How easy is it to make a successful career change later in life?

It depends. In your favour, you have more skills, work and life experience, and contacts than you did as a fresh-faced graduate or school-leaver. But you also have more responsibilities and constraints, and sooner or later, your dreams will have to meet with reality.

Are you really willing to start again from scratch? What are the long-term prospects for this kind of work? How well does it pay? Are your family behind you? Have you got the time and money to retrain? Are you prepared to start again at the bottom and work your behind off alongside people half your age in a vocation where your ten years of on-the-job experience don't count for so much? 

The point is that a radical change in direction may not come easily, but if you have single-minded determination and moral support, a successful transition to the kind of career that will make you leap out of bed in the morning is entirely possible.

If this seems like a bridge too far, you might be tempted to look at careers where you can use transferable skills from your current career, or which give you a better work-life balance while still maintaining a decent enough salary. If these are your priorities, that’s fine – only you know how far you can and want to put your fulfilment at work before your other needs and those of people who depend on you. But this approach inevitably limits your options and may not lead you into avenues that are particularly far-removed from what you are doing already. To find the most fulfilling line of work, you need to start with careers that mirror your values and then see how far they match your skills and experience, and not the other way round.