The changing face of your career path in these times over 50
As with everything else, careers and prospects change over time. Right now you might be facing change. It’s OK. You can still have control.
At some time or other and maybe on several occasions, we all take stock of our career, profession, calling, work life or whatever it is we’re engaged in. It’s natural. We have good reason to now as well as, let’s face it, things change and we have to change with them.
You might be facing an uncertain future. You may have had stability throughout your career and now it’s not the same any more. You may simply be ready to move on, but what will it be like now, and at this age? It’s OK. You can still have control. It’s still possible to manage your future career prospects – And it’s highly likely that to do so today you’re going to have to think differently. This can be daunting and that’s natural. In a way, it’s a soft skill that we should all learn regardless of our work. If we don’t [soft] skill up, no-one is going to do it for us.
The jobs market, the types of jobs available, their descriptions and the hunt and application for them has always changed. The pace of change in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s doesn’t compare to now though. The impact of the internet in this area is phenomenal; in terms of raw access to opportunities no matter where they are and the work involved in getting your application prepared and presented, it’s chalk and cheese. This isn’t the main point though. Learning how to use sites, find jobs and apply for them is procedural. Anyone who can use the internet can use the process.
“You may have had stability throughout your career and now it’s not the same any more.”
This is about the biggest change that faces us. We have to understand what peculiar challenges we have given what we do; how the sector is fairing in today’s economy, the competition (maybe in terms of sheer numbers going for the same thing, or our experience with newer practical skills, or of the age of our competitors) and the expectations of employers today. Work them out and understand them well.
Then work out what to do to move forward and on into the next age of the world. There’s a finite number of practical, technical, industry or practice skills needed and if you didn’t have them you wouldn’t have to job you do. Moving up has likely been the goal throughout the career and the level attained is to be congratulated. Moving up again is one option. Moving sideways and down are others and they may suit you.
The situation with moving sideways or down is where, again, it’s highly likely that you’ll run smack bang into the competition that haven’t been doing what you do for as long as you have, haven’t been in the work force like you have and maybe have formal credentials that you didn’t get the chance to achieve.
In these situations, your practical and demonstrable experience is your best weapon. The value of sharpening how you make that clear, compelling and advantageous, to your prospective employer can’t be understated. Formal credentials are hugely important and impressive. Showing how you are fully adept at applying the theory to the practical in real life, production is one very important way to make yourself stand out – how to differentiate yourself in a crowded market space. Everything you can do in this area is an example of how you can exercise control over the situation and so therefore also, the future.
In terms of the changes to work environments and the demographics and dynamics of work groups today, to be able to show by presentation, attitude and interaction that you’re “cool” and fit, sometimes perhaps as the older statesman, brother/sister or whatever, is also very important. Employers want to know that there’ll be harmony on the floor and a current atmosphere in the organisation. It’s up to you to make sure you’re comfortable with it. A fresh outlook can be as enjoyable personally as it can be professionally and changing it is something you can control too.
Also, when you join the new company, for some few months you’ll be the new guy or gal and you’ll have to be comfortable with that. If you’ve been with a company for a long time, it’s never going to be the same with a new company. It’ll be different. It’s OK for expectations to be worked on -Your expectations. And it’s another area where you can give yourself control.
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