Mid Life Moves
People who are looking for work over 50 have so many skills and so much experience to offer the world of work, but many people in this age group that I’ve worked with lose their confidence, telling me they feel that their skills are out of date and that they won’t be able to find anyone willing to give them a chance in work. Looking for work over 50 need not be as challenging as you think though.
Strong Skills on Offer
Of course, you may have noticed that I’m not in this age bracket myself so how would I know what its like for older people in the workplace? The answer is that I don’t know exactly what it’s like, but I have worked with this specific age group before and I base this blog on that experience and also I can draw on some of the similar emotions they described when I have been in similar positions to them.
Many people looking for work over 50 have been working in the same company for many years, which shows loyalty. They may have had several job roles within that organisation. This can be seen as a disadvantage as they have not seen different ways of working and may have become set in their ways.
However, what it tells me is that they were committed to their job and they were successful in that role. However, whilst they may have tons and tons of work experience (and life experience) job seeking is very different from the last time they applied for a job. It used to be word of mouth and a little bit of a chat with the new manager and start the next day. Recruitment now is very competitive and there are a number of hoops that you must jump through to even get to the interview let alone start the job.
Not Ready to Retire Yet?
Other people who are out of work or facing redundancy may consider retirement and will be wondering if they are able to afford to retire. I can’t help someone work out their finances (but I can tell them about people who can) but I can help to untangle all the emotion attached to this. I can also help identify what might be an option to explore. Some people look forward to retirement but there may also be a sense of loss and maybe some confusion – especially if its happened before they had planned it to. This can affect a persons sense of identity, status, power and structure. It can impact on relationships, finances and confidence.
Some people looking for work over 50 wanted to stay in a job at the same level and status as they were in. Others wanted to take a job with less responsibilities and less stress.
Real and Perceived Barriers
When someone is looking for work over 50, there are some internal and some external barriers to overcome. Some of them are perceived and some of them are real.
Young and Energetic
One of these is that employers would rather employ a younger worker than an older worker. This may or may not be true and one of the things I ask my clients if they say this is “Do you really want to work for an employer who doesn’t value your experience and skills?”. The answer is usually no, and so if this is the case then the attitude of the employer means they have very kindly ruled themselves out of the running and are missing out on a valuable resource. Of course there are many employers who would actively want to employ an older worker and some of these places are well known for this – think of B&Q and ASDA. I’m pretty sure there are more – if you’re an employer who values older workers please let us know in the comments. We’d love to celebrate your company.
The Pro’s and Con’s of Being Over 50 in Work
When I worked with groups that were exclusively people looking for work over 50 we did an exercise – the pros and cons of being over 50 and looking for work. We wrote 2 lists – one for the pros and one for the cons. The list of pros was always longer than the cons and this helped the clients feel more positive about where they were and where they were going next. It didn’t matter to us whether or not those clients found work, decided to retire and took up walking, started to look after their grandchildren or jetted off abroad for 6 months of the year. As long as those clients had positive activity in their lives – that was the goal, happy clients.
Living Life to the Full
Cygnet is very like this – it’s about getting the most out of your life whatever that goal is or changes to over the course of our work together. But it doesn’t matter how old or young you are, whether you are starting out on your career path or coming to the end and you want less responsibility.
If you’d like some help to decide what to do next and to know how to get there give Kelly a call on 07881294894 or contact us here. I offer a free no obligation consultation so you have nothing to lose and your future happiness to gain!