Where Do I Begin?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Working after 60: The Impossible Task?

The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.
- Walter Bagehot

The above quote made me think about the term, “impossible.” What exactly does that mean? In Christopher Columbus’s time it was impossible to sail around the around the world. Common belief at the time was the world was flat, and one would fall off the edge if one tried. It used to be impossible to have a conversation instantly with someone 1000’s of miles away. Yet somehow we have mastered that little bit of impossibility. In life, there are opportunities that we have passed up due to the belief that it would be impossible to achieve. Looking back can teach us to strive for the impossible. Who knows what we could achieve if we would only attempt it in the first place.

As a child, my father decided it was time for me move from the tricycle to the bicycle. I was not a fool. Being witness to how many times my older brother fell, I was convinced I would never learn. However, my father was an incurable optimist. He insisted that I try it. Dad put his hand on the back of my neck, held the back of the seat, and instructed me to pedal like mad. With his hand grasping the back of my neck, I had no choice but to succeed if I intended to keep my head attached to my body, or so I thought. Looking back, I laugh, as I realize I was in no real danger. Yet I learned an important lesson that day; that I was capable of much more than I realized.

With today’s job market changing so rapidly, many of us are considering going back for more education. Newer ways of doing things, increased technology, and changing viewpoints are making further education necessary if we hope to stay current. The thought of having to go back to school can seem impossible, yet in fact, the hardest part of the process is making the decision to do it. With online virtual courses, and accelerated college terms, it is now possible to complete a 3-4 credit hour course in just 6 weeks in the comfort of your home. At 60, six weeks will speed by. Think what you could accomplish in 6 months.

There are many benefits for  the employer when hiring older workers. After the age of the baby boom, there was a marked decrease in births in the US. Employers are now beginning to consider keeping and hiring older workers to make up for the decreased amount of workers that will be available in the near future. Do not let the current job market get you down. In this economy, many employers would rather hire a “seasoned” and mature employee that may need less training. Many older workers no longer have the expenses of paying a mortgage and raising children, and do not need a full 40-hour workweek to make ends meet. Less training and less paid hours can equal savings for employers.

With people living to be 80, 90 and 100 these days, why take yourself out of the job arena so soon? It might take some effort on your part, to reinvent yourself and keep yourself current. It will definitely mean you need to redefine your age and what you are capable of at 60. The only thing holding you back is YOU. If you can believe it, then it can be possible, so why not try.

Until later, Leighlee

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Employment after 60. Change the way you think.

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives." Sidney Madwed

It is said we are what we eat. If we apply that same concept to our minds, can it be true that we become what we think? Does our perception of ourselves, right or wrong, have such a profound effect that it can actually change what we are by just our believing it? Reality, whatever that may be for an individual can be determined by what they believe to be true. So if we change what we think, we can change what we are.

Keeping positive thoughts can be difficult after months of sending out resumes and not a single interview to show for it. The important thing is to stay current, and keep changing our focus and goals as the job market changes. Unfortunately, if we become stuck we will not move forward. Feeling sorry for ourselves because things have not turned out the way we thought they would, will only make us stagnant. I was listening to a motivational tape where the speaker was talking about a man who lost his job and after almost a year, he had still not found a new one. The man had a bad attitude. The speaker called it "Stinking Thinking ". The jobless man could not move past his anger and fears, and that "stinking thinking" mentality came through in his cover letters and interviews. The 'stinking thinker" is much like one who eats garlic for dinner, and then offends everyone with their bad breath. "Stinking Thinking" will ooze out of every pore of your being and you will find everyone trying to avoid you.

Thus if we agree that positive thoughts bring positive results in our life, perhaps the first thing to do is look inward and deal with the source of those negative thoughts.  Many times if we do not know how to proceed, we freeze and become incapable of any sort of action. The single most effective tool to move forward might be to start doing something, ANYTHING. Make a course of action and start moving on it, no matter how feeble it might seem at the time. Once we set a plan in action, positive thoughts will follow, and we may be in a far better frame of mind to continue planning our path. We will at least rid ourselves of the guilt involved with doing nothing. Action can lead us to redefine what is important in our life; making the path, we should take even clearer to us.

Thanks, Leighlee

Power of Positive Thinking

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My Links

Job Resources for Older Workers

ARRP Expand Job Resources for Older People

US News and World Report: Job Resources for Older Workers

Better Days ahead for Older Workers

Senior Employment Resource

Resumes for Older Workers

Hiring Older Workers

Approaches and Tactics for Older Workers Who Can't find a Job

Issues for Older Workers

Letting Older Workers Work

Finding work after 60: Where do I begin?


This is a blog about becoming 60 years of age and suddenly finding that you need to go back to work to survive financially. I will explore the options and possibilities open to those who, like myself, are soon turning 60 plus. How do I reinvent myself to become productive and successful at an age that used to be a time for making retirement plans? In the present economy, many 60 plusers find themselves, needing to either continue working or leave retirement and re-enter the work force. For those who have been in retirement for even as little as a few years, finding a job can become a mountainous task. The job market is not the same as it was when we first entered it. New terms, new job titles, new job descriptions make it hard to understand just where we could fit in. Then at 60, I wonder who would hire me over a 25 year old looking for the same job? There are so many aspects of this topic that need to be addressed. It is my hope that I can get to most of them.

This is a really depressing place to find myself in right now. I always thought that at this stage of my life, I would be reaping the fruits of my labors. No one told me that things were going to change like this. I am not a whiner, but I do realize that I have fewer options left open to me at this age, and I may need to do creative thinking to find new options. It is easy to forget that there are so many others out there with the same worries and fears that I have right now. My own situation seems so bleak that most days it is all I can focus on. But I bet there are a lot people out there, who are dealing with the same set of problems and issues as I am. If you are like me, you might also have to make impossible choices like whether to keep your home or your healthcare insurance. That is why I am starting this blog. I would appreciate any help, advice and stories from those in the same boat as I am in. Perhaps as we explore this together, we can find a way to make a place for us 60 Plusers in the current job market.

Finding a starting point is difficult. I have so many questions. Should I go back to college and get some new courses to make myself more current as an employee? I suppose, if I do decide to take some courses, I wonder what area of study would be most productive for me to focus on. If I do invest my time and money in further studies, will I become more valuable, or will my age hinder me? Perhaps I should start by trying to achieve a positive attitude. If I do not believe I would be an asset, then I will never be convincing at an interview. This is hard. After 40 successful years in the work force, I feel that I have to prove my worth all over again. So my first task is going to be to reorganize my thinking. A rebirth of sorts in the way I think is in order. I will begin to focus on the beginning of a new journey, instead mourning the loss of an old one. This idea of retirement is a luxury now...one I can not longer afford to entertain. It is a different world now, and if I can not change to meet the new challenges, then I will fail. I have to give up my preconceived ideas of life as I thought it would be and face the reality of what it has become.

I need to explore how I could use the experience, and talents I already possess, and utilize them in a different way. This part will require a lot of "out of the box" thinking. The job market may have changed, but I still can to find a way to use the training I already have. This will require reinventing me and finding new ways to market myself. I need to figure out where else I would be considered a valuable asset.

Once I have managed to reorganize my thoughts, and my image of myself. I suppose my next course of action should be to study the newest trends in the job market, the new terminology and definitions, to better understand what employers are looking for. There are new job titles out there that I am seeing, and I have no idea what they mean. There might be jobs I would qualify for, that I am passing up, because I don't recognize the job title. Also I am finding out that employers are expanding job descriptions to include increased duties and new areas of expertise. Many are even combining what used to be two separate positions into a single one. To be a successful candidate, I need to understand these new treads. One of the biggest changes for me is HOW to find a job, and HOW to pursue it. Job sites, such as Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com have changed how people look for and apply for jobs. I need to figure out how to stand out amongst so many others applying for the same job so I can at least get to the interview phase of applying for a job.
So I have plenty of work to do. As I proceed, I am sure I will become more organized in my process. Again, please leave your thoughts. Thanks for reading!