Tips and Strategies for Job Seekers Past 50

Jack Isler, MD

Over 50 and Looking for a New Job?

Realistically speaking, it’s not always possible to retire from your current job. You could be close to being laid off, very unhappy with your standing in an organization, or bored stiff with a lack of job satisfaction. You could also be in an age group that, under normal conditions, you would stick it out until retirement. If you are older and thinking of moving on from your present job and relocating to another community, there are things you need to know and consider.

Important factors to consider are your readiness to take a hit to your ego and awareness of potential isolation. Even if you have a less than perfect job, you probably have developed a comfort zone that allows you the ability to stroke your ego occasionally. In a new job, even if you are the boss, you will need to prove yourself and deal with the possibility of many people resenting you. Positive feedback will be a rarity. As you move to the new job, the familiarity of surroundings and co-workers is gone. Your awareness of being alone will be accentuated by not having a “go-to” person with whom to talk or go to lunch. When you’re in an older age group and changing jobs, the usual places for meeting people are no longer present. In the past you may have met people through your children, friends of co-workers, or neighbors. While you build another network of friends and neighbors, work can become even more of a focus. You need to prepare yourself not only for the above changes, but for how others view you. This provides a potential for isolation, which can be avoided if you are aware of this prior to jumping to a new job. It may a time to reinvent yourself if there is a need.

OK, I hit you pretty hard with the negative stuff. You need the awareness of the negative side, but clearly others have gone before you and succeeded. There are studies that show that many workers over 45 who changed jobs were successful (82%) in transition and were happier. This comes from “New careers for Older Workers” by the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER). AIER also found that new job changers had 65% less stress. We have solid information that others before us made notable job changes and ended up being happier. Get started with a positive attitude. The change has some initial down side, but is highly likely to end well.

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