OLDER WORKERS, REINVENT YOURSELVES


A few years ago, back when I was a world-famous archaeologist, I met a young lady. To be more specific, it was over 35 years ago and I was directing a large crew excavating an archaeological site in Port Coquitlam, BC. The young lady, it turned out, was a university librarian, and she hunted me down to find a position for her father who was a professor of archaeology from Russia.

I had a full crew at the time, but I knew of a project that was happening in Hat Creek – a valley in the interior of BC. I made a few phone calls and the man was on his way to Hat Creek.

He was there for a week, and I learned from his daughter that he couldn’t take sleeping in a tent, and all that digging was hard on his knees. She thanked me for my help, and walked out of my life.  

I reasoned that this was the price of growing older in a career. You get old, and then you retire. I didn’t have a crystal ball at the time, and I couldn’t fathom it happening to yours truly.

But it is happening to yours truly. I have cut back on the number of fitness classes I teach per week, I have been thinking about taking naps at 2:00 PM, and this afternoon, I found myself putting sandals on over my socks.

Nowadays, in places, such as Canada, where there is no mandatory retirement age, and people are opting to continue working well into their 60s and 70s. I have met people who were working in their 90s – in a fish processing plant no less.

Older workers, like me, need to decide how to reinvent themselves to continue. Here are some tips.

Keep your skills fresh:

Ho matter what field you’re in, it is good to keep up with the latest trends in your field. If for example, you were in sales, you might want to study how you can use strategies incorporating social media to generate sales. For myself, I can use my coaching skills to help people make career transitions and/or transitions to better health and fitness. The trick here is to find out what skills you want to freshen up. You may find you are the best person to teach it to others.

Rework your resume:

You may have found yourself downsized, or worse, being in an industry that has become obsolete. For example, as I was going to university, I worked in a mill that manufactured cedar shingles. These are no longer a preferred (or even legal) building material because they burn too quickly. Many were laid off, and many never found work afterward. Their skill were redundant.

 Workers in this situation need to list all the skills on their resume, and decide which of them are ones that withstand the test of time and can transfer into another industry or field. For example, the person may have been a foreman. The worker can put some points about how they led people to produce:

  • Supervisory experience
  • Possess a hands-on leadership style
  • Capable of leading a crew of up to 40 people to achieve common goals

Learn what you do best:

Someone should have once said, “When it comes to tooting horns, one’s own horn is the mutest.” I won’t say that I wish I’d said it, because it’s not something a rugged individualist like me would say without feeling corny. Nevertheless, that’s why there are resume doctors. You need to take all the skills and present them in a manner that you can use to begin to work for yourself.

 I have an uncle who worked in a mill as a saw filer all his life.  When he got downsized, he found that he could make a better living by contracting himself out to other mills. If you can make an inventory of all your skills, you might find that there is room for you in the world of consulting and contracting.

 Now   Get to work!

 Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at michaelb@neilsquire.ca. or at 604-464-4195.  If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia.

 

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2 Responses to “OLDER WORKERS, REINVENT YOURSELVES”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Great job, as always. And one that is prodding me to upgrade my resume. “a rugged individualist like me” Love it. I’m not sure how to change “a tired great-gramma who needs a job because SS doesn’t keep her in chocolate” lInto something that sounds energetic, and ready to go, go, go. Any ideas?

  2. Catherine Says:

    Great advice!

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