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Monday, February 1, 2010

You're Never Old Enough :) 7 Signals its time for a Career Transition

ShareJob Seekers: Are You too old or "You're Never Old Enough" ?

Job Seekers Over 40 would you like to hear the world chanting "You're Never Old Enough" (aka Y.N.O.E. Pronounced YOU KNOW)   Or has that silent voice become a deafening sound inside your head  chanting  "you're much too old".   The world for a 40 plus year old job seeker today can be down right scary.  But........There is reason to be more optimistic then cynical or pessimistic. But more on that later.

What Happened to My Career?
It doesn't  matter what career you had chosen or perhaps wandered into (as many did) for the last 20 or 30 years of your professional life.
The world has shifted off it axis. Is the planet Earth no longer rotating at precisely the same rate or angle it did 10 or 15 years ago. Maybe this is only all part of Global Warming. Or does it just FEEL different. You were at the top of your professional game as a Banker, Automotive production worker, Electronics Manufacturing manager, Insurance agent, Real Estate agent, Airline Pilot, Home Depot electrical sales person or an  HVAC contractor. You had Money, Prestige and Job Satisfaction. But its not that way RIGHT NOW.

7 YNOE  ("You're Never Old Enough") Signals That a Career Transition is Imminent.
Has some or all of these 7 YNOE signals been rattling around in your head or perhaps quietly uttered by your co-workers:

  1. My work Feels meaningless.
  2. Our Industry is done.
  3. It is only a matter of time before my job no longer exists.
  4. I am working harder making less.
  5. Remember when we used to have FUN at work
  6. Auto pilot no longer works here.
  7. There is no career future here.

So as we (you and me ) ponder the harsh facts. No need to repeat what the Bureau of Labor Statistics has been telling us. Its simple that 1 in 5 of us is not meaningfully employed.  That's 45 million or so people.

 Learn From those who have made a Career Transition:
You might want to drift for a moment from denial to reality. 
Just for a moment. A brief moment let yourself Dare to Day dream in  a world in which  the chant that  Career Transition Adviser Bobby Edelman  shouts: "You're Never Old Enough :)". What does this mantra mean to all of us oldies, aka over 40 skilled workers?
Because those who continue to make and remake themselves seem to have eliminated age as a barrier. It is about gaining knowledge, experience, networks of resources, drive and passion.

How many times do we see older workers successfully remaking themselves in a new image and role. Its not about eliminated the past success and failures.  It is about building on the skills  and experience of the past. Sometimes with horrible short term failures but raising up to new sense of PURPOSE.

Successful Career Transitions.

  • The Who:Woodstock 1969 = Superbowl 2010
  • Jimmy Carter: President 1981 = 2010 Habit for Humanity (Largest single home builder in Africa)
  • Bill Gates:Windows 1981= 2010 Saving Millions in undeveloped countries From Disease/Death
Yes the nay Sayers will say that these people were superstars, made tons of money, had media, resources. But also see they all had some failures and transitioned there careers. They dealt with external (socio-economic, political) and internal (like death) changes.

  • The Who had their key musician die (including Kieth Moon) and album failures as music audience tastes change.
  • Jimmy Carter has been considered one of the most ineffective presidents by Historians- Need I speak the words:Iran hostage 444 day crisis.
  • Bill Gates- lets just say he missed the mark on the Internet search business and social media buz (every hear of Google, Facebook and Linkedin).
So were does this leave us or you. My contention is that you can strike out in a world full of ripe opportunity. We will explore this over the next coming weeks. But lets just say if you were or are an Automotive Production Manager you should be thinking about how  will (not can)  transfer your skills, get re-educated  and find a new meaningful career.  Billions will be spent in the next few years, through both private and government based training and skills improvement programs, with the purpose of helping you make a  career transition.
The difference now is that  YNOE:  "You're Never Old Enough"


  1. The difference between JImmy Carter, The Who, and Bill Gates and the rest of us over-40s whose careers are in turmoil or down the tubes is this: unlike us, they are either rich, or well-connected, or both, and therefore have many more options than we do. If you're going to give examples, please use relevant and meaningful ones.

  2. I have to agree with Hirondel. The premise of the article is great but the examples, although notable, do not reflect the man-on-the-street successes that are sure to be found if we but look for them. As a side note, please check grammer and typos in context (their vs. there, etc.)

  3. @Hirondel - the problem with more "relevant" examples is that nobody knows who they are, so they don't serve so well as examples.

    Also, these transitions are pretty amazing regardless of the money and connections. Money might ensure that "the worst president" doesn't end up working at Costco. No amount of money or connections could ensure the transformation from a poor statesman to a brilliant one. No amount of money or connections ensure that a great CEO could be at all effective as a philanthropist.

    (That said, I don't think the Who is a great example. No particular change there ... they plodded along and remained interesting to the same fans who probably liked them to begin with!)

  4. @barbara Ruth Saunders

    (Funny how Twitter has shaped us all, so quickly)

    An articulate defense of the examples given, which now carries more weight, put as as you did.

    Although given Pete Townshend's decent performance at the SuperBowl, I think you're being too hard on The Who.... :-)

  5. I think the main point of the whole article, if I may summarize, is, we are going to have to be adaptable. The skills that have worked for us in the past will not necessarily work today without upgrading them. Also, be aware of what the industry in which your job exists is doing. For instance, the software industry in which I WORKED (yes I've been laid-off) is busily outsourcing jobs by the thousands each year (just go look at what LexisNexis did in 2009). We're going to have to pay increasing attention to the "outside" world and not just go to work and go home eacj night....unless you enjoy being unemployeed that is.

  6. In response to Anonymous. I think we're experiencing a really tricky paradigm shift. The term you used, "upgrading", belongs to the old one. It's worth deconstructing.

    The change required may or may not be an "upgrade" in any meaningful sense of the term. For example, I used to write and edit technical manuals. Now I write and edit marketing pieces with technical content. "Upgrade"? not really ... what I'm doing takes less "advanced" skills and, in fact, takes skills that many more people probably have.

    The adjustment necessary wasn't an upgrade, it was a new "positioning" of similar and even lesser skills.

  7. I agree with most of the comments to this point. Celebrities are not good examples for people who are in the position many of us find ourselves in. I am fifty nine and have been out of work for almost three years.Over four thousand resumes and applications later I am still unemployed. I have used professional resume services and headhunters. I am tired of being told that I am overqualified ( equates to too old) or being asked "How long did you want to work anyway". I don't understand how I can be overqualified. Underqualified, yes but that is a correctable condition. You can become qualified by going back to school or attaining a certification of some sort.
    How long....in my case, until they pull the grass over my head....
    or until my usefullness in depleted.
    I am tired of sending resumes and coverletters into the ethernet with no response as to their receipt.
    So...as I learned a long time ago, if you are going to bring up a problem, you should be prepared to present a solution to that problem.
    I am living (finanacially) on borrowed time, as are many others. I am on my last unemployment extension.( two more weeks). I know that I am not the only one.
    After World War II the GIs had what was called Operation Bootstrap.The former soldiers were given limited assistance to help reach educational and financial goals.The program seemed to work quite well. Bottom line...the idea was for the returning veterans to help themselves attaain a better life.
    My suggestion is this...In the over forty unemployed crowd, unless the many linkedin profiles are lying, there exists a great, untapped pool of experience covering the entire spectrum of work experience.
    Why don't we help ourselfs out of the mire. I am suggesting an organization that would consist of these unemployed assets.
    With the new direction of business away from hiring "full time/ permanent personel" to hiring on a "per job basis"
    The organization could be national in structure. Creation of a website and showcasing of talent through the use of "oin house talent" should be no problem. As a national organization we would then have clout in the form of lobbying and the ability to express the dissatisfaction of the silent minotity. Additionally, as a group we would be able to qualify for group medical and insurance benefits, something that many of us do not have access to at this time.
    This is of course just an idea that I have been kicking around for a few months now.
    I would appreciate feedback on what others think of this idea.
    My e mail address for this purpose is promanager1@verizon.net. I would like to hear both pro and con issues....Thanks Ed Hamell
    Please excuse gramatical and spelling errors in this text....I was in a hurry...

  8. I am a person in my early forties who graduated from Stanford just as the now-small-time crash of 1987 occurred. The "slacker" generation. I am fascinated by the views expressed by my baby boomer elders as well as my Gen-Y youngers.

    A few months ago, I heard a guy who must have been about 26 talking about his negotiations with a company. It was an eye-opener. He was telling his friend he was not going to get suckered into a job. What he was going for was some combination of freelancing on certain work, percentage ownership on something else I could barely understand him.

    So, leaving aside the insurance piece - which is huge - I have my doubts about a job bank type of idea. Ironically I think it may be that "celebrities" are now the ONLY role models. Many of them are not rich at all; in fact, there are special programs in Hollywood for poor, aged actors from back in the day when most did not make millions.

    The whole workforce has now become much more like that arena - individual branding; no expectation of a steady climb in income, with some people making six figures one year and nothing the next; major shifts in job description, sector, etc.; blurring of the boundaries between "non-profit" and "for-profit" and "social entrepreneurship", and so on.

    The upside - identity no longer has to be tied to occupation.

  9. Interesting comments, personally, I think that comparing people with a list of the famous & powerful as part of their network (not to mention wealth), are far removed from our reality. Some people are in a position where they can't pick and choose, or have the ready network for jumping into something else. Some of the advice on this website advocating that when we get (when) another job we should be happy with not only downgrading our position, but earning perhaps 40-60% less as an acceptable situation. This is seems to be a case of industry taking gross advanatage of the economic climate to leverage the labor market. Yet, if you read about the average income projections of many areas for new college grads they are actually more than what someone with 20-30 yrs experience can hope to earn. Is there something wrong here?


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