FIND YOUR PURPOSE

BACK TO WORK AFTER 40s – 7 things I’ve learned


It was Saturday, late afternoon, I was running along the river.

It was already dark and the air was warm, the winter cold I love so much still has to come.

That week was a rollercoaster of emotions at work and, as often happens while I’m running, my brain started to think more clearly and see things in perspective.

I was thinking about my decision to get back to work and about how this experience is revealing to be partly different from what I had expected.

I’m positive by nature and I deeply think that when we have a clear purpose and we put the necessary commitment to achieve it, we can do great things, no matter what is our age or the country we are living.

But things didn’t go as planned, they rarely do, not because they get complicated and confused but because, if you can take the best from what happens and you pay attention, things fit together in a different way showing you new opportunities and life paths.

So, back preparing my CV, I had to face the change, my change.

I wanted something else, I didn’t know what yet but I needed to be more independent, have more freedom, feel to contribute and support people.

What I decided to do and why are another story, what I wanto to talk about now is the hard work that has to be done in order to realise your dream.

If you are thinking, planning or trying to go back to work after 40s you don’t have to let anyone to tell you what is possible and what is not, just go for it. But you have to be ready to do the hard work that needs to be done!

In my journey I’ve come to term with plenty of feedbacks, people, informations, emotions that sometimes overwhelmed me, so I wish this tips will be helpful for you to prepare to your back to work experience:

1. KNOW WHAT YOUR PURPOSE IS

When you’re making changes everybody has an advice, everybody has an opinion, everybody has suggestion. The same will happen with your back to work choice. So, get prepared, start with having clear what your purpose is, otherwise you’ll be like a twig facing the wind always affected by the current. You can’t eliminate the wind but you can build a strong fence that lets you grow and bloom safely.

2. YOU’LL DISCOVER NEW INSECURITIES

Stop working for a few years awakes the craziest insecurities, even if you’ve been an established professional: you’ll ask yourself if you can measure up the 80% of job offers published and things that seemed automatic and trivial doesn’t feel easy anymore. The CV, a good online profile, networking are fundamental activities but they’ll all be influenced by how much you feel confident with yourself, by the contribution you can give and by how much you think you deserve.  Work daily on your self-confidence.

3. BAD DAYS, YOUR NEW COMPANIONS

Back to work, ooohhh yeeaaa! I‘m starting my business!! These things pump you up, they make you feel with a new aim but they also bring you down, and you have to make peace with the fact that they will come. Some days I walk 3 feet off the ground and everything seems possible, some others everything seems so hard and I ask myself if I can do it. Learn to get acquainted with your bad days, try to deeply understand them, because they can teach you a lot: what does unleash them? What do you repeat yourself or what affects you without being aware? What do you have to eliminate and what you need the most?

4. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH INSPIRING AND SUPPORTIVE PEOPLE

Never understimate the power of networking. You nide a tribe, you need someone who understand what you’re going through, someone who tells you that you can do it! Go out, find professional group, events, training, co-woking space. Inspiring women that I met on my journey gave me insights about the business and about cultural differences in Switzerland that would have required me months or years to discover by myself.

5. INVEST TIME IN LEARNING THE LOCAL BUSINESS ETIQUETTE

If it’s true that a good preparation is useful wherever you live, when you move and want to find a job in a new country you’ll have to learn a new „business etiquette“. The way you contact people, the style used to address them, how much you can be straightforward while giving a feedback or pointing out a problem are all aspects that change from a culture to another. You need to know the one of the country you are living and make them yours in order to respect them despite staying true to who you are.

6. IT TAKES PERSEVERANCE

No one will knock on your door asking you to wake up and do what you need to find a job. It’s your choice: sit at the desk and work, practise some sport or spend the day watching TV series and having coffee. It’s easy to get distracted, help yourself creating a ROUTINE for your days and follow it with all the consistancy you have.

7. INCREDIBLE PLANS HAVE TO MATCH WITH YOU AGENDA

You can plan, dream, make hypotesis and endless to-do lists in your head but, in the end, it’s hard for them to become real if you don’t translate them into a small list of things to do and you don’t try to schedule them on day X at hour Y. The Agenda is the only way to truly understand if you have time and when for all the different activities planned. Skip this step and you’ll end up with getting frustrated among tons of activities that won’t give you results nor satisfaction.

Getting back to work after 40s is possible, it will give you great satisfactions, but it’s not a spring picnic in a small meadow full of flowers. It’s a trip in a country you don’t know: you have to prepare, buy a guide, collect informations, respect the local culture, prepare for contingencies. But once you’ve done the hard work you will really enjoy the trip!


Do you want to make today the first step to go back to work? Start from becoming aware of your beliefs about career, read here.

If you want to understand how I can support you to understand what is the work that can give you purpose and let you live days of fulfilment write me to giada.varvello@gmail.com

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