Build a Portfolio Career

Building a Portfolio Career

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Career Advice for the Over 40s

Guest post by Lorraine Wright

Why do people in their 40's, 50's and even 60's suddenly find themselves looking for work? Here are two real-life scenarios.

At 61, James C. felt secure in his executive job at a prosperous aeronautical firm. In 30 years, he had never taken a sick day, and had brought millions in revenue to the company. So he was completely blindsided when, caught in a nasty dispute between two battling VP's, he ended up being handed an early, and definitely unwelcome, retirement. He was devastated and angry, and considered legal action.
Elizabeth N. also felt secure. After 25 rewarding years of staying home and raising a family, she had never wanted a career. She, too, was blindsided when an unexpected divorce left her, at 45, as a single mother with three young children, little money, and nothing on her resume but an outdated college degree and a few part-time retail jobs.

James was at first understandably bitter and angry, and even considered legal action, but quickly realized this was counterproductive. And he wasn't ready to retire. He decided to get a job, any job. Through networking, he heard about a company looking for someone to oversee a huge contract. The catch was, the company needed someone who could travel overseas immediately, and work with no supervision whatsoever. In other words, they needed someone mature with years of experience. James got the job, and worked successfully for this company until he decided to retire.

After taking a few months to get her bearings and deal with the emotional shock, Elizabeth invested in several computer courses. Then, she applied to a Temp agency, and over the next four years developed many new skills, gradually advancing to higher level jobs. At age 50, when she heard of an office manager's job, one requiring a mature person, she jumped at it, and was finally able to support herself doing a job she enjoyed.

Why else do people over 40 find themselves looking for work? There are many other reasons: People are downsized, laid off, or their companies shut down with almost no warning; some people take early retirement, picturing how wonderful a life of leisure will be, only to find themselves bored witless after only a few months; others are horrified to see a lifetime of carefully-invested money melt almost overnight to half or less of what it was, due to the shaky economy. Some people have their retirement dreams shattered when their investor disappears with their precious and hard-earned nest egg, and sometimes, women are widowed, and suddenly find themselves with much less income than they expected.

At first many people in these situations feel shell-shocked, and paralyzed. But with a little time, some good financial and career advice, and armed with knowledge and a good resume, many people in their older years can find themselves happily and gainfully employed.

Every situation is different and success is never guaranteed, but don't give up: "Success is almost totally dependent upon drive and persistence. The extra energy required to make another effort or try another approach is the secret of winning." ( Denis Waitley )

Lorraine E. Wright
21st Century Resumes designs technology-friendly, attention-grabbing resumes and cover letters, customized uniquely for each job seeker, to present them at their very best in today's crowded and competitive job market.

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