Often during my past 40 years as a career counselor, clients in their 40’s and 50’s ask, “Am I too old to start a new career or go a different in my current career?”
My intention is to remind my clients that Americans are living much longer than past generations and are no longer working in physically demanding occupations. However, as members of society; our perceptions continue to be influenced by the old Manufacturing Model of retirement at age 65.
In 2021 many of us work in service, technical, or professional occupations that no longer constrain us physically. In fact, research confirms that continuing to engage intellectually and personally in the world and at work promotes health and vitality during our senior years. To help upgrade notions of age, look to our new leaders, President Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Trump who reflect vitality and continued engagement in the world rather than disengaging after age 65.
Instead of using the universal endpoint of 65 as the demise of a career or work life, imagine choosing to define the length of my career based upon my own individual physical, emotional and cognitive capacity. And more importantly, to include my own individual financial circumstances, purpose, and values as well.
In my career counseling practice, I often meet clients who enter with doubts stemming from the old stereotype age mindset preventing them from embracing new possibilities. Intervening at this juncture by affirming that mid-age is a positive time for reflection and reevaluation starts the renewal process.
Mid-Age also the realization that many years lies ahead inspires hope for renewal and new prospects. It becomes a valuable time to evaluate past decisions and choices. The evaluation includes defining strengths as well as pitfalls of the past. Both become a basis for expanding your strengths and shoring up vulnerabilities. Previous experience becomes a valuable basis for identifying skills, values and interests that transfer to careers and workplaces that fit more compatibly. Bottom line you are not starting over; you are building upon a substantial basis of self-awareness and clarity leading to healthier choices and directions.
The following blogs outline a process for moving through this important defining juncture in your life.