You're never too old to study: here are 7 reasons to stop procrastinating.

TAFE Queensland
Thanks to our brand partner, TAFE Queensland

A school leaver today will have 17 jobs across five careers in their lifetime. The average for people today staying in their roles is three years and four months, according to McCrindle Research.

The days of staying in the same job for 40 years are over, and good riddance. As much as anyone loves their job, surely you’d get a bit stale after say, two decades? And maybe that’s where you come in. Perhaps you’ve come to the realisation that you do not love your job. Maybe it’s time to listen to that niggling voice in the back of your head telling you to write, paint, study computer science or become a personal trainer.

If it’s time for a new phase or challenge in your working life, read on for how to overcome the things stopping you from finding your dream job.

1. Help! I don’t know where to start.

In 2008, I was working in a job that I hated. I despised going into work every single day. After I had been made redundant, I was forced to confront my next career move. Feeling utterly overwhelmed (and unemployed), a friend recommend I read ‘What Colour is Your Parachute.’ It’s filled with exercises to help you determine what kind of field is right for you. It’s how I ended up right here, writing this for you.

What do you want to do? It’s a question that plagues us as deeply at school-leaving age as it does later in life. Choosing a new career or even a side-step in our current one can feel downright nerve-wracking. Leaving financial security to chase after something that feels like it should be a side hobby is daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.

We have all been "clueless" at some point in thinking of our future careers. Image: Paramount Pictures.


A great place to start is your local TAFE. They offer career/guidance counsellors at many campuses across the country. The service is available to people who call in and make an appointment. And often teachers are available to speak with those looking to enter their courses too.

2. I don’t have the skill set.

We’re living in fast times. If you’ve had time off work to raise a family or want a complete career change, it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed. What you need is relevant training that will actually get you a job, not a massive debt to pay off.

TAFE courses are taught by industry professionals, and the curriculum is developed in consultation with industry. Already having contacts in the relevant industry gives you access to leaders who can provide support, encouragement, and practical advice on the best job-hunt strategies.

3. I have dependents and rent to pay/a mortgage.

This may not be the advice you want to hear right now, but stick with your day job and study at night. Yes, this takes energy and dedication, but you will be able to keep income coming in while you update your skill set/polish off your plan for world domination.

Look for accredited courses from institutions like TAFE, which offer online and part-time study options that can fit in with and be part of an exit strategy from your current job. Sign up for a course and count down the days to your resignation.

4. But I’m 35(ish), have I left it too late?

Nope. Ever heard of J.K. Rowling? At 30, the ‘Harry Potter’ author was reportedly depressed and living on welfare. Fast forward four years, she topped the best-seller list and is now the richest author in history.

To think these three wouldn't exist if JK hadn't followed her passion. Image: Warner Brothers.


Don’t be dismayed by that 25-year-old billionaire who started up a global fashion empire/activewear clothing line/ publishing company/ Facebook. Focus on your own motivations, and reach out to possible mentors in your field who can give you direction. It’s never too late.

5. I don’t have the time.

I get it. You’re so busy with your current job; you have no space in your life to consider the possibility of doing something else. By the time 7 pm rolls around you're exhausted and just want to switch off on the couch with a Netflix binge.

If this sounds familiar, I picked up some excellent advice from Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast ‘Big Magic’. In it, she recommends just trying to do something you love for 30 minutes a day (more if you can fit it in) and see how that goes. I tried it and became addicted to writing again. It’s my guilty pleasure to wake up early and hit the keyboard. Switch off Netflix and you’ll be surprised at how much time you can create for yourself.

6. I want to start something now, but I have to wait until courses start again next year.

You don’t have to wait. Right now you can apply for mid-year intake on many TAFE courses, and if the subject you want to study is online you can begin within a few days. There are hundreds of courses on offer at TAFE – some you may never have known existed; like courses in jewelry making, fashion design, IT or dental assisting.

Mid-year resolutions! They’re a thing.

7. But what if I fail?

That's fear talking. Acknowledge it, don't ignore it. It's the thing that's going to make you care about succeeding. It's terrifying to consider all the negatives, but what if you don’t fail? What if you end up with the life you’ve always dreamed of living? Isn’t that worth it?

Janelle Schloss, TAFE Queensland teacher and Career Counsellor, said that quite often we already know what we want to be doing but sometimes we hold ourselves back.

Chase your passion at any cost. GIF:

“One of the advantages of changing careers later in life is that you bring a wealth of experience from previous employment, and life, into a new environment. When thinking about making a career change, people should consider the skills and experience that they can bring to a new employment situation. They should also consider any gaps that can be filled with further education and training.”

At the risk of an epic eye-roll, one of my favourite motivational quotes is this: “And then there is the most dangerous risk of all - the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.”

Take the opportunity to do more, see more, be more. Live your dream now. Go, RUN.

How have you gone about changing your career?