Back when we were kids, most of us imagined that our careers would be in full swing by the time we reached our thirties. We’d have our degrees, have paid our dues, and have the corner office—or at least be on our way to getting it!

But these days we often change jobs every few years and more and more of us are pursuing more than one career. Hitting your thirties doesn’t necessarily mean hitting your stride any longer. According to research conducted by Vodafone, workers between the ages of 31 and 35 reported the highest levels of unhappiness at work with nearly 60% feeling undervalued and 49% feeling unfulfilled.

A New Direction Toward Our Passions…

In the last 20 years, attitudes about work have shifted and simply having a job is no longer enough. We want to feel like we’re doing important work, we want to be recognized for that work, and appreciated for doing it well. Changing careers at 35 actually, makes a lot of sense. In our mid-thirties, we have enough experience to know what works about work and what doesn’t.

We understand our strengths and weaknesses with more clarity and most of us have developed new interests and passions than the ones that motivated us as kids. It’s no wonder that we want to apply all of that knowledge to grow in a new direction.

If you think 35 is too late to start a new career, think again. Julia Child didn’t start cooking until she was 36. Renowned singer, Andrea Bocelli, was an attorney until he was 34 years old. Comedian, Joy Behar, taught high school English until she was 40 years of age. If you consider that the average retirement age is 65, then at 35 you still have 75% of your career still ahead of you. There’s plenty of time to switch directions and find a way to turn your passion into your paycheck.

Changing careers at 35 might feel like starting all over again, but you’ll actually be in a better position at 35 than you were at 22 when you first decided what you wanted to do. The experience you’ve gained from working for the last 10 years can set you apart from the competition and make you a more desirable candidate.

You will be able to provide a much different perspective than someone who’s only worked in one industry. As the world continues to expand and boundaries blur, employers value diversity, innovation, and risk-taking. Making a career change will demonstrate all three.

Are you convinced? If you’re ready to take the leap and make the most of the rest of your working years, the following steps are designed to help you get started. Use these key considerations, important questions, and time-tested ideas as you map out your own career change and create your path to a more satisfying work experience.

Decide What You Dislike

Before you change careers at 35, figure out exactly what you’re looking to change. Is your current work too tedious? Do you dislike your clients or colleagues? Are you simply bored? Think about whether an entirely new career is necessary—and if it’s really the right solution. If you hate your boss, you may just need a new job at a new company. Wish you could stay at home with the kids? How will a new career change things? Identify what you really want and decide if a new career will help you get it.

Imagine Your Ideal

Of course, we’d all love to be professional pizza tasters or beach umbrella testers but, realistically, what would you like to be doing day in and day out? Think in broad strokes, considering your own core values and what you most want out of your work. Are you craving something more creative—or something with more structure? Is money an issue—or would you rather make a difference in your community? What will really make you happy?

Apply Your Abilities

When you have broad guidelines for what you want to do next, identify your skill set and figure out ways that you can apply it to your career change in your thirties. Bookkeeping skills could translate to planning advertising budgets. All of those teacher lesson plans might make you an awesome event organizer. Come up with specific examples of how you can use the talents that you already have in a brand new position. Concrete evidence will go a long way toward convincing a hiring manager to give you chance.

Reassess, Realistically

Now that you have an idea of what you hope to do for the next 30 years, take a hard look at whether it’s really possible. Going from being an accountant to a high school art teacher may not be a viable possibility, but teaching math might be a reasonable goal. Think about what you want to do and the competitiveness of the industry. Is there a realistic potential for you to be hired? Do you have what it takes? Do your research about the job and the industry and be honest about whether or not it will be a good fit. You’ll also want to look at the growth potential and whether you’ll make enough money to survive in your new career.

Chart Your Changeover

As you prepare for changing careers at 35, come up with a game plan for how you’ll handle the rest of your life. What will you do about finances, health insurance, childcare, and even housing? Will you continue at your new role until you find something new? Will you quit and go back to school first? How long will you try to break into the new field? Is there a backup plan? Come up with a strategy for how you’ll handle all of the challenges of your transition.

Enhance Your Experience

The next step in changing careers at 35 is to do whatever is necessary to make yourself qualified for your new position. If you want to go from being a manager at work to being a corporate coach, you’ll need a coaching certification. If you want to switch from secretarial work to becoming a paralegal, you may need to go back to school. Before you start applying for jobs, get any necessary training—and keep an eye out for any opportunities to get experience in your new career field. You may be able to volunteer or take on contract or freelance work to bolster your resume.

Network, Network, Network

These days, who you know is as important as what you know—and your contacts can be instrumental in helping you change careers in your thirties. Others who are already familiar with your work ethic and your skills may be able to recommend you, and finding a mentor in your new career field can give you insider knowledge about what you need to get that new job. Don’t be shy about telling everyone you know about your new career goals. You never know who can help you get your foot in the door!

Wait for the Wonderful

While a career change in your thirties can be terrifying, don’t take the first thing that comes along. You’re switching careers because you’re hoping to be happier and leaping into the wrong job isn’t going to help. You’ve put in too much effort to compromise now! Take the time to find what you really want.

It’s never too late to switch directions and pursue work that you love and changing careers at 35 may be the decision that leads you to a lifetime of job satisfaction. If you’re struggling with what you want to do next, consider working with a life coach. A career coach can help you identify your core values, honestly assess your opportunities, and help you plan a course for what comes next.

You may even decide that your career change leads you to become a life coach yourself!