Most workers will experience an unplanned job change at some point in their career. What’s more, if this change happens after the age of fifty, four key trends kick in:
- Finding a new job takes longer and longer, the further we age beyond 50. US studies show that the average search time to find a new job for a worker 50+ years old is around 15-18 months.
- Most workers are required to lower their expectations in terms of role, status and earnings to win a new job. Life style erosion follows as a consequence.
- Career ‘gaps’ on resumes and applications raise alarm bells with prospective employers and cause candidates to be passed over unnecessarily.
- Over time, declining morale of candidates without jobs can have significant negative impact on a their ‘attractiveness’ to a prospective employer and lowers chance of securing employment in the long term.
In many cases, employees that lose their jobs over 50 years of age my never find paid employment again. In Australia, long term unemployment is causing older workers to simply give up the fight and leave the job pool. Australian unemployment averages around 6% overall but age demographics suggest below age 20 is around 25% unemployment and above age 50 is around 20%. The difference with the older workers is that they have already taken a backwards step in career expectations and job status, or have left the workforce all together.
So here we have it… forced career change is a given. As we age, change becomes even more likely and the chances of getting another satisfactory new position decline with age… unless we take steps to mitigate the likelihood and impact of an enforced change. Here are five simple tactics for your career continuity strategy:
- Don’t lose your job: until you want to. Find the few things that make you uniquely valuable to your current employer, develop them and promote them as part of your unique ‘ personal brand value’. Become indispensable for your value, not your effort.
- Plan for change: Change is likely to happen so how are you planning to manage it in terms of financial, physical and psychological resilience. Begin to develop ideas of how you would fare, beyond mere survival, during a period of enforced change. Plan your contingencies.
- Wise up to your own assets: It’s very easy to become defined by our current job; in fact, that’s exactly what most employers do to us. So, when the job environment changes we are often judged as ill-fitting to the new conditions because we were so well-suited to the old regime . However, we are more than merely what we are doing right now. Our experience has given us tangible and intangible skills, know-how and attitudes that make us ideal in all manner of situations. Understand what you are worth, beyond your current price tag.
- Broaden your horizons: How often have we complained about the role we’re playing or the rut we find ourselves in today? We may hate where we are, but it suddenly becomes earth shattering if someone takes it away from us. We tell ourselves that it’s a financial disaster, but really the impacts are more about our view of ourselves; our sense of belonging, our sense of value, our sense of contribution and our comfort with the status quo. Stop for a moment to consider how we ended up in the position we find ourselves. Did we choose it? If we got a ‘do over’ would end up back here? Probably not. So why not broaden our vision of ourselves today.
- Dream the dream: In a crisis, we tend to forget about our dreams and drill back down to lowest common denominator. We bunker down into survival mode. Well, before a crisis falls upon us, why not capture the dream today. If change is coming (and it most likely is), why not harvest our dreams and make them a reality… today. That’s right, head change off at the pass. Change life on your terms, not someone else’s.
Change is coming, so get ready for it. It’s never too early to start planning for change and being prepared for it. Indeed, your planning may even point up new options that are better than what you’re doing today. It may be that now is the time to bring change upon yourself, rather than letting it happen to you.
Is now your time to get the life you want? Why not give us a call to discuss the rest of your life…