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5 Reasons Women in Their Forties Are Kept Prisoners to Their Jobs

A recent article on BBC News talked about women finding success in their forties by starting out as entrepreneurs.


The article talks about how once women reach their forties, they are confident to find their own path. The full article can be read here. This is really encouraging to see as choosing to work for yourself can be very rewarding and fulfilling.


In fact, a recent survey I conducted showed that 76% of self-employed women between the ages of 40-60 loved the work that they did. This compares to only 36% of employed women. However, there are still many, many women in their forties who are in jobs that they do not enjoy that leave them unfulfilled.


Here are 5 reasons women in their forties are kept prisoners in jobs that they are unhappy with :-

1. Not Living Their Values

Many women when they reach their forties yearn for authenticity in how they live their lives and this includes the work that they do.


They want to be true to themselves, whatever that might be, and want a healthy alignment between their inner values and outward behaviours both at home and at work. Our values go to the core of who we are and when the work that we do is not aligned with our values, it can make us miserable.


After doing the values exercise at one of my career change workshops, one woman had a stark realisation that the job she was doing did not match her values.


She was expected to treat people in a way that did not align with who she was. "No wonder I'm so miserable at work" she commented.

How aligned is the work that you do to your values?

2. Afraid of Change

Fear can keep us in places we really don't want to be in. We often think that it is easier to stay and do a job we do not enjoy rather than take a leap of faith and step out into the unknown. We are lulled into a false sense of security thinking that we are ok where we are but deep down we are unhappy.


What do you think the long-term effects are of staying in a situation in which you are unhappy? What is it that you are fearful of? Talk to someone about it. Reassess your thoughts about your fears because they can be overcome.

3. Not Knowing What They Really Want To Do

Many women stay in jobs that they hate because they have no clue about what it is that they really want to do.


This is an ideal time to reassess what is important for you in your career as what you want now may have changed since your twenties and thirties. What are you good at and what do you enjoy doing? Is this something that you could turn into a viable business?


There are various career tests that you can take which will give you an indication of the type of career you may be interested in.


A career coach will be able to help you elucidate what it is that you really want to do.

4. Underdeveloped Skills

I believe in continuous personal development and that we should continuously update our skills to keep ourselves marketable in order to pursue the career that we want or to stay on top of the game where we are currently at. A lot of women do not keep their skillset up-to-date. Quite often you may already have the necessary skills but may not be able to demonstrate articulately how you utilise them.


Generally, women tend to look at a job description and because they do not think they can do all the tasks listed, they will not apply for it. Many skills are transferrable between jobs. One way you can identify the skills that you are currently using is to revisit your existing job description and identify how you are utilising the required skills that are listed.


Make a list of your achievements and the skills you used to achieve these successes. This is worth doing on an ongoing basis so that you always have an up-to-date record of your successes and achievements. If what you want to do is totally different to what you currently do, or you want to set up in business, it may require you to learn new skills.

5. A Lack of Confidence

This goes hand in hand with fear and it could be a lack of confidence at interviews or even a lack of confidence doing the role or business that you want to do.


Everyone experiences a lack of confidence at some time or another and this is only natural. Some people are able to overcome their lack of confidence and just get on and do what they have to do. For some women, they do not find it so easy. I bet though that you can recall a time in your life when you lacked the confidence to do something but went ahead and did it anyway and survived.


It may have been uncomfortable but you did it and was it really that bad? Why can't you do it now?


Do not let a lack of confidence keep you in a job that you are unhappy in. If confidence is a real issue for you and is holding you back, you may want to consider having some coaching around this.

So, what is stopping you from being one of the women the BBC is referring to? What is keeping you prisoner in a job that you do not enjoy? For help with overcoming the obstacles keeping you in a job that you do not enjoy, come along to the Ladies Business Brainstorming Club. Details can be found here

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