Select 'Print' in your browser menu to print this document.
Issue: November 23, 2003
CAREER PROS: Gray, and Going Strong
by Lona O'Connor
Two readers are feeling old in the job world, and wondering what to do. First, Chuck describes himself as a "mid-50s former executive" whose job became obsolete three years ago. He is having no luck using his experience and contacts to find work in the industry where he worked for 25 years. "Basically I'd become a dinosaur," he writes.
He sent out resumes, wrote a business plan, registered on Internet job sites and consulted executive recruiters. He suspects that his resume
makes him look obsolete. "I need a recruiter who will recognize my potential, but I can't seem to make that connection. I may be a dinosaur but I'm far from dead," he concludes.
Maybe you need to be your own recruiter, Chuck. Focus your search:
Often, the barrier for executives seeking new jobs is that they are inflexible about what jobs they will take. Instead, look at a job in the larger sense: Is this a company and a group of people I would enjoy working with? Is this a boss who would recognize my strengths? Does this company meet a majority of the criteria on my checklist, including salary, benefits, working conditions and opportunities?
No job is a perfect fit. Knowing that, and realizing that your next job may be quite different from your last one, will keep you alert for jobs that might work well for you. If you take a hidebound approach that you will not settle, you should not expect to be employed anytime soon.
Another reader, Mary, has a job, but it's not using all she has to offer. She describes herself as "one of those older workers," an administrative secretary, age 70, punctual, dependable, accurate, emotionally stable, and even taught herself the latest computer skills, then taught them to a co-worker.
She likes her boss and co-workers, works a desirable part-time schedule, but still feels underappreciated. "I have a lot more to offer than to just sit and type the same written reports over and over again, but because I am old, I am not offered that opportunity. I am invisible to them as a person who could be a viable solution to many of their problems. I consider myself lucky. But my work is far from fulfilling and I miss that so much."
Launch a campaign. Mary could benefit from launching a campaign to get herself promoted within the organization.
Despite your best efforts, Mary, your boss may have no clue that you have further aspirations. So talk yourself up. There is, no doubt, some procedure that could use streamlining. Get into the boss's office with a plan to fix it, preferably by using existing resources in a new way.
If you want to stay on your present schedule but need projects to keep you busy and feeling like you're doing significant work, this is the best plan for you. You will get a morale boost with every project.
Here are other ways to get the boss's attention: Volunteer. Take on a short-term project or join an employee committee. This gets you noticed in the way you want to be, as an idea person who is committed to improving the company. Apply for job openings that would fit your abilities and your work schedule.
Dream it up. Now here's an idea that will work for both Mary and Chuck: Dream up jobs for yourself. This works whether you're employed or unemployed. When there is no job available that fits your unique set of skills, write one up.
The boss or potential employer may not be able to set it up exactly as you want it, but may be able to offer you at least some aspects of it.
Lona O’Connor’s book Top 10 Dumb Career Mistakes and How to Avoid Them (VGM Career Horizons, $14.95) is available at www. Amazon.com. You may e-mail Lona O’Connor at: Lona13@AOL.com. Please include name, address and phone.
Copyright 2013 JJ Acquisition Corp. All rights reserved.