Mid-life career changers: Your age is an asset. Really!
As a professional making a job or career change in mid-life, you may find your age to be a detriment in today’s job market. Many firms nowadays are hiring younger workers — at lower wages. It’s not necessarily age discrimination, but companies see baby boomers as a poorer long-term investment. Right or wrong, they perceive younger workers as more tech savvy and philosophically better suited to take them into the future.
Don’t let these misperceptions color your self-image. Career-changers in their 40s, 50s and beyond have a lot going for themselves.
Believe it or not, if you look at options other than getting a new job when switching careers, your decades of work experience are a real asset. You have a database full of valuable contacts, not to mention a solid reputation in your field.
You possess well-developed skills for dealing with clients and coworkers. You understand negotiation and other business processes, as well as how to implement them in a professional manner. Younger workers are not likely to be able to compete with you in these areas. In essence, your age is an asset rather than a liability.
An article by Monster contributing writer Susan Bryant and reposted in the N.Y. Daily News dispelled three myths about seasoned workers making a career change:
Myth 1 – I’m too old to make a career change.
Myth 2 – If I make a career change, I’ll be starting over at the bottom
Myth 3 – This old dog can’t learn new tricks.
The truth is, older professionals are a great fit for a multitude of professions, given their skill sets and years of experience. We’ve seen these myths dispelled by most FPC owners. More than 80% had never been executive recruiters before. Yet they’ve applied their knowledge and talents to building successful operations within our network.
A January 2013 New York Times article echoes our assertions about older career changers and offers some good planning tips and examples. One case reports on a former IT consultant who opted for a franchise for many of the reasons that we always talk about. It helped him overcome his fears of working for himself by providing a proven formula and the training and support to jump start success. This career changer was also pleasantly surprised at the number of skills that transferred from his former positions.
As an older franchisee, there are some specific age-related assets you bring to the table. You have the maturity to appreciate and adhere closely to the franchisor’s recommended plan of action for the greatest chance of success. You can determine whether the corporate structure of a particular franchise will suit you and you’ll understand how to work productively within the system you choose. Your senior executive status will give you immediate credibility with your clients. It will also get you the respect of your staff.
Yes, your age is really an asset when it comes to making a career change — and owning your own franchise might be the right change for you.
Have you identified skills from your career to date that you think you can use in a new one?
To learn more about executive recruiting, franchise ownership and the FPC network, why not download a recording of our popular webinar, “A Great Career Opportunity You May Never Have Considered!”