Finding Work And Purpose In The Golden Years

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Retiring doesn't mean the end of your work-life. Wondering how you find another purpose in life? Read Nicole Serena Silver's article from Forbes to know more.

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. - C.S. Lewis

It’s never too late to start something new. At age 51, Julia Child started her PBS cooking show. At 80 Wang Deshun became a runway model. Don’t let society's misconceptions tell you differently. ​​Now is the perfect time to pursue any unmet dreams and find fulfilling work. You also have the advantage of a handful of decades around the sun which gives you a stronger sense of yourself, as well as insight into societal patterns. This puts you in a better position to find greater meaning and happiness in your work.

Many people in their older years have the opportunity to draw on supplemental income from things such as a pension plan or personal savings. This gives you the chance to begin pursuits you’ve been putting on hold for decades or new interests you’ve been wanting to explore. Golden-agers are the only group that have a majority of people who can consider different vocational paths. Let’s take a look at some of these paths to see if there is one that speaks more to the life you are wanting to design.

Retirement

If you can retire, this is an excellent opportunity to pursue dreams and passions that you might have put on hold. This may mean no longer waiting to write your book or go traveling. It may also mean contributing to meaningful causes, mentoring, or finding ways to share the wisdom you have gained through the years.

Part-Time Work

Even if you have a pension plan or social security, you may still need to supplement your income. There are many ways to do this. You can choose to take on a job that is more intellectually challenging, such as becoming a part-time professor or consultant; you may want to make money doing things that are more passive such as dog-sitting; or finding ways for your passions or hobbies to bring in extra cash, such as selling art or teaching golf.

Full-Time Work

Many older adults love working and want to remain in the workforce. You may be at a place where the drive is not to make millions of dollars, but more so to immerse yourself in meaningful work that brings happiness.

Regardless of your age, there are workforce entry challenges. If you are in your golden years you may face challenges, such as agism, physical challenges, and/or a shift in motivation. Although these challenges are very real, they needn't stop you from doing what you love to do. An older worker also brings many unique strengths to the table. The goal of this section is to focus on how you can position yourself for the best outcomes in the workforce.

Addressing Fear

Fear and insecurities will creep up into your job search in unexpected ways if you don’t address them. Working through them ahead of time will set you up for greater success. You can begin exploring your fears below. Some questions to ask yourself are: What is my biggest fear when it comes to working? How is this fear helpful? What parts of this fear are untrue? What are some helpful tactics to address the fear when it arises?

Role Models

It is helpful to see examples of successes. There are many great examples of successful older people in most fields. Researching individuals can be beneficial for your motivation, and may even be tactfully shared during an interview. Who are the people who have been successful in their older years that you admire?

Finding Where You Are Valued

Every sector has roles where age is viewed as an asset. Brainstorm where your career capital, maturity, and wisdom are valued.

Emphasize Your Assets

There are many common assets older workers bring to the workforce. The University of Michigan found that subjects in their sixties fared far better than younger adults at imagining different points of view, thinking of multiple resolutions, and suggesting compromises. An article in Psychology Today spotlighted how older minds make significantly better choices by using their prefrontal cortex, where more rational, deliberative thinking is controlled. Other possible assets gained as we age are wisdom, maturity, perspective, and knowledge from lessons learned. It is also worth noting to future employers that these qualities can add to the diversity of thought, which is critical to the survival of companies that serve users of all ages. These are all solid reasons why you may be a great candidate for a job. What are specific individual assets that you bring to the table?

Stay Relevant

Your age isn’t within your control, but your actions, training, and attitude are. Potential employers may assume you are not up to speed on current industry knowledge. It is your job to show them this isn’t the case. Stay relevant and current to show that you are up to speed on the latest information and skills for your industry. Ways you can do this:

  • Upgrade your skills. There are many ways to do this such as taking a certification or professional development course, learning from online resources like YouTube or online forums, or finding someone willing to mentor you. What is the main skill would you like to gain?
  • Make the effort to stay on the cutting edge of your field by being aware of trends through places like publications and books, attending industry conferences, and following popular industry leaders and social media accounts. What is an action you can take this week to get you up to speed on industry trends?
  • Be meticulous with how you present yourself by using strong talking points and quantitative data regarding why you would make a good candidate for the job. For example, if you are wanting to land a legal mediator position, you can talk about how age has provided a core understanding of individual needs. Granting you the ability to settle cases x times faster than the most mediators. What are talking points you can include in an interview?
  • Finally, whether we say it or not, image matters. People will make assumptions about you based on your looks. For example, if you want to present yourself as a modern software engineer you have to also look at the role. You may want to consider purchasing trendy eyeglasses. What is one thing you can do to present yourself as a modern professional in your industry for your interview?

Tips For Competing In The Workforce

  • To avoid age bias you do not have to reveal your age on your resumé. Resumés should only show the past 10 years of work experience, not your whole career and you do not have to include the year you graduated college.
  • AOL and Yahoo email addresses are considered outdated. Get yourself a Gmail or Outlook email address for sending emails to future employers.
  • Make sure you have a digital presence with relevant content. Employers tend to do online searches on potential candidates. Create online profiles on sites such as LinkedIn, Medium, and/or Twitter.
  • Having years of experience adds incredible value: Have your story about what you bring to the table prepared and why you should be hired versus someone younger.
  • Still not sure what career is best? You can type “in-demand jobs for seniors” into a search engine to find good suggestions.

 

This article was written by Nicole Serena Silver from Forbes and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.