Build a Portfolio Career

Building a Portfolio Career

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Changing Jobs in Mid Life

I recently had a slightly surreal experience which set me thinking about the way that we each view our world.

We arranged to take a long weekend break in Europe that involved getting a taxi to the station, arriving at 4am – an early start! The taxi duly dropped us off just before 4 and we were blearily taking our cases out of the car when a 20something lad wandered up and asked the taxi driver if he could take him home.

So here we were, talking to the same taxi driver about the same taxi but from a completely different perspective – we were starting our day and looking forward to going to France and our 20something friend was ending a long night out and looking forward to his bed.  We were in the same place but viewing the situation from a completely different perspective.

The same is true of politics – I can see it’s the government’s fault, you blame the world crisis. We’re both looking at the same situation.

And music – we listen to the same song – you love it, I hate it.

What about the mid life relationship crisis? Let’s say that your friend becomes involved with a young bride or a toy boy. Whether the new love interest is from Russia, Thailand or from the same country as your friend, do they really think that it’s all going to have a happy ending? You don’t, they do …

So what do we learn from this? That we all view the world with different eyes? This probably indicates that Mid Lifers typically see things differently to younger people. Mid Lifers have more experience to draw on, more real life examples of what works and what doesn’t – the generation gap, if you like. In the world of work, does this prejudice younger people (the hiring managers) against Mid Lifers?

If you’re looking to change jobs, or need to find a new job because you’ve been made redundant, ask yourself where you are most likely to be successful and happy. You will probably have a lot of transferable skills but that doesn’t mean that they can be transferred everywhere. Think about where you are most likely to be happy – that is probably going to be where you can also add most value. If you’ve worked in the customer service department of a big company and you like gardening, working in a large garden centre might strike the right notes for you. If you’re in your 40s, worked in local government for the last 15 years and play in a band at weekends, you’re very unlikely to be happy working in the media. Do you see the difference?

Working in a garden centre ticks the ‘gardening’ box, the ‘customer service’ box and the ‘midlife’ box.

Working in the media ticks the ‘music’ box but most definitely doesn’t tick the ‘mid life’ box – the media is populated with young, thrusting ‘metrosexuals’ who are unlikely to share most of your midlife views of the world.

So understand that we all view the world from different standpoints and that this may affect your chances of landing that new job and ultimately, your likelihood of being happy and productive in your new role. Think about the working environments in which your views and those of your potential new boss and colleagues are likely to coincide rather than conflict – this is where you will find happiness and fulfilment in your work.

Sounds obvious? Maybe, but how many Mid Lifers think they know better!
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1 comment:

  1. I understand what you're saying. I, to, am in that mid-life-made-redundant phase (I'm not redundant, but there are decision makers who don't know their "blank" from their "blank", if you know what I mean. But I think those of us int he middle will come out on top, because we have enough wisdom to know what we should be doing, and still have enough kid in us to take a chance at something really different. I'll keep you posted!