Stephanie has a masters in vocational rehabilitation. She has 8 years experience in job placement services for a range of clientele.
The Difficulties of Finding Employment Mid-Life
Looking for another job can be daunting at any point, however, there can be unique challenges as you approach or are well into middle age. It is important to mentally overcome these challenges, both externally and internally to get out of a rut and turn the page on your career goals. If these challenges aren’t addressed, it will be difficult if not impossible to get a new job. Life has a way of distracting you from your goals if you let it and overcoming those distractions are a daily struggle. However, finding a new job in midlife does not have to be overwhelming and painful. It can actually be fun and give you a sense of a new beginning around the corner. Here are some common challenges to finding a new job in mid-life and how to overcome them:
Self-doubt during a job search is not unique to midlife, however, it can be magnified at this stage in your life. Maybe you have been in a job for years that you find comfortable and predictable. Although you may have outgrown the position, at least you know the culture, the expectations, and the role. Finding a new job can be frightening and make you feel insecure. Maybe you haven’t had a job interview in a long time. Networking is different. It’s a whole new world out there for job seekers. Spend some time learning to network, fine-tune your resume, go on job forums to get information on what employers are looking for.
Also, focus on the reasons why you want to make a change in the first place and think about the skills you have gained as well as what makes you an asset in your current role. The knowledge you have learned and gained through life experiences alone can make you an asset to a particular company or organization.
Finding a job is a full-time endeavor in itself. Add family commitments, your current job, and any other responsibilities you may have, and it can be daunting. The most important thing to do to keep yourself sane and motivated is to set a schedule. Allot a certain period of time every day to focus on your job search. Don’t beat yourself up if the schedule doesn’t go as planned; just have a schedule. Tell yourself you will spend a certain amount of time every day working on your resume, networking, reviewing postings, etc. This will keep you on track and keep you grounded. Remember to rest and do something to unwind each day to stay focused.
Obviously, employers want the most qualified person at the cheapest price. And this can usually mean that person is younger. This is the reality. However, it does not always have to be the case. As a hiring manager myself, I have hired both young and older employees based on their skill-set, talents and what they can offer to solve our company’s current problems. There are hiring managers out there who do the same. Your job is to seek out those managers, find out what their problems are, and convince them that you are the best candidate to help solve those problems. Focusing on how your unique talents and skills can help contribute to a company’s needs will decrease the focus on age. My dad was able to get an executive position at a not-for-profit company at 70 because he was able to communicate how he could solve some of their current problems and that he was the best person to do it.
What is your Why for finding a new job? Have you envisioned yourself going to your new place, meeting new people, accomplishing new things? Have you pictured yourself with more money? A better schedule for family life? An opportunity to be promoted and develop new skills? Keeping your eye on the why will keep you motivated as you continue your job search journey.
It is inevitable when you put yourself out there whether that be dating or looking for a new job, you are going to be met with rejection. And when you are middle age, the rejection can feel 10 times worse. There were many times I applied for positions I thought I was highly qualified for and never got a response much less an interview. It is all part of the game. You will most often never know why you didn’t get an interview or didn’t get selected after an interview. It’s hard not to take it personally. It’s hard to keep moving forward. But the fastest way to overcome rejection is to keep moving forward. There are many jobs I didn’t get an interview for and look back saying, “Thank goodness, that opportunity wasn’t available to me.” And keep in mind that you are evaluating the job opportunities as well. I always kept my anxiety in check during interviews by making it my goal to interview them and determine if this is an opportunity I want.
Faith means battles, if there are no contests, it is because there are none who desire to contend
— St. Ambrose
Focus on the Whys and the Possibilities
Finding a job during middle age does not have to be fraught with self-doubt and stress. There are unique challenges in middle age but also unique opportunities as well. I feel I am more prepared for my current role because of my age and experiences, not despite them. Focusing on the whys and the possibilities will help offset any negativity and self-doubt along the way.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2018 Stephanie Greco