Over 50 and Ready for a Career Change?

Gone are careers that last a lifetime, and guaranteed retirement at 65. With fewer job openings, corporate downsizing and a rapidly changing business landscape, many professionals in their mid-life are preparing for the next stage of their careers.

I was privileged this week to sit in on a webinar with seasoned career coach, Jean Erickson Walker, Ed.D. author of “The Age Advantage: Making the Most of Your Midlife Career Transition.” She talked about the art and science of creating a career path and the special skills and “peripheral knowledge” that mid-lifers bring to the table if they understand how to brand themselves and position their accomplishments.

In her online article, “What are the Issues that Make Mid-Life Career Transition Different?” she recounts how the person in mid-life transition has a mortgage and kids in college, a possible problem with age perception, and a lifetime of experience typically in one single field. “People of mid-age almost all bought into the patriarchal world of corporate America, where careers were built on climbing the corporate ladder and loyalty to the company was paramount,” says Walker. She encourages 50-year-olds considering a new job to take inventory of their executive-level influence and how they might package themselves, particularly if they are entering a new industry.

Whether you might be seeking a new position with your current employer, a new position in a new field, or going out on your own as a consultant or new business, Walker suggests seeking the services of a career coach. Why? One – General strategies and techniques designed to find a job simply do not work for someone who is mid-age. “The biggest advantage to hiring an older worker is their depth and breadth of experience; yet, this quality is the hardest to show without intimidating the interviewer or giving the perception of inflexibility and unwillingness to be a team player,” she suggests (excerpt from What Strategies and Techniques Work to Find a Job at Mid-life?).  And two- it’s not just about finding a position at this point in your life; it’s about finding the right position. For many of us, the right position now means one that fits our current lifestyle, a  path where passion and a sense of mission often play more important roles.

We certainly live in exciting times. Be open to change and make sure you’re mentally prepared for the amazing possibilities that face all of us on the other side of fifty.

 

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