Should I quit my job of 30 years for another I’m more interested in?

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female company employee in my late 50s. My husband is around the same age as me, and our children are already grown and are financially independent. I need advice regarding my job.

I’ve been with the same company since graduating more than 30 years ago, and I haven’t been excited about my job for quite some time. As my younger coworkers are so talented, I feel like there is nothing I can contribute to the company. I sometimes think that I should quit if I am preventing the company from growing.

There is actually a new job I want to try. I would make a lot less but I’m fine with it as long as I can still earn enough to get by.

However, the reason I haven’t been able to make a decision is that whenever I felt like quitting in the past, I got through it by telling myself, “I should keep trying a bit longer.” I also feel sad leaving my coworkers. We helped each other and went through both good times and bad.

How should I view this? I realize that the final decision is ultimately up to me.

—S, Chiba Prefecture

Dear Ms. S:

Many people have struggled to answer the same question. You have devoted more than half your life to this company, so it would be strange if you weren’t hesitant.

However, you are a different person now and have started to think that it might be time to leave for the company’s sake.

The rest of your life is too long to spend in retirement, so you have realized that there is a new stage in your life in which you can make the most of yourself. The time you spent during the coronavirus pandemic to become more introspective has definitely not been wasted.

Fortunately, you have a job in mind that you want to try. The over 30 years you spent were not a waste at all. Having been able to work hard while raising your children has allowed you to find a new challenge.

You will not be cut off from your coworkers. The people with whom you shared good and bad times are very precious to you. They are the people who understand you the best and will be excited for you as you start your next journey.

As part of the first generation to start working after the Equal Employment Opportunity Law was enacted, I hope you will take the knowledge and skills you gained at your current employment to your next job. Since you will be the new person at the office, don’t forget to be humble.

I have an acquaintance who quit their job before retirement age and now works at a nonprofit organization and is engaged in socially beneficial activities. They said they worry about their income, but they just had to do it. I think it is admirable.

—Hazuki Saisho, writer