Ironically after 50, it often becomes more challenging to find formal employment in a market where younger and less expensive albeit less experienced talent abounds. I have experienced cut off ages of 58, in jobs I applied for internationally and many immediate regrets when a Personal Details form was filled in (despite being an excellent match in all the criteria required)
Many Baby Boomers were brought up believing that working for a company in a “formal” job is the only employment option and that loyalty is appreciated and that job security exists. Both are no longer valid and a more flexible and entrepreneurial approach is critical. In approaching the quest for finding a suitable means of earning income, for that after all, is what is required, consider the following coaching tips:
Your skills and experience are invaluable and without self-worth and self- belief, the best made plans are likely to fail.
A structured analysis of your skills, passions and expertise is the starting point for analysing career options. Advertising your age is inadvisable, so avoid including your ID number on a CV and a well drafted professional profile is a great marketing and connecting tool.
Your hobbies and passions could translate into a career option. Entrepreneurial opportunities abound if you are able to identify them and develop a sound business plan.
Referrals and networking reap far greater rewards than conventional approaches. You are your own biggest resource and marketing yourself effectively is critical. You can do two jobs concurrently and you can have both a formal Plan A and an entrepreneurial Plan B. Adapting to change is vital, for a flexible and fluid approach is required.
The overriding purpose is to avoid a stagnant and debilitating period of sitting around being unemployed. Look at gaps in the market and services that are needed and while you are getting organized commence with interim work on a part time basis. A short course might be required to bridge the gap but Au pairing, a tour guide course, teaching English as a foreign language, counselling, tutoring, assisting an NGO or doing online work are all interim options while you do some thorough career analysis and planning.
Becoming a consultant, trainer, moderator or assessor in your field of expertise is a viable career for those of you with specialist or technical expertise. Starting your own business might also work provided you have done thorough market research and business planning As a retired nurse for example, you might identify a gap for reasonable 24 hour flexible home nursing services for the elderly. If this seems too daunting, start by marketing yourself as a nursing home assistant. You are unlikely to be short of work. How you approach this is critical.
The bigger picture is important. Work on your own wellbeing by doing a lifestyle audit, scaling down your living expenses and eradicating debt. Have a serious talk to your family and friends and enlist their understanding and support while you are in this transition. Work on your mental wellbeing by consciously eliminating doubt and self-defeating thoughts. For things to happen, a disciplined and structured approach is vital. Plan your approach, allocate daily time and track and document your progress.
If providing a service or selling products, do competitor and market research, work on what differentiates you, look at branding, develop a website, and work on costs, your budget and pricing. Be very clear on who your target market is and plot approaches and marketing strategies. Put your plan in writing, consult with a coach or mentor and ensure professional documentation. If necessary start small and utilise networks and friends as an initial sample client base.
The bottom line is that you are your own biggest resource and you have many options and opportunities available to you if you plan them in a conscious way and follow through with a layered and integrated approach knowing that you have what it takes to make a difference.
About the Author
Career Coach, Retrenchment Reinvention Specialist, CV Writer, IELTS Instructor. Visit her website to keep up to date with her latest career advice.