How Mature Job Seekers Can Transition to A New Career
There was a time when employees found themselves working for a company for decades, but with the average length of a career dwindling, that is changing.
The truth is, changing careers later in life can be difficult. Not only do we have the financial expenses of our current lifestyle, but we then have to add the stress and work of finding a new job. This can be further complicated if the careers we’ve had come from industries on the decline so we have to look beyond the scope we’ve been working with for years.
Reasons for change
The reasons we have for changing careers won’t be the same for everyone.
1. The Advance of Time
Just as there are careers that exist today that didn’t even five years ago, there are those that are being slowly phased out. For instance, with the advancement of technology, many household items that used to be repaired locally are being entirely thrown out or aren’t being used at all any more. Likewise, many technological advancements like robotics have displaced many manufacturing jobs.
Pro Tip: Keep in mind tech like self checkouts require new higher-level positions for maintenance..
2. Company Dynamics
Just as technology advances threaten specific job categories, they affect companies at large. Many companies aren’t agile enough to change with the times and are forced to close. Then, it isn’t one or two people looking for jobs, but far more.
3. Physical Abilities
Though we may want to continue working within our chosen fields, our bodies may be saying something else. It may be time to put up the apron and choose another path so we don’t find ourselves working through the pain that old age forces upon us.
4. There’s more to life
When we started out in our career in our 20’s and 30’s, we were focused on our professional goals. Over time though, we started to have families and other responsibilities. We may find ourselves suddenly responsible for ailing family members or perhaps we’ve started families later in life. What matters is that with the addition of more or different responsibilities, our available time isn’t what it used to be. We may need to adjust some of the things we fill our days with to accomplish all that we want to.
5. We need more security
Just as the traditional 9 to 5 job has slowly been whittled away, so too is our notion that retirement comes at a certain age. We may find ourselves needing to earn more later in life as we pay for larger houses or medical ailments we never thought of in our youth. This path may lead to different retirement options as well such as working part-time or higher level use of our skills such as training others.
Sadly, sometimes we just aren’t the face that companies want to show. Older employees may find themselves on the outside of a company looking in as younger employees take over important roles. As we see the world around us change, we may find it necessary to make the jump to something else that better fits the skills we’ve accumulated.
7. Happiness is a journey
After many years of doing the same thing, we may just find we need a change. Eventually, as we achieve some of the goals we’ve set, establishing our happiness increases in importance. To achieve that, we may have to make some sacrifices such as the jobs we perform.
The First Step
As we transition later in life, we are usually afforded with a self-awareness that our younger selves may not have possessed. This means we should have an idea of what we want to accomplish in life or perhaps understanding what we require to be happy.
With that in mind, we should always do a self-assessment as we head into a change. Set our goals and establish certain limits on what we don’t want to do. These elements may have been a luxury years ago, but as we age, our priorities change.
When you’re doing your assessment, keep in mind the following:
- Physical limitations
- Financial burdens
- Things that make you happy
Once you’ve completed your assessment, you will be able to address the reason for change and start looking for your new career.
Don’t let Ageism get you down
Whether we like it or not, as we age, there are some things we can no longer accomplish. We begin to slow down physically and mentally. Unfortunately, many companies see this as an opportunity to let us go in favour of employees that have more energy or time on their hands.
You have something many newcomers to the job market do not have; experience. Translated into skills and qualifications, you have something very powerful that can be used not only in your original field, but anything else you may apply to. Leadership, technical, critical thinking, the list goes on. All these skills will help you excel.
Don’t let Fear stop you
To many older job seekers, self-doubt will be one of the largest hurdles to overcome. Stay mindful of your end goals knowing that you are moving to a better position that will offer you more happiness or pay. You may need to do some mental exercises to push the fear away.
Pro Tip: Never underestimate the value of your experience..
It’s never too late
Though many careers are starting to disappear, many are also being created. Mature job seekers who are versatile enough to shift their skills to these new positions will benefit from their life experiences and be able to fill positions that they may not have entertained if the change wasn’t necessary.
Pro Tip: Be ready to recognize opportunities that fit your skills and qualifications.