It's Never Too Late to Find Your Next Career

Strategies and savvy websites to help baby boomers and others find new, more rewarding careers.

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The Boomerater™ Report, our weekly collaboration with online baby boomer resource Boomerater, this week explores factors to consider when searching for a new career. Here is the question from a Boomerater member: “I am planning to leave the very stressful job I have held for the past 10 years. At age 55 I still want, and need, to work, but I’m looking for a job I like, closer to home. I’m concerned about changing jobs at my age in this rough job market. I’d be interested to know of websites that cater to the 50-plus crowd and also about companies that realize the benefit of hiring older, wiser employees.” Other Boomerater members shared these suggestions:

[See 15 Top Office and Home-Based Jobs for Seniors.]

Reinvent yourself. There is a great deal to say for re-inventing yourself! Consider fields which are adjacent to your expertise and experience, but tweak the dial to a new application. I spent my entire life in education but decided to make a career move at 50 to day care director and owner. Not only was it exponentially more profitable than teaching, but it challenged me in ways the public school system never could. This work engaged me intellectually and emotionally and gave me the opportunity to be what I always was, only a lot better! It also was a most excellent move financially, since it allowed me to retire in a mere 10 years, with more money in the bank than I ever could have saved while teaching. However, make no mistake: It was extremely hard work with long hours and tremendous responsibility. Not recommended for the faint at heart.

Lessons learned. Having taken early retirement at 55, and survived to date at age 67, I know what you are about to go through. I had skills in an emerging industry so I was able to stay relatively well-employed. Here are some of the lessons I've learned:

  1. Be certain you have skills that are in demand
  2. Be certain you have a firm job offer (contract signed) before you leave your current job.
  3. If you are looking for a job, you must network. Join LinkedIn and learn from what you see there.
  4. Be certain you are quicker (and appear to be quicker) than your colleagues. Your age shows in your slowness and people associate competence with the pace you demonstrate. I've always walked fast. That gave me a 10-year or more apparent age reduction.
  5. [See 7 Tips for Finding Right Volunteer Work.]

    Consider being your own boss. With 10 years of experience at your current job, you might take an inventory of your skills and knowledge and think about using them to become self-employed. There are many opportunities for working independently with low up-front costs. Do a Google search for “tips for self-employment” and you will find a wealth of ideas and leads—everything from mistakes to avoid and how to work at home, to tax tips for the self-employed.

    Recommended websites. Have you checked out Quintessential Careers? I have a friend who has used it and it helped steer him in the right direction. Another member agrees: This is an excellent site with lots of valuable tips for updating resumes to highlight your skills, tactics for older workers, advice on communicating your experience, and great job and volunteering site leads. And yet another member says: I have found Jobs 4.0 to be an excellent resource for job hunters 40 and older. Good luck with your new career!

    Add your own comments or read other member advice about career ideas for those over 50 at Boomerater. Boomerater is an online resource for baby boomers, with comprehensive directories to help you find everything from wealth managers to home care. The site also contains forums where boomers can post questions and swap first-hand experiences. If there are questions on your mind that you would like answered by other people who have faced similar situations, or you have advice of your own to share, go to Boomerater.com and participate in the forums. Say that The Best Life sent you.

    [See 6 Steps to a Better Retirement.]