Career Issues

Make Your Next Step Positive

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People are living longer. Many are choosing to extend their work years past the point that traditionally marked the transition into retirement. But how do you stay energized and excited in your day-to-day work? Some have discovered that new challenges, even new career directions are just the thing to keep work invigorating.

Take Leonard Garrison, an AppleOne associate who retired from a 36-year financial career then grew restless and wanted a change. After extensive self-assessment, Leonard knew a career in real estate was what he really wanted. "Once I figured it out I knew I could change. The parts just needed to be rewired," he says. Many skills mature professionals have developed over their careers are transferable to other industries or positions.

"Working temporary assignments was ideal for me because I got to explore other areas I'd always been curious about," says Leonard. "I found myself gravitating toward real estate and let my Account Executive know I was interested in any opportunities available. I learned the ropes temping in a real estate office and eventually was able to transfer skills like loan processing, brokering deals, and analyzing finances." Today Leonard is a successful loan processor with a new lease on his career.

Labor economists consulting demographics point out that within seven years 30 million people in the workforce will be older than 55. Forecasts of a skilled worker gap coming in the next few years bode well for mature workers in two main groups: managers, who tend to be older, and skilled high-tech workers. Over the past half century there has been a growing trend toward early retirement, but the sheer availability of jobs could entice mature workers back into the workforce.

If you are an older worker considering re-directing your career or re-entering the workforce, your timing couldn't be better. Currently, mature workers are thriving. Women in particular are enjoying successful careers later in life. Statistics show that the average weekly wage of 55-64-year-olds is up nearly five percent since 2000. According to the Economic Policy Institute, mature workers are actually experiencing wage gains at a faster clip than any other age group.

The demand employers have for older workers seems to have risen. Career consultant Shennan Monroe instructs mature workers who are looking to make transitions to embrace change as a way to stay challenged. "Find some small corner of your current job that can be expanded on or look to opportunities to expand hobbies into a rewarding career," he says. Older workers have garnered the necessary experience to know which of their hobbies could turn into promising new career paths. If you're considering making the change, keep these career keys in mind:

  • Cultivate a Positive Attitude
  • Know Your Strengths and Emphasize Them
  • Carefully Evaluate Your Target Industry
  • Consider Temporary and Temp-to-Hire Positions as a Way to Move Transferable Skills Into New Industries or Career Directions


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