Five 40-Something Career Lessons Learned

1. Follow your happiness. People who love what they do don’t even feel like they go to work. It sounds so simplistic to say and it’s hard because it goes against society sometimes, but some people can’t do anything but what they love. And those people are usually very successful and happy people. – 40-something, fashion design, Brooklyn, NY

2. You know it’s your passion if you enjoy the journey.

“You know it’s your dream if you enjoy the process and almost don’t even care about the result. You are so passionate about the doing of it that the result almost doesn’t matter. And you know it’s not your dream but it’s somebody else’s dream for you if you endure the process for the result.”

I think this quote is a remarkable litmus test.  When you enjoy the journey you get the best results because the process is the result. If you are just pacing through the process, it is not going to come to much. – 40-something, musician, professor, mentor, Cleveland, OH


3. Be open to the fact that what you want to do can change. I think college graduates have such a difficult time because it’s so competitive today and so focused on the next step. I don’t think that they should know what is it that they want to do for the rest of their life. I think they need to be open the idea that whatever they think that they want to do may change 2 years, 5 years, 10 years down the road. As long as they’re okay with that and don’t stay stuck and go where life takes them.  I think that would be important. – 40-something, HR, Los Angeles, CA


4. It’s not always having the knowledge yourself, it’s about asking the questions. It’s knowing the right questions to ask and not being afraid to ask. In your twenties you think you’re supposed to have the answers and you’re so driven by the fear of being found out as a fraud. When you’re older I find it’s more of a process. The more information I find out, the more intelligent my side of the conversation is going to be and the more supportive I can be – 40-something, film industry, Los Angeles, CA


5. Take advantage of any opportunity to speak in public. It will help you perform better at work and in life.  – 40-something, advertising, New York, NY








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