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Starting Again

Train ride at amusement park

When a senior, man or woman, wants to return to work, even part time, it can be hard to know where to start looking for opportunities. We have piled up all this experience and skill and suddenly we’re not using it anymore. But there it is, ready to be used, in our field or some other, because experience is adaptable. When a pizza company executive is offered a position by a company that makes widgets, they’re buying the skill of the person, not what he knows about pizza, because they know his skill, or talent, or know-how, is  transferable to their product.

I think what I’m saying is don’t feel you necessarily have to look for work in your field. Maybe that will happen for you, but you don’t have to be pinned to it.

USA Today ran a story about a building contractor who, when the economy took a dive in 2008, decided he needed to do something else, so he opened his own tutor placement business putting kids and tutors together. That may not be what you do, but it makes the point that you should think out of the box.

Kerry Hannon, is the author of What’s Next? Finding Your Passion and Your Dream Job in Your Forties, Fifties, and Beyond. She says first we need to discover what we’re passionate about. It sounds strange to me that we don’t know what we’re passionate about, but Kerry says the hundreds of interviews she’s done have confirmed that fact.

She found that for many their passion isn’t about now, but about what they did as children.  As an example she tells of the career change of a retired Navy officer that was based on the  joy it gave him to be at the circus when a young boy, so he became the manager of a not for profit circus. His wife caught the bug and gave up nursing to be the circus wardrobe designer.

She recommends (I would add, if you can economically) that you take a while to transition to the new career. She says volunteer if you have to, or moonlight to find out what you really want to pursue. But she’s also aware that it may take a while to start earning again and it will probably be at a lesser income level, at least for sometime.

I also like this point Kelly makes: “It’s important to examine your current skill set and experience to see if they’re transferable to different challenges and fields. Search inside, and answer some important questions: What am I best at? Ask friends and colleagues, too.”

I think the best thing to do is start your research. And remember, as I once said…When you’re doing something, you’re not doing nothing. Is the grammar right?

P.S. Many stores like Walmart hire seniors to act as greeters. Check it out.

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