Canadians are living longer and healthier lives than ever before. This means that most of us can expect to be able to keep working well into our sixties and beyond. Because adults in mid-life can work longer, it can be expected that most will face a career transition. People may seek to transition their career due to a desire for more meaningful work, following a layoff, health issues or needing to enter or re-enter the workforce after major life transitions, such as divorce or when the last child leaves home.
Before jumping into a job search, consider what you want to do next. Here are three strategies to get you started.
1) Take stock of what you have to offer
Looking back on positive work experiences and achievements is a good exercise for recalling what you have done and what you have to offer. Write these down and be detailed about what you did and the result of your action or participation. This can help you identify your skills, values, and strengths.
2) Determine if your skills are current
At The Centre we occasionally see older clients who want to pursue work in a role similar to one they held for a long time — upwards of 30 years. They now find that their skills and qualifications need updating or that they require certifications to be considered for the same job that they once held. If this is the case, taking a refresher course, re-training, volunteering, or putting transferable skills to use in another career will help. For people who were laid off, retraining through Second Career may be an option.
3) Assess whether or not you want to stay in your former field.
This is the opportunity to move into a different area. Now is a good time to think about what you might want in your next position. Consider past roles. Where have you been the happiest or the most frustrated? What elements of those roles and environments did you like or dislike? What kind of lifestyle would you like going forward? The answers can yield clues to what you might like to do next.
4) Don’t go it alone.
Reach out to family and friends for support. There are also employment advisors and career coaches in the community who can help you figure out your new path.
Few people would describe looking for work as enjoyable. When they look back though, many people realize making a mid-life career change was one of the best things they did. Think about what is important to you, consider all the qualities and experience that you have to offer, keep learning, and reach out for support if you need it.