In my coaching work with clients, the “over 50” individuals who are wanting to change jobs or careers, or who have been unemployed for a while are often dealing with one or several of the following issues.
- They have been laid off after many years of loyalty to a particular company and feel disheartened, disillusioned, or betrayed, and their self-esteem has been shaken.
- They are burned-out in their current job and are searching for a new job or career that will provide more meaning.
- They are providing for elderly parents and children in college and want to change careers, but fear the drop in income that it may require.
- They have been unemployed for a while and are finding they need to “underplay” their years of experience so they won’t be rejected for being “over qualified”.
- They want to change careers which sometimes means “starting over at the bottom of the pecking order”.
- The process of searching for a job has radically changed since they last applied for a position and they feel confused and lost.
- The rapid change in technology in the working world requires a constant upgrading of skills.
- The experience of “swimming upstream” in a culture that idealizes youth can be discouraging.
- The focus on speed and technology vs wisdom and experience in many of our companies devalues the older worker and the rich contributions they bring.
The experiencing of searching for a job or changing careers is a sometimes emotionally draining and discouraging experience for folks over 50. Because of the above challenges, it is critical to have support during the transition. Support can come through a job seeking group, a church, friends, family, and or a career coach. In addition, keeping a positive outlook, getting the “tools” in your back pocket for the job search, volunteering if you are unemployed, paying attention to your physical health, upgrading your skills, and networking tirelessly are key. Chances are 80% that your next job will come through a personal connection.