The “Original” 50 Shades of Grey

Fifty isn’t as old as it used to be. The average American today lives 29 years longer today than at the turn of the last century — but those years are being tacked on to middle age, not old age. People today are in better health and are planning to work longer. They have a whole career in front of them.

What to do if you still want to keep working?

1.Ask yourself how many more years you want to work. If it’s only five years, you can try to stay in your current field, perhaps with a smaller company. But if you want to work for 20 more years – as many people do – develop a plan that you find exciting. Plus, keep up your skills and join professional associations.
2.Decide how you want to live those years and what you must do to get there. Plan through age 90. Develop a vision for the next five years, fifteen years, and so on. Your fifties may be different from your sixties, which may be different from your seventies. But you can engage your brain for many years to come.

How to overcome the prejudice against older workers:
• Look spiffy: get some new clothes.
• Act the part….and tell yourself that you are valuable talent for hire.
• Self-Confidence and Positive Enthusiasm are both very sexy!
• Appear energetic: talk about going skiing or hang-gliding (just kidding).
• Be willing to pitch in: don’t see any task as being beneath you.
• Maturity and experience count. Many companies staffed with young people still want a few gray heads around to call on the big corporate clients and to
help the company avoid big mistakes.
• Don’t confuse age prejudice with salary prejudice. If people don’t want you because you cost too much, then don’t say that it’s because you’re too old.
Address the salary issue. Find someone who is willing to pay you what you are worth.
• Look to those companies with fewer than 1,000 employees. They need people who can hit the ground running.

Tips for over-50 workers:
• LEARN how to market yourself. Older people are often used to being in one place for many years. They work hard, but don’t know how to promote themselves to the world.
• DEVELOP new skills. Everyone else has to — why should you be different? Don’t say: “I’ll learn it after they hire me.” Learn it now. Keep up-to-date.
Things are changing. Consider part-time or temporary assignments to learn new skills.
• PROVE yourself even though you don’t feel you should have to. Recent grads and older workers both think that they have already proven themselves, but they are both out of sync with the market. Today, job search requires a more proactive approach.
• NEVER use your age as an excuse for not being hired. Maybe the problem is something else. Try to figure out what it is?

Good Hunting!

Mark S. James, CPC
Founder and President
Hire Consulting Services
San Diego, CA
Twitter: @HireConsultant

Hire Consulting Services is a highly customized executive outplacement and career coaching firm for executive level professionals. Mark is equipped with over 25 years of experience in Executive Career Management Coaching, Outplacement and Executive Search Consulting. He focuses on providing a proven and successful strategy and a structured process to fully enable his clients to conduct a professional job search campaign and with the singular goal of securing their next career opportunity in significantly less time it would take without a career coach. Clients gain a new perspective of their marketing value coupled with executing a strategic plan and closing the deal on their new role in their next job.

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