We Baby Boomers pretty much worked all our adult lives. Now, we’re moving into what I call our “Golden Years”. These are supposed to be the years where we get to do the things we’ve been putting off “until”. “Until I retire“. “Until Joan, Jim, Jake…finish college.” “Until the house is paid off.” For many of us, these “Golden Years” activities remained vaguely defined, never really taking on a definite shape or outline, perhaps simply because they always seemed so many years away.
Boomers work hard and long. Especially in the US, many Boomer workers don’t take all their vacation days and when they do, the iPad, Tablet and/or laptop goes right with them. It also looks like Boomers are retiring later than previous generations, and when they retire it’s very likely they will begin a new career or volunteer opportunity. Most boomers say they want to continue to contribute in some way.
Unfortunately for the Baby Boomers, one of the realities of our “Golden Years” may be the need to continue working, at least part-time, in order to off-set the loss of retirement funds.
Changing jobs, whether it’s voluntary because of retirement or mandatory because of lay-offs or termination, is hard. Boomers grew up in a prosperous world, where money for education and material needs was plenty. Jobs were plenty and pay was pretty good. Today’s economy isn’t so friendly and the job market is much more competitive. There’s also that unspoken stigma of “age”. However, Boomers are known for their work ethic and bring skills, expertise, experience, and maturity to the table.
For Boomers, a later-in-life career change should be viewed as an opportunity. Ask yourself, “What do I like to do in my spare time?” “If I had to do it all again, what would I really love to get up every morning and do?”
If you’re a Boomer and thinking about a later-in-life career change, whether from choice or because it’s been forced upon you, here are a few things to consider:
1. Assess your skills and see which if any, can be used in other jobs.
2. Does money matter? Or is it more about finding something that is meaningful?
3. Find where your passion lies.
4. Always be realistic; if your skills don’t suit the job, are you able and/or willing to get the skills you’ll need?
5. If you’re satisfied with your present company, perhaps you can ask for re-training into another position.
6. Being a Boomer, you may be considered an “older worker”. You can offset this by appearing energetic and in shape. Update your wardrobe and hair. Ask your kids for ideas, you may be surprised at how helpful they will be.
7. Don’t worry too much about your age, what’s really important are your skills and the things that you can do or what you are willing to learn.
8. Join organizations in the field that you’re interested in. You’ll meet new friends and be able to network with contacts who just may be able to help you connect to new possibilities.
These are just few of the things that you may want to look at as you think about your “Greater Years”. Your job experience matters and so do your work ethic and maturity.
Change can be scary, but it can also be fun. The world changes every day; change can happen overnight. A “Greater Years” career change will probably take a bit longer, but what the heck! If you see or hear of an opportunity that you think sounds like fun, go for it! If not, take your time, consider your options, and think about the things you love. This is the time of your life to really enjoy your days and do the things that enrich your life. As for me, personally, I’m thinking about grabbing my daughter’s really nice camera that she left behind when she left for college and shooting some photos!