Midlife Career Change

I’m going through a midlife career change and enjoying it immensely.

For those who have been following along at home, a while ago I wrote about my, at the time, potential Redundancy and the Art Of Not Giving a Rats.

Redundancy has officially tapped me on the shoulder and smiled at me.

I have spent the last 19 years in various IT roles within one large corporate financial institution here in Melbourne, Australia.  Overall it’s been good because it has provided for my family, but, actually, it’s kind of sucked….for 19 years.

I will confess to have been too scared to take the plunge before this opportunity presented itself.  6000 of my corporate colleagues are also being made redundant in a massive restructuring effort over the coming months.  It would suck even more to be left behind.  “Do more with less” will be the new mantra for a while, I suspect…

This has been the push I’ve needed.

As a result of such long service, I received a nice payout.  It’s not retirement funds or lottery winnings, but for the first time in a long time, it would appear that I have both a little bit of money and a little bit of time up my sleeve.

I will need to source an income soon, but fortunately not immediately.


From IT to Music


So, where are we now ?

I have taken the opportunity that this midlife career change has given me to pursue my musical endeavors.

Ever since I was a child, I’ve always enjoyed music.  I did my first pub gig when I was 17.  I’ve played in bands ever since.  I started a music teaching degree when I was at University, but never finished due to a total lack of job possibilities at the time.  Fast forward to now, it appears that there are teaching opportunities potentially available.

I have been teaching private saxophone students again and having a great time.

I am also the new Saxophone / Clarinet / Recorder teacher at one of my local primary schools.

Their music program has been neglected over the last 12 months or so, and I happened to be in the right place at the right time.

It is a fantastic opportunity for me to build up their instrumental program – and I can see many, many ways in which to do this.

Currently there is a distinct lack of music students (and therefore income), however, I’ve started with my in person and various media marketing.  I have played at their school assembly and their Open Night – and appear to have picked up at least one new student, hopefully starting in the next week or so.

I’m going to be playing at their school assemblies every Friday, so my marketing plan is starting to fall in to place.  Being in front of the student and parent body will hopefully translate into more music lessons as time goes on.

There is a little bit of Educational Department Red Tape to deal with, however, slowly but surely, this will be a VERY good thing.  The plan the Assistant Principal and I have come up with here is to turn this into a 1.5 – 2 days a week concept.

I have done a volunteer day at my oldest daughters high school, which has potentially opened some more musical doors.

A couple of weeks ago they were hosting a big Northern Region Schools district concert band – a few kids each from approx 20 schools to form a big concert band.  They needed a hand with this and again I was in the right place at the right time.

I was the Alto Sax tutor for the day, I had a great time and they appreciated my efforts.  I am now on “the official list” of northern district schools as a sax tutor, which could turn out to be useful.

Off the back of this, verbally it has been suggested that I could potentially become the replacement saxophone teacher at this High School as the existing person left a month or so ago.

Again, Education Department Red Tape is delaying this, but once the necessary i’s have been dotted and t’s have been crossed, I will be able to officially apply and, hopefully in turn this gig might become mine.  They have to formally advertise, but they’ve hinted that they’ll give it to me……Still a few variables that may or may not come to fruition, but, verbally I’m in with a big chance.

This also will be 1.5 – 2 days a week, if/when it happens.

I spoke in person face to face to the Head of Music again this morning, and he is still very keen to have me.  Fingers crossed – it’s not a done deal yet, but I’m in with a big chance.

This midlife career change and redundancy has been difficult for my wife.  She appears to be pleased with the progress I am making, as she can see embryonic but tangible results with my efforts.  There is still understandable concern, but we appear to be on the right path.


I’m still yet to translate all of this into real $$$ – but there is about 8-10% of my former income dribbling in as a result of my teaching private students.  One step at a time…..

Website Shenanigans


I’m making a massive effort on my HowToPlayTheSax.com saxophone lessons website and I’ve been working very hard.  It is ticking along nicely, but I still have more work to do.

I am taking massive action as part of my midlife career change.  I’m actually working harder now than when I was at my old corporate IT gig !!

I’ve filmed 30 saxophone lessons and have uploaded most of these into the members area of my website.  I am slowly promoting it, writing blog posts for it and making more videos.

Plus I’m keeping this website here at MatthewsBack.com moving along too.


Not Just Working From Home


As part of my exit package, I have a co-working space available to use.  There have been training courses, information sessions, workshops, networking opportunities and counselling services.  This has been handy.   I’ve been going to this co-working office space once a week or so and have found it quite beneficial.

It’s been interesting to talk to others who are also having a midlife career change.  It would appear that there are quite a few of us ex-employees changing paths !


I am (only a little) disappointed that I have NOT had time to watch netflix while eating ice cream or drinking beer on the couch – I’ve been too busy !


Over all, I feel that I’m on the right track.

So far, so good.

I will keep up the momentum !

I am pleased, I am happy, I have a plan that I am executing, I am under control, and I am confident that I can make this midlife career change from corporate IT to music teaching actually work.

I have mentioned before about my family going on an overseas drama tour last year.  My youngest daughter and I are doing it again this year.  Our rehearsals and recording sessions for our Edinburgh Fringe Festival adventure are shaping up nicely.  We’re taking two shows to Edinburgh in August- That Bastard Brecht and Electra – not long now !  I play my sax in the band for one show and I’m a miscellaneous soldier/peasant/farmer/chorus member for the other show.  My daughter is awesome in both shows.  This has been HEAPS of fun !

Which reminds me, today I need to book a hotel for a few nights in Singapore for our stop over on the way home.




P.S.  Have you had a midlife career change ?  Or, what has stopped you from having one ?  Please let me know in the comments below.

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