Ask Fred > Career/Work > How can I know whether to stay put or change jobs?

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Dear Fred

I am 50 years old and trying to figure out whether I should stay with my current job or perhaps change careers. My current job as a VP for a Fortune 500 company pays well but I have no interest in the work, and never have had. On the other hand, I don't feel particularly led to any other career. In all likelihood if I switch career fields I will have to return to school for another Master's Degree. Am I foolish for contemplating a career change at age 50? How can I know whether to stay put or change jobs? Also to keep in mind is that I am the sole provider for my wife and 5 children. Thanks Fred.

Fred's Response

I have found it a good rule not to quit one job before I have another. Certainly I would not leave one career and go into another without serious contemplation of the consequences. It seems that you have two problems: 1) dislike of your job and 2) responsibility for the well-being of your family. Many men, particularly successful ones, face this same dilemma in mid-life. You may find some illumination in Bob Buford's book, Half Time. Obviously you have excellent talent and application or you would not have risen to your present position. Are there opportunities in civic or religious activities that would augment the inspiration in your life? Your search is for meaning. And fortunately there are many opportunities for a person of your obvious leadership.