Lately I’ve noticed a lot of research indicates that most people live healthier lives if they are active and working. Recently both a client and a friend illustrated the challenge of this. The client was a man – mid-60s, with a rich and successful work history , who has been looking for employment for a couple of years. The friend was a woman – early 60s, still employed but wondering what to do with her career once she retires from full time work.
The risk for the client is – never getting engaged again in a way he can contribute his skills. He needs to explore how and where the core of what he has to offer is relevant to the challenges of today’s organizations, and use his rich network to either consult or find contracts that will help them. It may look different than if he was 40 and searching for a “job”.
The risk for the friend is – delaying leaving something that she is wanting to move on from, because she doesn’t know what is realistic for her to move towards. She needs to get clear on the criteria for her future venture and do some research and reality checking to see if and where opportunities may occur.
From my experience as a career counsellor I’d suggest the following for individuals exploring later life careers :
- Get clear on personal criteria for desired work activity in this stage of your life
- Be realistic about which of your skills are most relevant going forward for today’s challenges
- Network to test your ideas and ask open questions to explore possibilities not considered
- Start considerations early so your networking activities and resultant marketing materials are most relevant to meet today’s needs
The good news is that by mid-life we know ourselves better than when we were younger. If you listen at a deep level to what you already know about yourself and what you want, and attend as carefully during your research gathering and networking, you have the best chance of creating your best “what next” to support your healthier longevity.