Much has been written about older workers and pros and cons mooted in considering the benefits of hiring or retaining older workers in favour of younger ones. The future of work is uncertain for most of us, and that uncertainty increases as we get older.
Some clients I meet fall into the ‘dangerous’ mid-50s age group that makes them feel very vulnerable. That vulnerability is caused by many things including the loss of income, loss of status (and the trappings that goes with status), social standing, feelings of uselessness, lack of personal focus & direction, loss of access to support services, loss of workplace friendships, fear of being unable to secure another job, social isolation, and a general loss of control over their life. As one client said to me recently, “I want to be in control of when I choose to retire.”
But I’d like to challenge clients to start viewing this time of life in a more positive way. It can be the time to get your dream career underway! Your qualifications are absolutely still valued – whether they’ve come through independent learning or more formal training, and your life experiences add considerable richness to your perception and perspectives. Don’t discount all that you’ve learnt and picked up along the way. You will have many facets to your tool-kit and these will be valued by other people.
Money & Older Workers:
One challenge that many people feel particularly fearful of is the reduction in income. Is it possible to live on less money? I’m going to stick my neck out here and suggest that by the time you’re in your mid 50s, you may well have paid your mortgage off and you may have some money put aside. While I’m not suggesting that we can live on nothing (most of us need some form of income), I do believe that many of us can live very comfortably on much less money and by allowing yourself to embrace this notion it takes the pressure off having to land a well-remunerated job and opens up more avenues to pursue. For some clients, this new perspective is very liberating and has led to some truly successful outcomes.
So, if you’ve been made redundant or if you’re sticking with a job that you’re not particularly excited by because you’re fearful of the alternative, perhaps you could consider exploring other options that are out there as part of your deliberations within this new framework.
By really delving into your finances to understand what your bottom line is, this may allow you to think quite differently about other possibilities at this ‘dangerous’ age. And while this fresh perspective might not be financially possible for everyone, for those older workers who are able and willing to take the plunge, it just may open up a whole new dimension in your life. Who knows, your new future might become the most fulfilling decade or two for you yet!
If you’d like to discuss your mid-life career options with me, please contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Katie’s bio can be viewed here.