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Never Too Late to Find Your Dream Career

Unhappy with your job and think you're too old to change it? Nonsense. It's never too late to find your dream career. ‘JT & Dale Talk Jobs’ is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the country and can be found at JTandDale.com. Dear J.T. & Dale: I still want to become a doctor. Specifically, one who spends most of my time helping out in disasters. I let myself be swayed off that path 30 years ago. I'm a manager in a technical field and have a smallish 401(k). I'm healthy, with a long-lived family, so I'm likely to live and work till 90. If I start tomorrow, I'd be a shiny new doctor at age 60. Crazy, huh? The hard thing is figuring out how to go about it. The college counselor is telling me the same thing they say to kids. How do I get rock-solid advice? — Jessica J.T.: What a wonderful goal! It's never too late to go after your dream! Dale: You two should be in the cast of "Man of La Mancha." J.T.: It's an inspiring goal, Jessica, and I bet you can pull it off. Here's how you do it: Start by finding organizations doing the work you'd want to do, contact them, tell them the story you told us and say something like, "I wanted to speak to one or more of your doctors to get their advice on what I should focus on so I can get into school and come out best prepared to hit the ground running." They'll be able to connect you to the folks with the rock-solid advice. Dale: Yes, it's wise to start with the end and work back. But I worry when the dream carries such a dreamy job title. Are you doing volunteer disaster-relief work, Jessica? You might find a better solution, one that wouldn't require years of school and huge debt — maybe it's being on the tech team supporting the doctors, or operations manager, or perhaps you'd find satisfaction as an EMT. Figure out exactly what it is about the work that is calling to you (beyond the impressive job title), and you might make a better, less dreamy decision. jt-dale-logoJeanine "J.T." Tanner O'Donnell is a professional development specialist and the founder of the consulting firm, JTODonnell.com, and of the career management blog, CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten resolves employment and other business disputes as a mediator with AgreementHouse.com. Please visit them at JTandDale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2011 by King Features Syndicate, Inc. Photo credit: Shutterstock