Life & Lifestyle

Finding a New Career at Fifty:

Yes, you can do it!

Above photo: Melanie adding final touches to a new painting.

Photos by Cynthia Arnold.

Making a career change at 50 can be challenging. But it is possible. 

For Melanie Bethke, it wasn’t just about her career; it was about her life. It was about how she wanted to feel every morning and the impact she would have on the world by loving her work.

Creating art has always played a significant role in Bethke’s life. Yet, she worked for a small agency in an administrative role for over a decade. She enjoyed the team she worked with, but something was missing. She had no idea where she might end up, but she knew it was time to create a new life. 

While painting and creating were her passion, she had undertaken more administrative than creative jobs. She needed to feel excited again about her work. “I wanted to do something I loved, and I wanted to be able to see and feel myself taking actions that improved the lives of others,” Bethke says.

A Career that Balances Skills and Interests

Bethke always loved research and discovered a new profession utilizing her artistic skills and research interests — UX (User Experience) designer fit the bill. Concerned with the lack of diversity in today’s world of technology and how it impacts different communities, she chose to pursue UX as a new career. 

Also, by learning skills in high tech, she could show that older, more experienced female workers are valuable in this field and influence how people interact within the digital space. 

You’ll Find You’re Not Alone in Changing Careers Later in Life

While Bethke envisioned being the oldest college student in her classes, she wasn’t. There were others interested in changing careers as well. It turns out her choice was right. UX design encapsulates everything she loves. 

“Now I get to listen to people’s concerns, learn about their needs and use my love of research and creativity to solve problems that will improve their experiences,” Bethke says.

For most people, taking steps toward changing careers can be scary. This path was especially true for Bethke and her family. 

Making a giant leap into the unknown at age 50 during unpredictable times was nerve-wracking. 

But she also knew she didn’t want to work only for a paycheck. 

She sought to be invigorated and wouldn’t let the fear of the unknown limit her. 

“If you never try something new, your life will remain the same,” Bethke says. “I wanted to push the boundaries of what could be.” 

She had a vision of where she could go and what she could do. Her desire and creativity knew no bounds.

“Since changing careers, my art has completely blossomed. I feel a huge opening for creativity happened after I chose a career more aligned with my talents and interests,” Bethke adds. “Every day, I am excited to do my work and painting. I have never been happier.” 

MelanieChakrasPainting2 W
“The Chakras”, original art by Melanie Bethke

Sage Career Change Advice

When asked what advice she would share with others looking to change careers at 50 plus, she says, “Do not waste your time worrying that you are too old, or it won’t work out. You won’t regret it. You will always find your way.”

“A second career will allow you to explore a passion,” Bethke says. “It pushes you to grow. Amazing things happen when you keep your mind and body active.” 

For more information on Bethke and her work, visit  


Cynthia Arnold

Cynthia Arnold, CEO of One Earth United, promotes Indigenous art as a powerful way to inspire connections among cultures. As a PR pro, she has worked in media relations garnering placements in major publications such as The New York Times and USA Today. She attended Penn State and graduated with honors from Ohio University with a BSJ and PR specialization. For more information visit

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