~by Rachael Murphey~
In former decades, a good worker could plan on remaining in the same company their whole working life, and that the company would take care of them. In the post-2008 economy, this pattern is less reflective of reality than ever before. Many workers across every industry and age category have been displaced by seismic shifts in the economic environment. Many need to retool and begin a new career from scratch. Your age shouldn’t stop you from pursuing a career that allows you to provide for yourself and your family. If you are feeling stuck or not fulfilled in your current line of work, or if you are in need of a new start, there is hope.
Let’s take a look at what workers should know about making a career transition later in life.
A College Degree May Not Be Necessary
It is one of the saddest myths of our culture that everybody needs a college degree to get ahead. According to Dave Ramsey, “Success is not related to education. How many people do you know that went $150,000 in student loan debt but they can’t get through a job interview because their relational skills are so pitiful! They’ve got 6 master’s degrees but they can’t look you in the eye and shake your hand. Nobody hires people like this! Teach your kids that success is not related to education. Do get an education, because being dumb is not a good idea, but no matter how many degrees you get, nobody promised you a rose garden.”
While it is true that college graduates do make more on average, don’t go borrow $50,000 to get a degree that may or may not even help you to make your next move. Depending on your current experience and the career that you want to transition to, you may not need a degree at all! You may or may not even need a trade certificate. Your skills and experience may mean more to potential employers than anything you might learn in a classroom – particularly if you have leadership experience. I’m a big fan of education – if it will help you succeed in the career of your choice.
Starting Your Own Business Is Easier Than Ever
Advances in technology have made it cheaper and easier than ever before to start your own company. Changes in the market environment over the past 20 years have also made it easier to become a freelancer or a consultant if you want more freedom over your career path. For example, if you were a mortgage broker in the past, you may be able to find work consulting or selling for firms such as Succeed at Eagle. It may also be possible to start a blog or a website related to finance and make money selling goods or services through that web presence.
Emphasize Your Experience With New Technology
If you are worried that you will be passed over in your chosen field, you should emphasize your ability to use modern technology. For instance, you should talk about your Twitter account or your finance blog as ways to show an employer that you understand how the business world works these days. While age discrimination is illegal, employers will expect that you have relevant skills and the ability to use modern tools to meet their needs. Therefore, it may be a good idea to ask your children or grandchildren how social media works or take a course at a local college before applying for work. If you don’t have these skills, you may be able to pick them up with help of a service such as Skillful Senior or Technology for Seniors Made Easy.
You don’t have to be fresh out of college to transition into a new career. As long as you have the skills and work ethic (or if you can get the right skills and work ethic), there is no reason why you can’t succeed in any field you choose.