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Late life crisis... and considering MASSIVE bold career shift!

Community Member

I am a late 40's guy, single parent of 2 high achieving teenage kids, with a well paid full-time job in IT Project Management, a supportive partner and a healthy exercise regime that keeps me fit and sane.

So what do I want to change?

I'm sick of my job. My employer shows zero compassion for anyone, they provide little value to society and I find myself resenting every minute I spend in the workplace. Lately this has bubbled over into poor performance in the workplace and I would not be surprised to find myself out of a job soon. Of course I could look for another job with a different employer - but deep down I know my disillusionment runs deeper. I need to do something more fulfilling.

"I have a dream" - as somebody quite famous once said. Of starting my own charity/non-profit organisation, it would involve a crazy amount of work to set up including a return to uni - but I want to run it by some people and see if it has 'legs' (pun intended)

Charity Name: "Mental Marathoners"


1. Help those struggling with mental health issues to gain the physical and mental benefits of regular exercise in a social group setting

2. Support and encourage the formulation of lasting good habits and friendly support networks

3. Be accessible to all regardless of body shape, speed or ability

I envisage taking small groups (10-12 people) with a range of mental health backgrounds and offering them a combination of counselling & run coaching to work together as a group to achieve a common exercise goal. (Half marathon perhaps?).

The benefits of working as a group would be enormous, the benefits of regular exercise well documented and understood, and the benefits of working towards and achieving a tangible if challenging goal would be amazing. At the end of a program hopefully, participants would be sufficiently ingrained in their new exercise habit and full of confidence that they could possibly join regular community running groups and maintain their healthy lifestyle. (Joining an established group from *scratch* is often seen as VERY intimidating and a huge barrier to participation in exercise).

How could I do this? I can qualify as an exercise coach easily enough - but would a post-graduate diploma in mental health practice be sufficient for this venture to get off the ground?

Is this a good idea? Do you think it could take off? Any thoughts ideas or advice anyone can offer would be welcome - I have a whole bunch of thoughts about this - but no idea where to start!

6 Replies 6

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi MentalMarathoner,

Welcome to the forums! Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea that also doubles, as you say, as a bit of a mid-life career change. Many people work for years in jobs they know to be either not socially useful or actively harmful but aren't in a position to quit or do anything about it. That's why it's so great that you're taking this rare opportunity to do something you're passionate about and that has an important social function.

Regarding the specifics, I don't think you personally getting a postgraduate degree in mental health is necessary (though by all means go for it). Rather, I think you just need to collect and carefully consider the input of a mixture of people with and without "lived experience." For example, you might solicit some advice from people who have successfully (and unsuccessfully) helped ease their depression or anxiety with exercise about how to run the class, from a disabled person or disability expert about how to keep everything as accessible as possible, and from a personal trainer or avid runner about the best way to help beginners.

I'm sure you could solicit quite a few of those opinions here on the forums.

As you say, this is a big undertaking, and it may be some time yet before you're ready to realize your vision. In the meantime, this is a great thing to work towards and look forward to while staying in your current job. Looking forward to seeing how you go!



Community Member

Hi MentalMarathoner,

I am in a similar situation. I am a similar age, have one child, and have a well-paid job as a project manager of infrastructure projects. Due to organisational changes I no longer enjoy my job and each day over the past year has been misery. I don't think I ever really liked being a project manager, but it was something I could do and there were times when good people around me made it tolerable. I am doing the soul-searching to work out what I could make a career change to.

I was comforted by your post because it made me feel less alone in my situation.

Good on you for identifying something that you are passionate about.

real name hidden, welcome to the forum. Thanks for making your first thread. You are welcome ro keep posting here but feel free if you wnat to start your own thread.

MentalMArathoner what a great idea and I wish you all the best.

My one point would be that there are so many charities already in Australia and each charity requires infrastructure.

Just an thought, have you ever done something like this? if not maybe you could volunteer or find out about programs that already exist and see what the gap is in the market.

I think it is a great idea.

Community Member

Yea, totally. I think you should go for it. Sounds like an inspired thought to me. And I would never say that late 40's is "late in life". I'm 41 now and I remember when I was younger, I used to think 40 was ancient, but now I think it's an age where things are just getting started. That being said, I am keenly aware that none of us have all the time in the world and I want to get the things I wish to do completed.

I am studying full time for a Bachelor of Social Work and I am really loving the course. It is a 4 year full time degree and I may even do an honours year at the end of it. I had wanted to be a Social Worker ever since I was in my very early 20's, however I was trapped in a horrible marriage with a Husband who did not want me to do anything other than stay at home full time. Now that I have gotten away from him, I am free to do what I want.

I definitely think that your idea could take off. Every NFP organisation had to start somewhere. The man who started the RUOK day started off on a very small scale and his inspiration was that he had lost his own Father to suicide. His venture has certainly taken off (even though sadly, he himself has since passed away from illness). Postgraduate qualifications would be awesome if you are in a position to be able to do that. Further study is never a waste of time. Certainly nothing worse than being stuck in some job you hate. I think it's ridiculous how society seems to expect people to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives when they graduate year 12. I only really know one person (my brother) who knew what he wanted to do ever since he was a child and who stuck with it and actually did end up doing it (and is still doing it). The majority of people change and grow throughout their lives and their desires/needs change as well.

Maintaining an active lifestyle is important for all of us, however it is particularly important for people who suffer from depression/other mental health issues. So many people tend to underestimate how important exercise really is in contributing towards overall mental and physical health. Especially at the moment what with COVID19 going on and peoples' opportunities for socialising are somewhat limited (depending on where they reside).

This could benefit a lot of people in so many ways other than just keeping fit. My opinion is that if you have inspired thought like this and if it is something that you feel passionately about then you should definitely go for it.

Hi Angel 1979,
I am of a similar age, and l wish to change careers too.
I worked so hard at the career l'm currently in, and found it to be very stressful for me.

Now l would like to try something else, but don't have a clue what to specalise in.

I do have my limits, and l am well aware that with my anxiety some careers will not be suitable.

I actually also have a specific learning disability related to Maths.

So l have briefly thought of librarianship, but am not really sure.

Community Member

Do it. Do it. Do it.
Speaking from my own experience I graduated when I was 40. Started my own law firm at 60. I’m now 65 and I will never stop working bc my profession is so rewarding

so if you would like to do counselling just do it.

good luck.
ps I am bipolar have very bad cfs. So I frequently spend 4/5 days in bed every fortnight or so. BUT I’ve structured my law firm so it can run without me when I’m not well