6 Ways a Mastermind Group Can Help You Achieve Your Dreams
The Problem of "You Don't Know What You Don't Know"

Four Critical Career Skills For the 45+ Crowd


 I do a lot of work with people who are 45+, trying to navigate an economy that they didn't expect--one that doesn't necessarily respect longevity or loyalty and that doesn't always seem to value what these people bring to the table. 

In this work, I've begun to identify some new career management skills that I think we 45+ people need to get better at in order to not only survive, but thrive in a new economy. Note that at 52, I fall squarely into the group of people I'm giving advice to, so this is coming from someone who gets you. 

Here are a few skills that are essential to we mid-career folks:

1. Working gracefully for younger supervisors

I talk to a LOT of people who have supervisors who are younger than they are--often 15 or more years younger. Some people are able to handle this, but I've seen a lot of people who can't. They make it clear that they don't have a lot of respect for the younger manager, questioning their judgement and generally assuming that this youngster doesn't know what they're doing. 

Clearly this is a problem--one that will quickly get you tagged as someone who is NOT a team player.

The reality is, more and more of us in the 45+ category will be working for people in their 20's and 30's. We need to get over the idea that this "shouldn't" be happening (it is) and figure out how we can create a productive, positive relationship with younger bosses. 

2. Starting over

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how 50 is the new 65 in the job market, and how many people are getting laid off at the peak of their careers. While some of us may be lucky enough to find new employment in our old occupation, many more people are finding that they have to completely reinvent themselves and their careers. 

Having to start over when we are moving into that stage of work when we thought that things might ease up a little can be incredibly frustrating and disheartening. But it's a reality of the modern economy and a skill that our younger co-workers understand is part of the deal. 

One of the reasons I am such a fanatic about multiple income streams and side gigs is because starting over is a lot easier when you've been building a bridge to something new already. It becomes less about starting over and more about gearing up in another area. 


3. Diversifying and expanding our connections

As we hit our middle years, we have a tendency to kind of hunker down into the relationships we've developed earlier in our lives. We can be less likely to be looking for new connections and groups of people because we may already feel like we're set with our circles. 

But the reality is that at mid-life, we may need to be making new connections even more than when we were younger. These new people can bring in new opportunities, new possibilities, new information and new ideas. These are the things that keep us fresh and resilient and able to navigate whatever comes our way. 

4. Letting go

I talk to a lot of people in their 40's and 50's who are clearly unhappy with their work lives. They've settled into something that is either incredibly boring or deeply unsatisfying to them and they spend much of their time fighting the inner knowledge that it's time to move on. 

I get this. Fear and the need to maintain a certain standard of living are powerful chains that link us to work that is long past its "sell by" date. But this inability to let go and move on can make you stagnant and bitter. And believe me, these are not great ways to be at work. 

We have to get better at recognizing when the season for something has passed and when it's time to move on to something different. When we do this, we can move on our terms, rather than when someone else decides it's time to go, which means we're much less likely to have to start over. 

These are a few of the skills I'm seeing a need for us to develop as we age in our careers. What career management skills do you see us needing to develop? And how are you handling this? 


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The comments to this entry are closed.