too late to start a new career. There are people that have become best-selling authors at age 70+, so it’s all possible.

        For myself, I still have a job aside from the blog which pays the bills and gives me the freedom to do things on my own on the side. When I was stuck (just as I turned 30) I did nothing but try-fail-try-fail and repeat. The blog was a great tool for me to market myself outside of my regular 9-5 job and has gotten me many opportunities – I don’t make money from the blog directly (e.g. ads, sponsored posts) but have gotten other paid gigs (really good ones!) through it. Just like you, I was scared and didn’t know what to do, the thing is, NO ONE KNOWS WHAT TO DO! So you just have to keep knocking on doors ’til one opens. One thing’s for sure, the more you do and fail, the stronger you become and the clearer your path becomes, that way you REALLY find out what you love and what you’re good at. Maybe a blog is not for everyone, but the principle is the same, you have to CREATE as much as you can – whether is graphic design, accounting, or writing. Just think about it, would you like to spend the next 2-3 years building your career and reaching success OR would you rather stay still, do nothing, and one day when you’re 90 you’d think “why didn’t I try?”

        Stay positive! We are all in this together.

        XO Gab.

        • Vv

          Oh wow ! I totally totally feel your pain- I’m in the same boat. Wish I had advice for you…but just letting you know …I feel you. I know exactly where you’re at- as time passes the confidence deminishes a bit. Scary.

        • Vv

          Gabi!
          Thank you for your advice – it applies to me for sure – so on point. I will take it to heart and let it marinate in my head – put my running shoes on and start knocking on doors!
          It’s just nice to know that we are not alone in this “30’s crisis”
          Xo

      • Jrr

        Hello Dani, I have just finished a research on successful entrepreneurs. I believe I’m in something of a mid-life crisis myself at 31. And so I landed myself on this blog and your post, I find extremely interesting. Although, I am not quite clear what happened to the small company you founded immediately after college. According to literatures most successful entrepreneurs have had failed businesses. You have a great mind, you have noted in your post that you can see where you went wrong and all the mistakes that led to failures. I can imagine you have zero confidence to embark on entrepreneurial activities, a result of your experience. Entrepreneurs obviously have traits and personalities that distinguishes them from the non-entrepreneurs, I am uncertain of your personal motivations towards entrepreneurial activities but I personally recommend you search within yourself again, you surely have innate abilities like confidence, risk taking abilities and so on.
        I see you are considering starting in a new career, as Gabriel mentioned “It is never too late to start a new career”. Have a thorough thought about taking a job and remember some of your initial motivations towards entrepreneurial events, I am guessing locus of control might be a factor for you.

        Please, take this note as a total reasoning and not any sort of actual advice.

  • Diane

    Love this article!!!
    I am 45 and a library media specialist in an elementary school. I won’t get into the details, but many aspects of the job have been making me miserable for the past 3 years. I have always been the type of person who is afraid to make any changes career-wise. I will suffer, make the paycheck, and sob when I get home from work because I am so unhappy. I have done this on other jobs too.
    Then, an unthinkable thing happened 3 weeks ago. One of my best friends had a headache. It turned out to be incurable brain cancer. NO JOKE. He was dead in two weeks. 57 years old. The picture of health and happiness. WTF?!?!?

    On the plane on the way home from giving the eulogy at his funeral, I decided to quit my job at the end of the school year. Cliche alert!!! Life is too short to be miserable. I have to make a change, no matter how scary.

    I have a back up plan and a very supportive husband. I still want to teach and LOVE LOVE my students. Sometimes it takes a life-altering shock to spur us to act.

    • Gabriel

      Hi Diane. I know what you mean by cliche alert, sometimes it seems like it is one big cliche, but seriously, we need this wake up calls to get back in our feet and follow our dreams. You are so right when you say life is short and not worth spending it full of regrets. So happy you took that step! I wish you all the best in your new adventure!

  • Annalena

    Thanks for the post. I am turning 30 this year myself, and have had a lot of these thoughts over the last two years as the big 3-0 approaches. But, a mid-thirties friend of mine said something in an email a few months ago that really stuck with me:
    “I have found me enjoying my thirties more than any other age. You become more self-aware of what you want and what you value. You stop giving a sh*t about what others think about you. It is just like your footing in life becomes a little sturdier and it takes a lot more to blow you down. So, enjoy your thirties. Your teens and twenties are all about finding your path. In your thirties, you blaze the sh*t out of that path”
    So for me- I’m planning to blaze the sh*t out of my path.

    • Gabriel

      Blazing sh*t sounds like the perfect plan Annalena! I’ve heard that from friends that are 30 and over – you are more comfortable with yourself and you really devote your time to things that matter, without the pressure we have in our teens or early 20’s of “missing out on things”. You should totally start an ebook called “blazing sh*t out of your path” I’d be your first buyer!! :D

  • Cassandra

    I turned 31 in Febtuary. Where did 30 go?! Thanks for this post. I actually got laid off mid year of 30 and ever since have been catapulted into the job market. I can’t believe how many skills I lack compared to recent college grads, but I need a jump start ASAP. Looking forward to more posts. P.S. welcome to your 30s and happy Belated birthday! !

    • Gabriel

      Thank you for the bday wishes Cassandra! And yep, that happens all the time, when you think “oh shit, this 20 year old already was nominated for a pulitzer and I’m on craigslist looking for a new gig?!” – the thing is, we always underestimate our skills – we have so many skills that may not be on paper, but are so valuable in real life! Those things cannot be learned in school and WE HAVE THEM. So, I say cheers for a bright future!

      • Vv

        You’re awesome I cheers to that! Exactly what’s been making me crazy lately ! I notice that everyone looks good on paper and me ….eh.. and sadly I do lack those “technical, school ackwired, career experience added skills – even some basic ones like PowerPoint ! Ugh wtf! BUT WAIT ! I have a hell of a lot school of hard knock life experience ! Now if someone out there would take a chance on us – that would be awesome, because if anything life teaches you to adapt to any and most f%#^ up circumstances . And that, is worth something ! Yes?

  • Georgeann

    Hi there, great article! Made me smile. Don’t fret, 30 is still sooo young, and we still have decades to reinvent ourselves! I will turn 32 this year, but when I hit 30, I stopped worrying–or even caring–about my age. Age is really just a number. If you are still approaching life with enthusiasm and wonder, then you aren’t old yet. When I was in my late teens and early 20s, I had a body that wouldn’t quit, was cute as hell, and got to travel the world. Back then, that was all I needed. After I got married, had kids, got knocked around by life, and started to “let myself go” it was kind of hard realigning my priorities and values, because things change as a person ages and matures. One way I have survived this far is to look at parts of my life as chapters, and it helps to acknowledge that while some chapters of my life have ended, I can look back on the memories while beginning new chapters. It’s okay to come to the end of an era (your 20s) and start a new phase; your 30s can be incredible! Even though I am not prancing around in teeny mini skirts from when I was really young, I am still pretty cute and can get away with a lot, so life is grand. And there is still much to do, because life doesn’t drop off at 30. I recently discovered Pinterest, the Insanity workout program, and a new “mini career” in education. And there is always so much to learn and do! The best example I can give is that a couple weeks ago I crossed a major goal off my bucket list. I saw Willie Nelson play a concert!!! This year he turns 80. So here is something to ponder. This guy has been doing something he loves for about 60 years now, and he didn’t look old on that stage! Like I said before: age is just a number. If you are enjoying life, doing what you love, not worrying about what isn’t being crossed off the list, you will really start having fun. Take things one day at a time, but always keep one eye on the big picture. And be kind to yourself. You will be great!

    • Gabriel

      Hey Georgeann! Yep, is all about been comfortable in your skin! It may take time to find that confidence, but like you must love yourself before you put yourself out there for anything else – including a new career path. Having a strong foundation – physical and emotional – will ensure that no matter what happens, you’ll stay strong and you’ll survive the journey.

      PS I am so trying that workout! Looks crazy good.

  • Libbie

    Hey there girls,
    While I love my profession, in my 20’s I was daunted by the idea that I would be doing this forever! I thought I would be able to quit for awhile and have kids then go back to work when they werer in college to help pay for it. God laughed. I couldn’t have kids, (that was not a big set back for me…i just thought I would cuz that is what women do) but I was surprised to see myself still working. Somewhere in my 40’s I realized, I do love what I do and am not as burned out as I thought I should be. That was a Hallejulia day!
    I have however added another profession that fits with this one. After 2 divorces, yes, I suck at picking husbands and am possibly too selfish/demanding of a wife..not sure which, but my M-O is now “a man is not a plan”. Ok, I am a cinderella girl, mainly because my Mom lived in a fairy tale world and I accepted that as the norm. But I have worked hard since I was 14- starting in a corn field–don’t ask. I am a health professional and now a realtor. I am 50. In my 30’s, I worked my ass off! Do it. Do evrything in your power to work and save as much money as you can. I am so grateful I did.
    I lived within my means and saved. I have plenty now and don’t have to work another job, but am because I want to stay young and now buy Botox! If you want something, find a way to get it.
    If you want future security, work your ass off. If you want shit you will give away or sell at a garage sale, be prepared to have to work more or have less later. If you want power and choices you need to be firm with yourself and disciplined. You can do it. Start with your health/fitness and diet and finances. Learn that discipline is the path in life. If you didn’t have a parent telling you what to do then learn to parent yourself!
    You can drink and party later. Keep yourself sharp, you will spend less money if you don’t buy alcohol and coffee at a cafe. Bring a bottled water when you meet your friends. It is you they love, not what you drink.
    Be smart in your 30’s. Go for that career that you love, it will always become work regardless of what it is. Maybe, your reality is that you need to stay where you are and change things at home? Start with yourself and make yourself into who you really want to be. You have lost the pressure of your 20 year old college and high school friends. Things get divided in your 30’s, some friends go on to have families and do that thing with other families. Some become career girls, some become losers. Pick for yourself and be dedicated to yourself. YOU are WORTH it! Good luck and God bless!

    • Gabriel

      OMG Libbie, this is so true. A lot of times we fall for the “oh whatever, I’ll pay for it later” debt trap and BAM you’re retired and have HUGE debt. I feel a good work/life balance IS essential – you gotta enjoy your youth, but also think about your future. It’s like with anything in life – too much of it can’t be good, in this case too much splurging can lead to a not-so-stable future.

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  • Bryce

    I love this post Gabriel and it’s so timely for my life at the moment!

    I’m not close to 30 (yeah, yeah I’m young…) and I moved out of my parent’s house last July to move to Vancouver on a whim to pursue photography + art more seriously. I found a job that I loved and it quickly turned south, taking up too much of my time and energy – fostering negativity. Living in Vancouver is expensive, as a lot of you know, and I don’t have much of a financial cushion. But, I quit my job to eliminate the unnecessary stress and put my energy towards finding a job that I would enjoy. Big risk… and it ended up providing a big reward (it usually does) with multiple opportunities presenting themselves.

    My advice: learn to trust your gut and listen to your heart, train it, and start to follow your dreams. If you know what you love, do your homework and make sure there is some method to the madness, but take big risks. If you don’t, there will never be big rewards.

    All the best to you all +

    • Gabriel

      It’s all about the big risks! If we don’t take’em we’ll never know what the result might be. Like mentioned in one of the posts above, you have to hunt down your dreams but you also have to think about your future. It a way, “take responsible risks” , right?

      Thanks a lot friend!

  • Sarah

    There are a lot of upbeat, inspiring comments about finding a career you love, but sometimes I wonder if our expectations are too high. Life is not perfect and our career won’t be either. Sometimes I think it would be easier to just stop trying so hard to be happy and accept the life you have instead and realize it will be crappy at times. Sorry to be a downer, but work isn’t normally designed to fulfill you. If a job was really so amazing, you’d probably be paying to be there, not the other way around. Sometimes you just have to keep your head down and do your thing and stop worrying about whether or not this is enough.

    • Gabriel

      Thanks for your honesty Sarah! You do have a good point – could we be happier if we just let go and LIVE the moment? Maybe because of all of this online influence we are under pressure to “follow your dream” to “find the perfect job” and have the “perfect body”. I guess like I mentioned on the post, some people decide they want to have solid income and follow their passion as side projects, some other just do a 180 turn and change everything – whatever it is, as long as you’re happy with your decision, I think we should go for it.

      Thanks again for your comments!

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  • sara eshak

    hello, Gabriel , i just want to say thank you for having my art on this topic, it means a lot to me. I love the articular.

  • Silvie Vega

    30 for me is right around the corner, as in 1 month away or so. It definitely frightens me. The fine lines are beggining to show around my eyes, my right knee hurts a little more after my trail runs. I have been involved in the same industry for aboout 10 years and I wonder.. just where my passion lies. I think to myself where has all of this time gone? Is this what I want to be doing forever? The thing is it’s not. I have no idea what it is I’d switch to if I switched careers at this point.. I’m great with people, love to speak, love to help, love to write, run, my but where my passion lies? I don’t know. I know 30 doesn’t mean your dead ;) but somehow it feels like it does officially make you an adult.. I’m nowhere near where I thought I’d be and I’m really trying my best to fight panic mode. I hear the 30’s are great.. I will take initiative.. I will find my passion..

  • Jonathan

    Wow, This is a great article and our situation is almost identical. I’m desperate googling for someone who found their success in 30’s because I am having a career change to pursue my enthusiasm and passion but my family and fiancee keeps pressuring me because I’m a registered nurse and they want me to stick with it. I’m glad i found someone who’s in the same boat. I listen to success webinars and doing extensive research on how successful people end up in their current statuses. And all of them has the same advice,”you have to know what really want and go for it”. My only dilemma is I have to start again at the bottom and I feel that my boat already left me. Have to climb the corporate ladder as fast as I could now so that I can reach executive position in my mid 30’s.

    • Gabriel

      Hi Jonathan! It’s never too late to change your career. It is scary to start something new, but seriously, once you do it, you’ll be so happy! Even if it’s not what you expected, you’ll have peace of mind because you did it! It’s always better to try something new than having regrets and thinking “oh, I wish I could..” I’ve heard so many amazing stories of success and age is not an issue as long as you love what you do. Go get’er done!

  • Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That | Paper & Stitch

    […] found the image above, by Sara Eshak, thanks to this post from Gabriel of The Artful Desperado – great read on finding success in your 30s if you […]

  • Rochelle

    I needed to read this post. Seriously.

  • The Dolly Half-Dozen | Bunny and Dolly

    […] Since finding success in your 30s is topic I spend a lot of (unnecessary) time worrying about, I appreciated Gabriel’s post about later-in-life career changes. […]

  • Alex

    This is really a sad article. Firstly, the author claims that adulthood starts at 30! I’ve always known adulthood to start at 18.

    In actuality, 30 is not some kind of a beginning. Its the age where your body is at its peak, and after that things go downhill until death. Yet from the comments here it sounds like people are not too serious at 30. If only they knew where their life is heading maybe they would stop kidding around.

    Many doors that were completely wide open in your 20s practically shut in your 30s, including finding a spouse, having a career with most companies, and having kids. That’s right most people will consider you suitable for marriage and employment, and you’ll still be physically able to have children in your 20s. But in your 30s you become mostly unsuitable for all of the above.

    • Gabriel

      Hi Alex! Thanks for your comment and it’s unfortunate that you find this post to be sad. It’s actually – as you can see in the comments – a personal struggle that all of us go through at some point and for which we always find a positive outcome. This post has nothing to do with biological issues and adulthood so it can actually be applied at any age. Finally I COMPLETELY disagree with you when you say you become “unsuitable” for things after 30, times change and maybe 50 years ago that could’ve been true, but in this day and age one can achieve ANY life goals at ANY time, whether you’re 18 or 50. Thanks again!

  • Erick

    Thank you for starting this conversation!

  • Eden

    This is a great read! “Success” has never made itself known to me. I’m 34 and I’m just now in the most steady full-time job I’ve ever been able to hold down in a small-town economy. It’s tolerable, though the pay is lousy, but it’s better than any part-time gig I’ve been able to land. I was always a late bloomer, combined with being completely aimless in my 20s. Some days I don’t feel over 30, but I do feel ready to search for success. I don’t want children or even to be with the same company until retirement; I just want financial independence. I’ve never really been able to identify my passion, either. I like to write, but in my years of searching for steady work, I have nothing to show for that. Guess I’d better start those multiple blogs for which I’ve had ideas, heh. Thank you for the article. (Also I’m loving the first pic. It’s our motto at work.)

    • Craig Moorer

      Hey there! I feel ya! I live in a small town too (by choice – got out of an area with a bigger city environment) and I feel the small-town economy pinch.

      Though I do want a family, I nonetheless as well feel the urge to explore my creative abilities.

      Have you started those blogs? How are they working out for you?

      my case is this; I know about what I’m passionate but have yet to figure out a logical way to profitably make money off of it. I lvoe where I live (out int he countryside where I have to chop wood to heat the house – and I love it!) and the lifestyle I live which, in many ways, is living a passion. Now, if I could just make money doing that….. :):):).

  • Craig Moorer

    You know, there are many thoughtful insights here on this webpage. Some suggested following one’s dreams; antoher suggested that what was good in the early 20s may not be working now.

    I agree with all of those points, with a grain of salt. My meaning?

    At this stage, many people have had enough experience to know their on the job strengths and weaknesses.

    I think it’s imperative to blend your passions with being realistic about one’s strenghts and weaknesses. For example; if you like working with your hands (say, on cars or maybe painting), take a job that allows you to work with your hands and still be creative – like a form of manufacturing or quality control in a company that allows you to form your own little way of doing things.

    I think success, while there is not one set recipe, also starts with humility for, respect of, and obidence to God. Close to that, as well, is being realistic with your skills and abilities. By now you’ve probably held multiple jobs and can point out where you are at your best and when you are at your worst. Play on your strengths and starve your weaknesses!

    One last point – have confidence and stand up for yourself. The only one (aside from friends and family and God) who gives a shit about you is…..YOU! Most everybody else is looking out for themselves…..and they don’t care who they trample on/cheat/push out of the way to advance themselves.

  • Numan

    Hello all, I turned 30 in May and I am having the same dilemma. I keep pretending to myself that I love my job which is pretty well paid but in reality I am just lying to myself.

    I desperately need a career change, but the same social boundaries such as “fear of wasting time”, “I should know what I want at my age” responsibilities and all the other persona that comes with being a so called 30 year old. The truth is I can’t bare thinking about doing what I do for another 30-40 years it would drove me crazy. Need to take that step and change. I always remeber the saying ” you never regret what you did but what you didn’t do” so
    I guess the answer is to just “do it”. Fear only stops you if you want and after all 30 can’t be that old!!!

  • Tony Sandoval

    Im working at a warehouse making 14 bucks n hr the days r lonf from 8am to anywhere between 5 n 8pm I hate my job n I feel frustrated I need a career but at age 35 don’t know where to begin I need help fellas please help me with some guidance

    • Gabriel

      Hi Tony! We all are on the same boat! What about applying for a course online? That way you can still work (you’ll need the income!) but you’ll be moving towards your career. Honestly, age is just a number! Don’t let it stop you.

  • Heba

    Hi everyone…. Great topic… No matter what age we are we should keep on trying different ways of living … Life is full Of opportunities…. Dont be afraid to change… We are always looking for the better… … The thing is most Of the time we really dont know what is better for us… Because we dont know what we want in life…. What makes you happy ? Whatever it is … Let it be ur goal… And keep on trying untill u reach ur goal…. How ? Get to know New people…start to do… Ask… Take some small steps .. Good look to all Of us :0) … And 30’s is only the beginning

  • Monique

    Im so happy I came across this. Im 33. Born and raised in NYC. Left everything I knew which was fashion/design/buying. At 28 I decided to apply for a office manager position for a small restaurant group I frequented. Was there for two years and was hungry for learning more about food and beer.

    After all this was secretly was I was always doing with my money. Not shopping for clothes. But shopping for groceries and dining out. I landed a host job for a big time brewer and chef. It was scary, a little embarrasing at first too. Being around actors or students and here I was the girl who had no restaurant experience opening a major restaurant. People always asked me what my plan was and I wasnt sure. Im still figuring it out. But my hearts in it. I enjoy it.

    I am now serving and making more money than that hosting gig. Ive built relstionships with the company and now I just need to figure out what my next step should be. I love cooking but I dont know if I will love it after standing for 10 hrs in a hot kitchen.

    Now 33 seems like I have a little window to take on something else. But that clocks ticking. I dont plan on serving for more than a year. So far its been 7 months. Fun and educational. But reading this makes me feel a lottle better that I wasnt alone in my decision to change careers. Its just so hard to see what is the best thing for my career.

    Food styling is amazing and I have a design background and now some food. But that hiring markets slim to none. So my eyes and ears are open for that next big itch. But nice to come across this. Thanks for sharing!
    -Monique

    • Gabriel

      Thank YOU for sharing your story with us Monique! So glad you made the change and decided to poke your head in other creative fields! After all, no matter what you do, you always learn something new that you can take with you to the next job. Thanks again!

  • Alle

    I’m 31, and I’m back in school to get my teaching license. At 18, who knows what you want to do for the rest of your life?! At 22, I graduated with a degree in Public Relations, then spent the rest of my 20’s living abroad. It shaped me to be who I am, and although I’m going through transition, yet again, it feels right! I’m not interested in doing the same thing everyday from the day I graduate until the day I retire! How boring would that be? I don’t own a house or have retirement savings, but there are plenty of years left for that:)

  • How To Survive Your 30s | The Artful Desperado

    […] So there. That wasn’t too bad, was it?! I guess this post is a bit of a part 2 to last years (super popular post btw) Finding Success in Your 30s.. […]

  • Tracey Ann Summers

    I’m really glad I come across this page, I hound it interesting.
    I’ve just turned 30yr and freaking out, I’ve spent most of my life trying to figure out what career so wanted to do and got no where scared of trying things. Time goes so quick, the only things I feel I have achieved is three solo trips to Australia, I loved yo travel but have no confidence around people so that career choice was out the window. I am still puzzled and finding it hard to even spice up each day of my life? What do you wake up to? What do we do apart from try and earn money and pay the bills on minimum wage, eat three meals a day and try and stag fit.

  • Ritesh

    Thank you ! I have lot to tell but I will say sincerely Thank you so much for this Article.

  • Adrián

    After almost 5 years working for one the biggest companies in the world I just quit my job last week. I’d rather spend some months in other to have the life that I’m looking for rather than the rest of my life making good money and doing something that I don’t like . I am pretty scared but I’m also sure that I’m gonna succeed . Regards from Mexico City ;)

  • sally watkins

    “As crude as it sounds – we are all going to die one day, so – how do you want to live the rest of your life? Guessing?”

    I like this quote and if you do something, dedicate yourself to it, and that means go to college or uni and learn from your elders, practice and practice and don’t expect fame and fortune, just love what you do, be authentic. An authentic life is THE real thing.

    • Gabriel

      Yes! We have to stop worrying so much, worrying take more time than actually doing stuff, so yes to a real authentic life!

  • cw

    Don’t let other people tell you how to live, they are usually unhappy people or don’t understand the point of life or if there is one!

  • Barbara

    I am so happy to have found this article and glad that other people feel the same. I am 28 years old and have been working as an accountant for almost 4 years. I hate it and have been struggling to find my passion (and i don’t really make good money either, which you would think accountants would!). As 30 approaches and I see people who are successful in life at a similar age, I have been feeling more and more panicked that time is running out.
    What is my passion? What do I do? I do know that I don’t want to wake up one day in my 40s, regretting the last decade. I hate accounting and feel that I am wasting my life, I am so much more than a boring a$$ accountant.
    Recently I have gotten into baking (as a hobby) and I think it is my passion. I am not sure if this is my career path, but I am taking the steps to figure out if it is. I am taking a cake decorating class, have been reading up on baking, baking whenever I can, and want to find a part time job on the wkends at a bakery. Hopefully these steps will help me build knowledge and help determine if this is my true passion. I really hope that within a few years I am doing what I love and not crunching numbers all day, but I am very panicked that it wont happen.
    Thanks again for the article!

  • Riona

    This is an awesome blog. I’m in the same boat. It’s crazy how two numbers can flip your world upside down. So I turned 30 in Feb, but I’ve been having this career crissis for the last eight months. I studied Architecture, middle of second year dropped out as I just couldn’t design anymore. Started working and landed up in project management. I studied, got a degree, earning descent money but I feel like I missed the mark. Looking back, I guess I didn’t take the time to discover my true passion and now I will be doing just that. Thank you for creating this blog.

  • denny chow

    Hey

    I’m a struggling 30 year old looking to discover my niche for the rest of life. I’ve pondered restlessly and frustratingly the last 10 years what my future will hold for my remaining time on this planet. I realize I’m running out of time; in fear everyday that I will amount to nothing and remain depressed forever.

    But lately as a result all my failures, painful criticisms Ive receive from the general public; I’ve come to the conclusion that my biggest setback in life is that I live in fear.

    I’ve realized that I’ll never amount to anything if I don’t believe in myself and go after anything I want so very badly.

    For all the naysayers and haters. Fuck you and worry about your own life, and let me live the way I want; because what happens to me is non of your concerns.

    Thanks for listening

    Denny Chow

    • Gabriel

      To hell with fear! Do what you want, live your life fully, Denny!

      • denny chow

        Thanks for the advice Gabriel!

        I can’t imagine myself grinding it out at the same boring, miserable 9-5 job the rest of my life.

        I’m going to chase and a job/occupation I’m passionate and care about.

        PS. I just left a job I had as an insurance broker which was very disappointing to my friends and family, but ultimately its my life and don’t want to look back and tell myself, what if?

        • Gabriel

          That’s exactly it! Your friends will get over it! Remember it’s all about your happiness! :) Best of luck, Denny

  • Rhonda

    I’m 32 and I hate life. I got stuck in a dead end job because I couldn’t afford to continue school, I’m recently out of a 9 year relationship, I have a few friends but my close friends are gone or have families. If my parents were dead, I would hang myself. No matter what I do, things get worse. I never get a break. I wish I could just not wake up one day.

    • Gabriel

      Hi Rhonda! We own our destiny and it’s up to us to change the outcome! There’s never a “dead end” so grab the pieces you have left and start building a new life. You can do it! Remember, we all have been through it. CheerS!

  • Marta

    Hi. That blog is what I needed today:) . It must be a sign:) I am 34 years old and have been struggling with myself for ever! I graduate from Uni (poland) and two weeks later i was in States working in a cleaning service and for past 7 years I have been doing housekeeping in London…. I am scared to do anything with my life. Lately I though maybe I could become a pastry chef or personal trainer?( There is many things i like to do but nothing I am really passionate about) But already have doubts,am I too old? Not fit enough? Not determined :( my job is hard but well paid, my job is a trap for me . seeing myself doing the same in 5 years time … makes me a bit sad. Time flies and I feel like days are shorter and shorter. I would tell everyone else to try something new, or something they really want to do… except myself… I guess I already lived half of my life and there was not many days I truly felt happy about what I do, they way I look etc…. Is it me chasing happiness ? Or it is a lack of appreciation for what I have in my life…Amazing hubby! Little flat in London with huge mortgage:) health and much better life than back home( London is my home now really) I just wanted to share my story with you. This is the first blog I commented on :)so I am bit nervous about it ( and sorry for all English mistakes I’ve made.
    Wishing u all best of luck!

    • Sylvia

      Marta, if you are getting this mssg please let me know. I would love to talk to you. I am in a similar situation and would like to exchange some opinions.
      Thank you

    • Ayaz

      Hi Marta. I know your comment was 3 years ago. But i would like to talk to you because my current situation is the same as your 3 year ago.

  • Patti

    Thank you for this post Gabriel – totally needed this in my life right now! I hate the 9 to 5 world (being surrounded by corporate people the majority of your daily life is so plastic and it truly crushes your soul…crushed mine that’s for sure)- I turned 30 and I really want to pursue a creative career and after reading this and Girlboss I feel very encouraged to go for it. xxPatti

  • Laura

    I really hope it is not too late. My life got out of hand due to an anxiety disorder, I’d hoped of being an academic. I finished university a year late with a first – then did postgraduate study at Oxford and Cambridge (one of those courses was a disaster too although I passed), I was also late finishing my barrister course for which I got a scholarship.

    These last couple of years I’ve been living with my mum working behind a bar and doing tutoring learning to manage my emotions. I’ve cracked it. Basically I am 30 and my career never even began.

    • Melvin

      Hey Laura, I can feel related somehow but I want to tell you that your disorder is not going to be forever; trust me, I’ve been there. Stop overthinking, face your fears and start to think positive, do it little by Little and things may not change right away but you will be in the right path. I can see that you are a strong person and 30´s doesn’t mean is the end of life, otherwise, is the beginning. It might take constant fixing but you will learn to control your emotions. I wish nothing but the best for you Laura. God bless you.

    • Lisa

      Hey Laura,
      I too have an anxiety problem. This came on recently due to stress at work and serious family illness. I left the (over worked, under valued, under paid) job to come back to be with my family, but now feel utterly trapped. I turn 35 next month. Like you I studied a Postgrad course at Oxford, and I scraped by too. The anxiety- which had calmed down-has come back regularly with a vengeance because of the constant stress at being unemployed and at the same time not having a bloody clue what I should be doing. My Postgrad was in Historical Studies, but there’s not much I can do with that unless its to teach and that does not appeal. I cannot afford to do another course like maybe conservation which I’d like,-I began a Graduate Diploma In Law and realised during my mocks that I was not going to pass this as I failed them all terribly. Financially too, it was going to cripple me. I couldn’t afford to keep going. So now I have a debt coming out the bank every month for a course I am no longer doing- and once where I thought I’d found my way and on the way to becoming a lawyer, I am lost again. All my cousins are successful, high flying, have their own homes and partners, and its just awful….I feel your pain. I hope you will be able to become a barrister, even if you finished the course late? That can be a very rewarding career. Keep your chin up. I will try and do the same!

  • Sylvia

    I search for this themed websites from time to time looking for a right answer for myself. 32 and feel my life has not really begun yet. My 20s brought me much more happiness, had more courage and drive. Looking back it all feels like a nice dream and now I am not sure how to go back to it. I am back in Europe, not even sure why. I let my family persuade me to come back. I blame myself because the timing found me at a very weak spot emotionally. Yes, it is great to be around family, sometimes. But now I lost my independence and never felt so crippled, this is crazy and it feels as if I was drowning. My plan of finishing college here shattered, being around kids in school made me question what the hell I was doing there. Was it even the right major-accounting? I spent more than 10 years working in dental field and now thinking of going back. I keep picturing myself in various occupations and can’t find an answer. Time is passing by mercilessly and Im nowhere near where I should be. People label you by what you do for living, your occupation, especially here in Europe. The path of schooling is pretty much carved for every teenager. Unfortunately nothing will come on its own and I have to make many alterations to get there. Just don’t know how. I am guilty of looking through HS friends on FB admiring their accomplishments. So sad. It is one thing to pursue a career change after 30, but when the passion is not clarified one does not even know what steps to take in that directions. I really want to get out of this crappy situation, just don’t know how :(

  • Lisa

    ‘Time is passing by mercilessly and Im nowhere near where I should be’
    That is exactly how I feel Sylvia. I am so glad I stumbled upon this page tonight as I was feeling very blue, and reading all these messages, and knowing I’m not alone is a big help. I do understand where you’re coming from completely. When you reach your 30s you are expected to have done certain things-especially as a female. I feel it especially as my cousins are all settled and successful. I too do not know what steps to take. I think I can end up in cloud cuckoo land sometimes and want to go for jobs that are totally unrealistic, just hoping a miracle will happen. I’ll search for roles that are totally out of my comfort zone in hoping I’ll stumble upon my dream career….

  • Alexis

    Hello, it nice to see that I am not alone in the struggle of finding ones self in life. It’s funny because I felt like 30 when I was 25, and now I’m 31. I failed at my carrer and being in a shit hole job is making me very depressed. It’s very hard to find a new path that can lead to stability, but what I find harder is taking risk. I know that without risk there’s no success, but because I like to think 20 steps ahead, I think sometimes this kind of mentality is my Achilles heel and the cause of my disspair. I continue to read articles to help me in my struggle, and I think this has been the most positive one I have found online. Thank you and the other commenters for their insight which as made me think a lot.

  • WKC

    I’m about to turn 35 and have been in the same career for ten years. I’m currently working in a start-up type environment and I hate it. I’m doing okay but I’m not rich. I live in Los Angeles and I like it here a lot. Working out and going hiking on the weekends is the only thing that is saving me right now. I am college educated. I’ve had nothing but health problems since I turned 25, it prematurely ended my time in grad school, I need good health insurance, and this was my “default” career. It’s stable and everyone perceives me as good at it, so I stuck with. I don’t know what else to do. I feel like I don’t want to work at all, honestly. I am in a grey office with no windows all day long. I have nothing tying me down (apart from the need to make money to live on) but not enough savings to do something crazy and fun like buying a shack in the desert, fixing it up, and becoming a homesteader. I have other ideas pertaining to going back to school but the loans scare me. I worked and lived at home in an abusive environment while in college and it negatively effected my grades, my time to graduation, and I still ended up with loans to pay (but a small amount- $14K). I’m not sure what to do…

  • L. miller francis

    Cool Blog. Very helpful. Thanks!

  • darrell johnson

    I really enjoy reading all of the comments that I’ve just read i just turned 30 myself and I’ve had lots of jobs and yet i still cant seem to find out where im supposed to be and now I know that I’m not the only one feeling that way

  • Taylor Downing

    Wow, this blog couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m 32 and now contemplating two huge choices, but my big dream is to move back to NYC and live comfortably. I’ m stuck between becoming a nurse or going into the entertainment field to become a writer/ producer . I love both helping and entertaining people, I just don’t know what to do. However, I do know I don’t want to stay at my current job.

  • Saf

    Its great to find people out there who are in exactly in the same boat as me. I’m 31 and have been asking myself what it is that I’m destined for. I’ve been through a few jobs and then I hit 29 and thought “I know what I’ll go back to uni to fulfil my dream of being a teacher!!!” and have just done my PGCE to become that primary school teacher. I’ve just worked 2 terms and feel that I want to leave…way more stress than anybody who’s not a teacher will ever understand…. Every other teacher I know loves their job…what is wrong with me… Why can’t I stick it out? should I stick it out?

    I want to do a lot of things, anything besides what I am currently doing, I just feel so tied down. Everybody I know just keeps saying ” what now!” because I can’t seem to make my mind up and keep changing careers… I’m like a kid in a candy store and like what others are doing, but when it comes to the crunch, I simply can’t seem to find that job I’m passionate about…. What a to do…Totally LOST!!!

    • A

      Saf, I wasn’t planning on writing, but I had to laugh when I read your comment – not at you, but because it reminds me so much of myself! You are definitely not alone in feeling like teaching is quite possibly one of the craziest and most stressful jobs around — at least for many of us — and you’re so right about how no one can possibly understand unless they’ve tried it too (though everyone thinks they know, having been students once!)

      I also went back to school to be a teacher at age 29, thinking it made so much sense after my life of wandering and exploring during my 20s…but pretty soon it became clear that it’s not for me, as much as I loved some aspects of it, like the connections with kids. I tried to stick it out – I taught for 3 years after my degree, but I switched schools every year, looking for something more sustainable (which then made it more difficult to be sustainable, of course — oops). At the end of last school year I quit again, telling myself that I just need to accept that teaching’s not for me, and that’s ok — but I haven’t found the next thing yet. I’m considering becoming a therapist/social worker, actually, because I think that’s inherently closer to who I am than teaching ever was. But it’s scary to contemplate going back – the money for school, the time to get licensed (in the states, it’ll be probably 4 years or so before I can practice on my own) – the stress of human services work, and of course, the low pay. Mostly, I’m terrified of making another “mistake” like I did with teaching. I know this isn’t the only way to look at it – when I’m in a more positive place I can spin it differently – but for me, what people are speaking of here feels certainly true: life after 30 suddenly feels a lot shorter and decisions feel so much weightier. Such a paradox, because we need to be taking action and letting go of these fears, but the fears can feel even heavier at this time of life, since we no longer feel as timeless and invincible as we may have when we were younger. (How can we get over this!)

      Anyway, I just wanted to impart 3 things:
      1) You’re so totally not alone. Teaching is hard as shit.
      2). If you think you MIGHT possibly have it in you to stick with teaching, consider giving it a shot for another year or two. Beginning teaching is notoriously hard, but it can get easier, really. Don’t do what I did and move around every year – stay in the same place, ideally with the same grade level, so you can get your curriculum down and work on all-important things like classroom management. Seek out other beginners who are also muddling through so you can laugh and commiserate about your days in your 5 minutes of free time. Find a mentor who can offer you encouragement and pointers. From what I can tell from my friends who stayed with it in the same school for going on 4-5 years now – it has gotten a lot better for them. Much less stressful. Even some weekends back!
      3) But if you quit – it’s ok.

      Good luck to you, and to everyone!

  • Hanin

    Hi, i’m 28, married, mother to a 3 year old, and careerless. I have a degree in international business management, but i have no experience. My son goes to preschool. I feel the need to have a career, but i just don’t know where to start. I feel depressed. I want to get pregnant again, but i’m worried that will only pull me back. I’m into hair and make-up and art and that kind of stuff. Also, i don’t want to neglect my child and family.

  • Kay

    Hey A,

    My story is so similar. I struggled most of my twenties…being ambitious, determined but never knowing what I wanted to pursue or my strengths and abilities. I have also struggle with a bad relationship (got married @ 24) and anxiety issues. I had a child at 28. By 29, I went back through an alternative teaching program and taught in public schools for a year. Teaching is definitely a rewarding career if its what you really want to do. I disliked the enormous pressure and responsibilities require to be successful at it. Also, I am introverted and love working with individuals on an one to one and in group scenarios. I quit teaching after one year. The only good thing that came out of it was that later I finally figured out what I really want to do and how to pursue it. I really want to be a therapist/ social worker or LCSW. I know that this is perfectly suits my personality and my interests. I am about 4 days from turning 30 but I am encouraged because now more than at anytime in my life…I feel that I have purpose and confidence for the future.

  • L

    I’m 31, have a college degree, and I’m one of the 3 million Americans in my age range working a job that requires no education. I hate my life.

  • Kate

    I’m in my early 30s going on 34. I lost myself to an abusive relationship at the same time had an excellent career in property management. I did that for years. I was good at it. However, that went south. I lost it while running from my abusive partner. Ever since, it seems like I never found anything that I could stick with and become someone. I read the comments below and above everyone seems so professionally career oriented. They are set to move forward with what they already established it’s quite easy to make a change in any direction.
    Losing me to my past I am so lost that I have not found a direction yet. It’s so hard watching everyone pass me by living in glory in their 30s. I feel like I failed at this. It’s too late to change. I cannot go back to college and used up my financial aid. So I hit a fork in the road there with a half completed Bachelors Degree. That is where I am at. Am I the only one here not afraid to admit this? Am I wallowing in it? Not at all. I am just trying to find myself again. We all walk our own paths and our own journeys. We’re on our own paths for a reason. I firmly believe that. Sometimes it’s by choice, by fortune, or destined. I do not know where I am going to go in life. However, I am not one that is not ashamed to speak of life in 30s from this perspective-that feeling stuck and afraid it’s too late feeling in your 30s. I’ll figure it out. I always do.

  • Chris

    I grew up wanting to explore the world and be a film maker, after graduating I went to teach english in South Korea in search of inspiration and adventure. So off I went at 23 stayed for 2 years made many short films and animations then went travelling in se Asia and India for 6 months, made 2 documentaries independently about ngo s. Went back to the uk had a screening of the documentarys as a fund raiser, thought I was now set to enter the film industry and fulfill my childhood ambitions. Couldn’t get a job, couldn’t work for free so ended up driving vans, quit and returned abroad to South Korea at 26. Had a relationship with a Korean women which ended made more films and became interested in art psychotherapy as it seemed to encapsulate what I loved about the arts and what I did through my films. Went to cambodia at age 30 and set up a project teaching young disadvantaged cambodians filmmaking and media art skills, almost started an art therapy masters but was blind sided by falling in love with someone. Off we went to malaysia to start work as teacher development mentors in rural schools, lovely job, lovely time developing local people and exploring se Asia and getting paid quite well for it. Relationship went sour after 3 years I missed home and wanted a family, we had different ambitions and desires and at 34 I decided to leave having completed a distance MA degree in Education and started a coach training course. Fell in love again with someone I truly believe In a future with and am engaged to be married have moved finally back to the uk, am unemployed and looking to get work in mental health with a view to becoming a psychotherapist, coaching course is going well I. Have 2 clients and expect to get more this year in which I turn 35. Career change is a constant for me, I know what I do but I have had many roles that encapsulate that and the roles change and develop. I want to stay creative, in a helping role and with friends, love and family around me. I want to stay adventurous be it in the uk, abroad whatever I don’t believe in limits, I don’t believe that 30 is too late, people shift and change all the time, love happens all the time, my mother got married at 60. I do worry that I don’t have a clearly defined profession, I describe myself as a coach, esl teacher, educator, mentor, developer of people, I want to deepen my practice in a more focused way and I want to affect positive change in the world creatively , that’s why I wanted to become a filmmaker! I wanted my films to change the way people think. Now I do that same thing more directly through coaching and education. The only limits are what one puts upon themselves .

  • bastard9

    Ohh! This is nice, and such a comfort to read this late night..! I’m turning 31 later this year and am still working at the side job that was meant to sustain me throughout my internship that already ended half a year ago.

    I’ve decided I want to be what I always used to want to be before I started uni, but am severely procrastinating. Obviously I’m scared that it’s too late; I’ll fail; it’s a luxury I can’t and shouldn’t want to afford. That sort of stuff..! Thanks for giving me a little more of an incentive, because all I’ve become since the turn of the new year is more passive. Good luck to all

  • mlw314

    I am 32 and currently in a miserable Ph.D. program doing biomedical research. It use to be my dream job doing research but my eyes are open now. The environment is very negative and it’s killing my spirit and now I no longer have a desire to stay in the field and would like to branch out into clinical science. I have started networking and would like to get a position in a clinical lab upon my graduation. I also have been looking into another degree program for physician assistant (which I strongly consider persuing back in my 20s) but I am not sure I have it in me for more schooling now that I have a growing family. I also have a desire to get involved in nonprofits geared at helping inner city kids. I currently am a board member on a great nonprofit doing just that so I am getting my feet wet but I would like to start one of my own that has a different mission. With all that said I am having trouble with the transition and I do have an I don’t give a f#%k attitude about finishing my degree and leaving on a good note. I am totally dragging my feet and no longer interested in my current research position but I know I should finish on a good note to get good recommendation letters and move on. I am very bitter and disappointed that it didn’t work out and disappointed that I wasted all these years on very little salary to

  • Kate

    I am feeling a lot lately like I’m trapped in the wrong career – the worst part is I knew it when I was in architecture school! I’m 27 now, working in the field and finding it unfulfilling to my soul… starting to get more serious about possibly switching careers.
    I am not sure on what direction I’d like to go in – sometimes I say “science”, sometimes “self-employment / blogging” (is that even a career), and sometimes I wonder if I should just take a few years off to have kids – having a happy family has always been a HUGE life goal of mine.
    I’m lucky enough to have a super supportive and loving husband who encourages me to find my own path. Unfortunately “happy family” isn’t really a career path, or even a direction; and there are so many considerations with a career change – finances, what if I hate it, stability, success, etc…
    Not sure what I can do to move myself ahead – most times I am frozen with fear over the decision. I have to do SOMETHING though, I’ve been slowly wilting away for 10 years in the same career, and it’s time to take my life into my own hands and change it for the better.

  • Kaitlyn

    I am toying with the idea of changing careers again. (I’m only 25) I was a body piercer, a chef, and most recently a hairstylist. My problem isn’t lack of passion I LOVE doing hair but after almost 6 years behind the chair my back hurts, my neck hurts, my knees hurt, my shoulders hurt, and now I have the beginning symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Despite the abuse I am putting on my body I still only make just above minimum wage. So who am I benefitting in this career cause it sure ain’t me.

  • SundusJ

    Wonderful post and really inspiring responses! I found this post just at the right time. I’m currently a stay at home mom of two and looking for work. I am dreading returning to work because I really don’t like what I do and a career change seems like an impossible task .
    I was in tears because I feel so lost. The I read stories from all these amazing people and I feel positive again. I think I’m going to keep coming back here whenever I feel down and negative!

    Thank you so much

  • David

    Music has always been my passion , I have been a musician 20 years and studied at a royal academy. I gained some success in a rock band for about ten years and am now making the move into scoring for games and movies ,I don’t come from a privileged background like some people and have worked my ass off to get anything I have made but it just seems like there is no money to be earned anymore as music has become so devalued and other composers are willing to work for free because they can , it is a massive problem . It has become soul destroying for me to see the thing I’ve loved for so long start to crumble into dust , I feel like I am drowning. I really do think your thirties are when your dreams are truley crushed. I have other things I love like working on cars and fixing things as I have an electrical trade I studied as well. ,these are the things I have to do now to support myself financially , which is a joke when you think of it as am qualified , have 20 years experience and educated in a creative field. People say follow your dreams , But dreams and ambition have caused me nothing but heartbreak.

  • teetee

    Am 30 and am facing that ‘ what have I achieved’ so far moment..especially as I have a 1 year old kid, am pregnant and I plan to be a stay at home mum for a couple of years. My main worry is, when I decide to return to the work force…would I be up to date?

  • Gladys kamupira

    Am a 33 year old female with 3kids and no qualifications am a full time housewife bt i want to do something am tired of living the same life my dream is to become a nurse one day bt i dont know where to start

    • CT

      Totally in reach. Just start with a couple of courses at your local community college. Get your feet wet, feel good learning, and volunteer at the hospital if you can.

  • CT

    Hi! I’m 30, have a master’s and the debt to show for it, and have been floating around different fields for six years now, quitting or finishing up a contract and then looking for the next wildly different direction, without ever sticking something out long enough to have solid career prospects in it. Too many interests at first, and then increasing levels of anxiety, depression, and fear of failure/being left behind as I jumped from ship to ship. I don’t know how to start something without feeling like it has to be long-term and meaningful, without seeing where it could lead (at which point I would probably conclude I don’t like where I’m headed). I’ve got some famous nstitutions on my resume, and I’ve worked in Japan and China, but other than that I have nothing serious or stable to show for it. I’m tired of the search, but my pride tells me I need to have a great career with travel opportunities and good work-life balance, and “selling stuff” overtly is out in my mind. So, I’ve woven a perfect trap of indecision for myself. How do I get out?

  • Ka

    Hey everyone! I’m really glad I came across this page, I’m 32, I recently quit my job with no plans. I’ve been in the coffee industry for nearly 9 years. I’ve loved 8 of the 9 years whole heartedly. I spent my 20s trying to be serious, trying to move up and maybe one day open my own shop. I’ve been managing for 2 years and I realized that no, I definitely do not want one of my own. I spent my 20s going from one long monogamous relationship to another and the same with jobs. Jobs that didnt even allow me time off because i was dead set on only working for small businesses. I was trying to be an adult, get married, make money and one day I’ll be able to afford to travel. Well.. None of that made me happy. I broke up with my boyfriend, moved into a house of my own, got a dog (best decision I’ve ever made btw) and now, nearly 2 years single, Im going to travel! I probably didn’t save enough money, I have no idea what job I’ll do next, but my soul is screaming at me to live! To wake up somewhere new, to try something scary, and I’m pretty sure ill find something amazing. I don’t need a lot of money or things. I am trying to shed the belief system that we’ve all been raised on. The one that tells you to go to school, get a degree, buy a house, acquire debt and save money until you can retire and do the things youve always wanted to do at nearly 70 years old! If you have food to eat, shelter and any kind of job, you’re doing ok. Imagine the lives all over the world. People live in mud huts and still spend an entire day just getting water. In china, the apartments are the size of your closet! We’re all going to be ok. Just spend your life enjoying what you can. Be happy. Good luck to all of you!

    • Rudy

      I’m 32 and just now trying to get my life together I’m a father a family man but on 10.hr but how and what kind i do that i love to do in 40 years I love to work on TV set movies set setting up things plz feed bk I’m rudy my email address is rbaraider@gmaIl.com

  • Niharika

    On Feb 2014 I turned 30s ….no career no family I’m no where now….failure in a love relationship.. False marriage…and again was trying someone to whom I can depended my self…but all was worthless….I tried to restablishe my career but not finding the right path….when I see back I was full of joy in my 20s but today I feel that I done nothing to improve my self….I was forcefully attracted towards smoking now become a chain smoker…sometimes feel I need to get rid off from these situation but never get the right guidance or says no one is there with whom I can share my all failures…. Sometimes want to be alone and I think I will be alone with empty hands….please advice if someone really contact with my msg…

  • Joe Soirreb

    I’m 34 years old guy (I’m not sure if I should be writting here because I just saw comments from the female counterpart). But anyway… I’m happy for all of the people that have been able to have it better after 30’s. In my case I don’t really feel that way at all. I have lost my job (15 years in a financial company and kaboom its all gone). Me and the mother of my baby decided to conceive a kid in the “top of our love”…After she gave birth the our baby boy suddenly she started to hate my guts like every breath I take literally irrates her.. Also she “found God” and she have “changed a lot” so I think that her new found glory somehow told her that I am part of the evil side of life or something which have really caused me to question the real purpose of “chrisitianity” or whatever religion for this purpose. Anyways you got the point. After 32 (in my case) it all went south. Sorry for being the black cloud on a sunny sky. I hope in the future I can share the joy of a good story with you all.

  • sara

    Nice blog and I needed it! Am changing my career atm….. with with am action plan and slowly…. I need to keep day job for a while longer as I have a 7 year old boy and 2 year old little girl to feed. But I am not afraid to change and live the dream, so will soon take the jump!!!

  • Gunjan sharma

    I did btech but i didnt want to persue science field. I got a technical job where i cudnt perform. Might be i was afraid due to politics in the office or i had some other interests in life. So i quit my job in one year. And prepared 2years for goy job. That even didnt give results amd was taking lot of time. I compared myself with my friends who were now 2 years ahead of me and felt bad. I am planning to do an easy job for earning and also side by side preparing for the govt job.

  • Laura Boyd

    I am 32 (33 this Friday) I live in Scotland and have just moved back in with my parents! Ahhhhhhhhh! I have done so much in my life but still I’m not content. I left school and studied musical theatre in the big smoke of London, it was amazing but London was too big and too bad for me! So I moved home, a bit lost I decided to head to Ireland and stayed with family and worked in bars and local shops, awesome fun but… I wanted to go home so after 6 months I moved back to Scotland, had a few different jobs, but then I decided I wanted to do something rewarding! I then headed to india for 6 months to teach English! Sooooo amazing but after 6 months I was, you guess it ready to come home! I then took a job in an office thinking yeah I will settle down but nope I soon found my way back in collage doing music again! I was going to teach! I got through my HNC met a boy and half way through my HND I quit! Took a full time job at A store, made great friends but boy and me ended so guess what I needed a change in jobs, the change in jobs lead me to want to travel more and ended up going to Canada travelling for, you guessed it 6 months. I came back again thinking I’m ready to settle and got a job in oil and gas I lasted 3 years doing this but was unhappy through the but of it, so I quit travelled around for a bit then found a sailing company and sailed the Atlantic with 8 amazing ladies! I thought I could do anything after this sailing trip! I felt alive, rewarded with loads of skills I had gained and great wisdom from all I met! I was ready to come home again but one year on in right back where I started, in a job i don’t want to be in and no idea what to do! I have loved my life but I’m ready to find where I should be. I wish I could give advise but the truth is I have loved my life but at the age of 32/33 I’m ready for an adventure that’s gonna last! Fingers crossed I find it!

  • tejaswini

    Hello frnds.i found this site vry intresting as well as inspiring for those who afraid to new decision & steps in their lyf.the same situation I was going through. I hve not turn 30 yet but the situation,is like aftr engg graduation I started my job as lect were I enjoyd in strating few years bt by d time I,realised that there is no growth and new opportunitues I really wanted to explor myself so I take decisionto wuit job I started smthng new coz I really feel that may,I would succed there bt I,seroisly font wnt regret when I turned back that I hv not even tried to change the things.

  • Tim

    I just turned 32 I don’t feel like I’m this old in my late 20s to 31 I spent those year weighing 330 lbs I’ve lost 120 lbs and feel like I’m making up for lost time I’m teaching English in Peru as a volunteer. I feel unfulfilled because I’ve I’m 32 and want to start fresh in a new career and I feel 25 but when it comes to careers I feel like hiring wise I might as well be 40

  • Emerald

    Hi. I turned 31 last May. I have no college degree or career. I have never had that opportunity come my way even though I’ve always tried so hard. I only got my stay in Ireland and I believe I can peruse that dream and passion in my life but it overwhelms me when I think of it. When I was younger my dream was to become an interpreter as I love learning new languages. But with life’s hardships that dream have somehow worn out and, even though I’m so looking forward in going to college this September coming. I really have no idea whatsoever that I want to do. I have a diploma in beauty specialist techniques and some Certs in business studies. My goal is to be job secured and also be involved in something that I enjoying doing. I was in a great relationship for a year and two month with my boyfriend and he has a great job. He travels a lot and works abroad. And I love him very much, but I saw something that really broke my heart and my self esteem and confidence as he seemed to look down on me in that area of my life and I felt very down. I worked as a sales assistant in a department store and even though I wasn’t earning enough it was paying my bills. But he would compare me to other women’s success and bully me. It opened my eyes to stand on my two feet and go after my dreams. I almost gave up on everything that makes me want to live. I know I’m not where I want to be yet, but I trust in God that with me being open minded to life opportunities, it’s going to be ok. Also looking forward in settling down soon as I love children and would love to have my own soon. I enjoy traveling, house decorating, writing, meeting new people, products sampling and trying new thinks. I would welcome any advice in this journey of college that I’m looking to embark on and also some help with courses that you think will benefits me or that I’d be interested in. Thank you for your great blog. For it has inspired me.

  • James

    Im 29 and I am in an extremely manual labor intensive job. I really enjoy my career that I went to school for and have 13 years invested in. I am becoming aware of my body starting to wear from the work, I don’t want to be 50 and not able to go for a hike or pick up my grandchildren. This fact alone has me considering some drastic changes that wouldn’t be conducive to mortgage payments and my children’s college funds. Changing careers seems impossible and scary! Thanks for letting me share

  • Lure

    Thank you Gabriel, Im happy finding this blog. I’ll be 34 twenty days from now, Im looking for an opportunity to have a better paid job. In my 20s I was career hopping, from a supervisor to an office girl to a helper then jobless for 2yrs and to think I am an Engineering graduate. So, I became so desperate to work abroad because I know I have a great chance to reach my ultimate dream, Travel. At early 30s a lifeguard to a supervisor and now 8 – 6.5 Office Girl. 2015 was a dream come true I went to 4 countries. I worked to travel, no savings, no tangible asset or investment. This past few days I felt so scared and stressed, I only have few years to work for my retirement. I have this tag of war thoughts of “Life is to short, go, travel and be happy” and “What if I reached 50s, 60s or much older, I have nothing!” I want/need a career leap to have both (travel & retirement plan) but I dont know how, Im not artistic nor skilled, my degree became no use. Thou I keep on knocking, pushing and asking to be blessed.

  • Matt

    I want to add my thoughts to your blog. It is definitely reassuring to know that I’m not alone and there are a lot of us out there trying to balance financial obligations and current commitments.

    My circumstances are such that I work in an average paying position as retail assistant manager. I also study part time at uni. Luckily my wife also works so she can help out a lot. She has been lucky in finding her career. I sometimes dream of being an executive on a six figure salary but then look at my own strengths and weaknesses and think it wouldn’t suit me.

    I’m very much drawn to caring professions and medicine. They lead to well paying jobs but the path takes a few years of study. I feel the hastening of time at 33. We are talking of having kids and my current job is too pitifully low to support them. I don’t want to be trapped in this current job for a few more years as it wastes unused skills and it is very physically taxing on my body.

    There are other options for career changes like getting new certificates and transitioning to a new career and working hard at it to get promoted to decent wages.

    I remain confused about what jobs I would be suited to but want to move in a direction of healthcare and get the opportunities to establish a side project of a non for profit.

    But like most people, money and time (or lack thereof) is driving a lot of my decisions and anxiety about the future.

  • Ronaldo

    Turned 33 in February but still feels young. I got into very technical professions as Flight Dispatch and Air Traffic Control the previous couple of years but never really suited my personality so I ended up teaching Calculus! I couldn’t really regret what happened in the past because those were beyond my control. So just optimistically looking forward for what’s ahead. Life is short. Enjoy the present. Keep finding your passion.

    Have a great day!

  • M

    I just turned 30 last week and I am proud of myself. Some of the comments on here seem depressing. 30 is still YOUNG especially in this day and age. I graduated college and couldn’t find something in my career, I worked several jobs and volunteered at a hospital and a large event, at 29 I started my business in a firm and I am in school upgrading to get into RN, I hope to become a NP when school is all done. I am not married, I don’t have kids, I love at home with my mom and I am just starting out, I don’t think my life is over, I have 35 years till I retire and I don’t know what 40 is going but I think it will be better, so ppl stop stressing! Imagine if a 40 or 50 year old was reading some of what your saying about it being too late, they would probably laugh. 30 is just getting your feet in the water, put I’ve chose to go in with feet :)

  • Charlotte

    Great article! I just turned 29 and am in panick mode… Don’t actually know my head from my arse right now. I know what I need deep down but something has been preventing me, my own mind and self belief! I come from a performing arts background and this is all I have ever wanted; a creative career as an actor or musician – I’ve tried many things and always come back to the same thing. I don’t know where to start but I know that something has to give!

    Good luck everyone

    Charlotte X

  • franklyn

    I got married at d age of 30,without the true consent of my parents cos they were against the marriage since I was just a young graduate still searching for a job and till date things have not moved in positive direction at all.. Each day I feel like I married d wrong woman bcos it all happened bcos she was pregnant. I keep running into one debt or d other on a daily basis ,just to take care of d kids(2children)and every of my family n frnds have deserted me. I always just want to quit d marriage on a daily basis , as that is d only thing DAT comes to my mind daily. I feel am in bondage. I can’t really do d tinz I love to do.. I can’t actually fulfill my dreams anymore.. I feel am in serious shit unless I move out. Am 35now yet not achieved anything in life.. Am a graduate but jobless,broke,in debt and highly depressed.. Suicide comes to my mind everyday.. Am just so confused and dnt know if I shud just take d action of quitting d marriage and starting a life afresh bcos that’s wat my instinct keeps telling me. Pls advice

  • Olayinka

    Brilliant article and great perspective, I must say I enjoyed the comments as much as I enjoyed the write-up.
    In my mid-thirties now (35 in September), and I only just discovered my purpose and passion (What I’m supposed to be doing with my life). I have gone through all the levels of academia even bagging in a PhD over 2 years ago, but never felt the fulfilment I longed for. Once I discovered my acres of diamond towards the end of last year, I swung into action and started putting things together. I knew I was gifted with forming relationships and was already into public speaking. Without wasting more time, I began in earnest and with all the energy I had in my body. Began studying and researching on public speaking, combined with changing my lifestyle – what I ate, and did, how much time I spent watching TV, who I hung out with and much more.

    This discovery completely revolutionised my entire way of life. Eight months on this epic discovery journey, I’m looking to establishing my brand and business as a transformational entrepreneur focusing on motivational speaking coaching, training and mentoring. My podcast will launch in a few weeks time and the website is almost ready too. What I must say is this though; it’s been the most difficult 8 months of my life. It’s been hard and rough, but by God’s grace I’m pulling through and I know by active faith all these hard work will pay off soon.

    I believe that everyone has that purpose and can work it to fulfilment and success with discipline and commitment. I’ve also learned however that if you are really bent on making a difference, the only thing standing in your way is making that decision. The question then remains, are you ready to take that step? If anyone is interested, before Podcast launch in three (3) weeks time, I’ll post the link to listen and follow.

    Once more I appreciate this forum and the many insights I have come across, never give and stay focused and positive y’all.

    Thanks Gabriel

    Olayinka

  • josh

    I’m approaching 30 in about a month. Throughout my 20s I’ve held firmly the belief never to regret nor let opportunities slip away. The result of which has been dropping out of university, working a myriad of casual jobs across varying industries from starting my own cleaning business, selling video games, event promotion and even entertaining princesses in a Japanese butler cafe in Tokyo. 25 I returned to university to broaden my horizons, a journey spanning 5 years across 5 different countries. I’m finally graduating and am at a bit of a crossroads as to what the next step is. The past years have been most certainly exciting but there lies the nagging fear that perhaps these adventures are prolonging maturity and adulthood. After being away for such a long time I’ve found myself at odds with my friends and family back in Australia all of whom have pursued professional career development. As I write this im back in Taiwan visiting a few friends and flirting with the idea of teaching English here for a year. This mindset comes about as I’ve found it tricky finding a full time job back in Australia also considering mandarin isn’t a skill I want to lose I think I’d like to stay in Taiwan a bit longer purely because I don’t want to look back and think “what if”. But then again teaching English won’t progress my career and feels like any prospect of working in a professional sense will forever fade. Perhaps it’s the stark realization that my 20s are behind me or an inability to let go of the international lifestyle. I really don’t know. The bizarre thing is that I was fairly sure that I should return to Australia and tough it out to find a job but then here in Taiwan on my last day something amazing happened. The most gorgeous girl came up to me and asked me where she might find a notebook shop. I directed her and we shared 20 minutes chatting and got on really well. and even though we’ve literally just met the romantic in me tells me to stay in Taiwan because this may be a “sign” which sounds completely ridiculous. I probably sound like a complete nutbag but to be honest I’m confused as hell. If anyone has been in similar circumstances advice would be much appreciated.

  • Ryan

    I had a natural talent at Rugby League from a young age. My father being a ARL professional league player before it became NRL with the western suburb magpies saw this and encouraged me at every game.
    Some years later I played the last game of the Penrith Panthers season and played out of my skin and earned a position in next years squad. I had always had issues keeping running fit being a 6″3 120kg forward I decided in the off season I would get ready like I never had and was as fit as I could ever had been I work hard. First week of training with the team was great I was full of confidence and had a feeling a good feeling I was going to make something of myself.
    But fate had something in store for me I would have never dreamt of in my worst nightmare.
    After training one afternoon my father called explaining he had taken my motorcycle to his health club and he wanted me to drop his car off to him and ride my bike home. I tried to say I don’t have any safety gear but he flipped and I thought it’s not far home ok I’ll come pick it up.
    After picking the bike up I turned right then left and the right onto the Main Street. What happened next has changed my life my confidence and my self worth the hopelessness till this day.

    Riding up the main road home I went through a set of traffic lights and the next thing I remember I was in a hospital bed waking up from a two week drug induced coma my left arm and knee were ripped apart tendons and muscle all gone.
    I sat in that hospital bed thinking I’ve lost my whole life not being the best at school even though I did complete my H.S.C. I had nothing to fall back on and no one to guide me now my father knew I would never be the same he decided I was becoming a problem for his new relationship and demanded I move out.
    I was very good at sales and loved being in the gym so I decided to apply for a membership sale job within 3 months I was general manager of two clubs. The money was terrible but I didn’t know what else I would be go at doing all I knew is that I had a very good talent of knowing who my client was and what they wanted and always closed the sale. Now I was offered a position to be a manager of a private gym who needed memberships to increase seeing a massive increase in wage and another challenge I took it, little did I know the boss was stealing the membership money and the buisness was set to fail. When I came to work one day no more job.
    Now I’ve turned 30 and just feel so lost I’m unemployed and the last thing I want to do is go back into a gym. I’m 30 my partner wants children but is the bread winner. The feeling of not knowing what to do but having talents a natural ability at building solid trusting relationships with clients and sales and buisness management and not being able to use them is depressing. All I need is a chance with the right place for me and I will kill it. But have no idea what. Anyway hope people enjoy the read and I’m always happy to help people.

    • Hannah

      I’m so sorry to hear about your accident and the situation with your father, Ryan, and I think it’s fantastic how, despite all the hurdles, you have found something you are really good at, pursued it and feel confident doing.

      Don’t be put off by your experiences working at gyms. Good people skills are really important in every company! There are lots of serious businesses out there that need your talent, pay well and offer stability. Think about applying for a Sales position in a Software company, for example, or working in real estate. Or, since you like sports, you can look at Sales/PR jobs in a sports equipment manufacturer such as Adidas, ASICS, New Balance, Nike or Wilson.

      Best of luck

  • Ben S

    Hi all, so I’m 34 ! And I’ve tried a whole load of different things in my years. I was the manager of a health club and swim school for years, which I enjoyed cause I was into fitness and the gym etc.. until one day I sort of felt that this was no longer me. Like it was mentioned earlier – it worked for me the but now I’m not interested. I alwAys wanted to learn Spanish so I have recently moved to Spain, where I am now sitting in a library – writing this. ( I’ve just done 4 hours espanol). Now I keep thinking what brings me joy that is sustainable – ? I.e drinking brings me joy ( and subsequent pain!) but I can’t do that everyday otherwise .. well for obvious reasons. I love singing and playing the guitar, I mean I LOVE it. So that’s my answer right ? Well .. hmmm.. here’s the thing – I only picked up the guitar about a year ago so in years away from being able to make a silver dollar off that. Should I just do a boring job whilst I play guitar until one day I can make a living off it? You see the corporate / suitable job / gym manager whatever is easy enough to get … but this feeling I get is that I would rather pour acid into my eyes then spend my time on this earth doing that for any more years. Time is as we all now the one you thing we can’t create. So sometime I think – perhaps I should take out a loan .. and go somewhere where I could live cheaply – and concentrate on learning the guitar. This romantic intention ends with emerging like a butterfly playing fantastic music that brings joy to me and all those the care to hear it. On one hand – what a fantastic adventure! On the otherhand – are you crazy boy!? You go and get a r al job and stop shirking hard work and repobsibilty! But then a few years pass and I climb the ranks of job titles ( oooh in no “area manager” ) and then I think “man if only I had gone to India all those years ago, I would be fantastic by now “. I can’t seam to figure it out, but as I age I get a little more desperate. Does anyone feel me?

  • Tika

    I’m turning 30 next year and now get into life crisis. I live in Asia that may be the way of living here is different from west but well speaking that family pressure will always come first in east. I worked as a financial analyst in banking industry couple years ago with a very well income, but found that it was not what I’m looking for and quit after 3 years struggle. I planned to have my own business and spent my first 4 months for enjoying my life, I traveled a lot, tried to start my business and suddenly found that I didn’t have enough plan and knowledge to start my business. On the other way, I struggled from my family pressure that I should find a new job, get married soon, bla bla bla.. I was so depressed and started to think then decided to continue my study. Now, I’m still single, a student of master degree and on my way to finish my study this year. During my spare time, I try many new things, I start to learn how to sewing, paper-quilling and even learn a new language that it is in my list since I was 24. I am happy to do those things but I know it’s not enough for living.

    I am hardly thinking about my life after my friends (mostly 23-24 years old guys)asking me what I am going to do after finishing my study. Starting my own business? Well, I just realized that I dont have enough money left to do so. I still don’t know what my passion is. Many jobs may be widely open after I got my master, should I find a new job and forget about my own business for while and wait until I have enough money to start? Is having my own business is what Im looking for? I need money for living, anyway. Shortly, I don’t really know what I am going to do.

    I found this article and realized that I have a lot of worries in my mind that let me can’t think clearly and decide something for my life. All I need to do right now is just calm myself, think clearly, decide wisely and even everything is not working as I thought, at least I do something. Life is not always what we want, sometimes stumble on something is a signal that I am still alive and be grateful for it. Thanks Gabriela and everyone who shared their story here… Hope we are always happy while finding what we are looking for in life.. ^^

  • David B

    I’m interested in working for myself. I’ve been buying furniture to clean up or repair to sell part time. bartender full time. I’m interested in learning new things. but feel like I need to pick something quick. I’m pushing 30. I want to get out of the restaurant industry. although bartending has significant benefits.. Please contact me.

  • Angie

    Success is whatever you feel content with. There are people who are professionally ahead, making great money, young approaching 30 or at 30 with more stride than others around them in their 40s/50s…. And still feel lost in life. A career is a profession; a profession is a job you choose to do or are very functional at.

    It doesn’t always make you happy or fulfilled, or like you aren’t lacking.

    Whatever your personal definition of success is and if you try to strive for it…. That is what defines your life. You can either take it, leave it, or work at it. That’s living.

  • Chalise

    I think I started to freak out before my 25th birthday. I’d been the traveller, lucky enough to get away at the drop of a hat.
    But with that freedom obviously comes a lack of responsibilities.
    Fast forward 7 years.
    I’ve just turned 31, returned from a 4 1/2 month stint in Africa.
    Still no responsibilities.
    Only now, I have a great boyfriend, I want a family some day, I don’t want to live with my auntie anymore, I want a decent salary.
    I’m still freaking out.
    I have no skills.
    I have no idea what I want to do.
    Time is not on my side.
    Panicking, panicking, panicking.
    What the f*** do I do from here?

  • Anthony Mazza

    My name is Anthony, and I am 36, and holy crap am I panicking. I was in specialized retail sales for years, and did pretty well. The schedule was difficult, but I was making money, so I did not incorporate college. Here I am at 36, 1 semester of an associates degree finished, and dependent on the folks. The most amazing, positive person, who was the love of my life has semi given up on me and moved out due to me not providing stability- and also not wanting to wait around to see if school will actually help me get back to being independent. I was more independent 10 years ago, and it is devastating to be in this position. I am in school because I know having credentials is important, but I still can’t for the life of me tell you what I’m attending for. I never felt great about school, but I do enjoy learning. I’m not in the position to be in school just wandering what to shoot for. I am lucky to have parents that think school is the only way, and always want to help pay for it. I just am struggling through, and it really doesn’t feel right, nor do I see a means to an end. I also have always had some kind of cognitive obstructions that I have been trying to remedy through therapy, which makes my grades not the best. Fear is crippling me, but not fear of failing. Fear of having tried many different jobs after being laid off, and still not coming up with anything that I can do to be successful. I don’t want a big house and I don’t want a lot of things. I just want to be able to provide what I need for myself, and get my life back. I love myself, and I’m a damn good person, and there’s one special person knows that but has lost hope in me. Sorry for the sob story, but this is my real life and what I care about. They say that you’re supposed to love yourself, and then you can be great. Where am I going wrong?? Thank you for this website btw.

  • Ren30

    I’m 30 years old. And my biggest mistake was not planning . I’m laying awake every night Trying to figure out what my Purpose in life is. I know I love communicating. But lately I’m so depress I just wana Sleep all day. I’m even more observed off my looks .

  • Jonathan Lara

    I am 33 year old waiter, and I have finally realized how lost I am in life, I’m recently married and that’s also not going so well, my “career” has a lot to do with that! My wife Is beautiful smart and educated, she works in the finances and we have complete different schedules, therefore we don’t have much time for each other. I am terrified she might end up leaving me since she spends most of her time alone and getting used to not having me… I don’t want to be a waiter my whole life, I always just saw it as a temporary thing, but it is good “immediate money” hence why I left time pass by so fast without realizing what I’m losing. I just have no clue what to do with my life, i did go to university, just never graduated, I was doing a major in Italian and eventually just got fed up. I don’t know if going back to school is for me, I know I love traveling and I love the movie industry, however I live in quebec, and the film industry here is not a Forte, How do I find my calling, I need to save my self and my marriage, I need help, what to do??

  • Londonshaz

    Thanks for this article. I’m 35 this year and feel like I’ve been going through a bit of a 30s crisis myself. My first job after Uni was with a big Market Research agency and I was promoted, received bonuses and had a clear path of progression. This all looked great on paper, but the job was so stressful it made me ill. I didn’t recover until I left and went into a simple admin job where I could also have a life. I then moved house and took another admin job at a University, but I didn’t feel I had the opportunity to use my own initiative, so went to a different admin job, which turned out to be in HR. For a while now I’ve been thinking why am I still in this job that is going nowhere, with no room for progression? Then I started harking back to my original ‘successful’ job as though that would solve everything. So instead, I suggested taking on other tasks at work in Learning & Development, which has made it more interesting, and I’m now doing my HR qualification in my own time so that I learn more, don’t end up stuck, and have an actual ‘profession’ to my name. On the flip side, I also started a craft business on the side, which I’d love to make a full time job, and thankfully have been able to cut my work days down to 4 days so I can concentrate on that side. My inspiration is actually my mum – she worked in insurance, took qualifications that she was missing from her school career, volunteered in a care home and then retrained and became a care worker, did some more study and then finally became a probation officer, all in her late 40s to early 50s. Seriously, don’t give up on yourself because of age. We have been made to feel like we’re finished if we don’t have it all ‘sorted’ by 25. We constantly read blogs and articles by people who seem to have had instant success, but that’s not true. Don’t think you’re a failure because you’re not like them! Keep going. (I’m telling myself that daily too :))

  • ELIANA

    I can 100% relate to you all I am in my 30’s and well success hasn’t hit me in the face yet, I have actually fallen on my face severalll times but there continues to be this tingle in me that success is right around the corner. I woke up one day (not in my 30’s but more like late 20’s) and said today will be my last day working at my job. It sounded crazy at first and I thought of all the possible obstacles along the way as I was a new mom and soon to be selfish and jobless but somehow it all worked out. Now I am not trying to say go quit your job today here lol rather to look at where you are and ask if you are happy? If you see yourself in the same position for the next 10 plus years and if not well then it is time for an action plan! Trust me everything gets put into place after you come out the dark.

  • MoonLight

    Hi 29 and will be turning 30 in 6 months, been struggling through my career crisis from last 2 years, as i was never sure abt my interests and passion came in the flow and started working in a software company after working for 4 years i am fed up and have loosed all patience to stick with it.
    Finally 2 months back i have put down my papers and with a plan to first free myself along travelling i am hoping to clear my mind and dreams.
    I am a dreams always have very big things in my thoughts and i thinking have already wasted alot of time in that and now the time is for action.
    I don’t know jow would I survive but i am sure i will rise again back in perfectly desired way.

  • Nicole

    Yes I am also here round the corner desperately looking for the solution to my problems. I am actually in a big delima. I’m doing what I never wanted to and want to do what I have always dreamt of. But I’m in late twenties and somehow my dream seems bleak coz of many unavoidable situations. So should I really start dreaming of once again and go for what I want or 28years is too late???

  • Fauna p

    i am 30 now, with degree in bussiness adm but with no stable job. it has been 3 years now since i graduated in 2014, i hav worked as sales person in four different company, and now am jobless and dont know what to do. in my 20’s i loved sewing but never tried it, now am thinkin is it late for me to star a sewing and make it a career now, am not even married wont grow old with nothing.

  • Enrico Trama

    My Names Enrico, I’m 33 now, I been in electronic manufacturing for 10 years. I’m very depressed,and at my wits end. I have 3 dollars to my name,lost my bank account and health insurance.I cant even pay my bills I’m just stuck in my room alone, no wife, no girlfriend.Over the course of 9 years I’ve changed jobs more than I can count, maybe 20 different jobs I’ve held and I’m still nowhere. I’m still living with my mom in section 8 housing and its very sad to live this way.I’m a very hard worker I have a great resume I’m educated and multi-talented. I can pretty much fix anything, I play music and produce instrumentals. most of the jobs I’ve had I loved what I was doing but the manufacturing/tech companies in Long Island New York have very strange atmospheres. The many different people I’ve worked with were very mentally disturbed individuals. Most of the time I left each job to keep my sanity. Mental health is very important to me and these people I’ve had to deal with were very difficult and abusive mentally and physically which forced me to leave every time. I know god is planning a beautiful future for me !! I just hope something good happens soon because I’m literally dying.

  • Mary

    Am 33 now, am afraid I have wasted so many years back, I regret Them all, my foolishness, shame and failures I just feel like..I hope I can still move ahead.

  • Claudette Rose MacLeod

    This was wonderful to read. Thank you. Well, I am 38 years old and I’m going back to school while work 4 different jobs. Sounds crazy but it’s what I ha e to do to make it all work. Pay rent, and school. I am hoping to become a Historical Conservationist (some one who repaired, reprints, replicates and takes care of historical items for museums), as well as teach History, and Art. Most conservationist teach on the side, and the same for archeologists. Right now I Teacher art at Micheaks art stores as well as at my home studio. I also teach theater in the area. It’s s big step for me but I know I MUST do this! It’s a passion. Now let’s hope I can get through the Chmistry classes. Yikes! But I have hope and I know I can do it! By the way I am particularly blind, do to neurological damage from a car accident. I also have occasional blackouts from this. But I know that this is something I must do. It’s why I got slow down in the beginning with school. I don’t think age really matters in this. What matters is getting through life the best you can, paying the bills and hanging in there to do what you really want to do. It’s an experience and adventure and there may be ups and downs but that’s the sea for you! Lots of luck to you and your journey! You can do it!

  • Claudette Rose MacLeod

    P.S. I’m sorry for all the typing errors… Typing on the phone is not my forte. You’re like a giant was a toy typewriter!

  • Jorge

    Thank you so much for sharing the blog, it’s good to see that there are people out there fighting and doing their best to find their PASSION and Career; I think quite a lot of people has to struggle in order to find what they really love and what are they good at. A Little bit about myself, I am a 34 years old guy who is currently working in the Tourism Industry; however, it feels like I don’t like the customer service anymore or my job or the place that I am working at. I have been searching on the Internet what can I do in order to find my Passion but I am getting a little bit block because I can’t come up with anything that can help me to change my situation.
    I will appreciate any advice that you guys can give me
    Cheers!

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