Let’s get facts straight right at the start: Though discrimination is forbidden by law in most modern world countries, vast majority of employers will still discriminates job seekers who are older than fifty.
They do not do it directly, of course. I led many interview for all kinds of positions, ranging from waitresses to senior managers. And most of the time I got the following instruction from the client: The ideal age for a candidate is between thirty and forty years (or between twenty and thirty).
Of course this wasn’t something I could put on a job advertisement. And so I didn’t and got many applications from people over fifty.
But even when I invited these guys to interviews, and found someone really good among them, and shortlisted this candidate for the final interview with the client, they never got hired at the end. They weren’t told that they were too old–but I knew it was the reason (at least sometimes it must have been, since they were the best among the shortlisted candidates).
It makes no sense to have a job you hate
On the other hand, we spend third of our life working, or traveling to and from work. That’s too much time to devote to something you hate, or simply do not enjoy anymore. Life is a precious gift, and we should not spend it feeling terrible, doing things in which we see no purpose at all.
If you feel like changing your career, if you feel burned out, or even depressed, you should not hesitate and quit. Do it now, get the burden off your shoulders.
But what to do next? Where to move? And do you have a chance to get any job?
Benefit from the economic expansion
There has never been a better time for people who want to change their career in their forties, early fifties, or even late fifties. Nearly all companies struggle with workforce. When you walk around the city center, and read the announcements on the doors of shops, cafeterias, and restaurants, you will see that virtually everyone is looking for new staff.
And while five years ago they would look for a young beautiful waitress with excellent communication skills and at least some experience in the field, now they are basically looking for anyone. Becasue they need staff to keep the business going. Sixty years old waitress is better than no waitress.
My friends who respond for hiring new staff in companies involved in automotive and rubber industry often tell me stories about hiring people without even interviewing them, just to keep the production going. Often they have to fire them two days later, because they come to job drunk, or basically do nothing all they long. But they cannot choose, they have to give such people at least a chance–that’s the situation on the market.
You have a chance, but do you have courage?
Summarized and underlined, there’s no reason why you won’t get a new job in your fifties, considering the present situation on the employment market. So try to make the most of it, until another recession starts.
You should have some courage, and believe into your chances, and you should not hesitate. Go and apply for jobs, either on job boards, or directly with the employers. Offers are plentiful, and you have nothing to lose trying.
A good career fit for someone in their fifties?
Any career you feel enthusiastic about, any job you will enjoy doing. Because that’s the most important thing–to enjoy our time in work. What is more, when we enjoy what we do, we will typically do a good job.
In any case, you should not limit your choices. All limitations are self imposed, and age is just a number on your ID card. You can have any career you want to have, as long as you are ready for the sacrifices it requires. And you should not condemn a job just because society says it is “inappropriate” for someone in your age.
Forget what the others are saying. Focus on what you love, and what you are looking for in your new career.
Lower your expectations–at least temporarily
Sure enough, you may have to lower your expectations. If you plan to make a real career change–venturing into a completely different field of business (or even outside of business), you will likely have to content with an entry level position. At least for the start, but it may be good enough for good.
This doesn’t mean that you will earn less money, since entry level jobs in some industries pay just as well as advanced positions in other. And money should not be your primary concern when you are changing your career…
What is more, nobody says that you will have to stay long on the same position in the company. If you prove your skills and abilities, you can get promoted soon.
Prepare for the job interview
It is perhaps long ago that you interviewed for the job. Many tings have changed in the last decade, and interview process has become more sophisticated.
Have a look at behavioral questions to understand what the employers inquire about while meeting job candidates. Your non-verbal communication is equally important, and you should definitely not underestimate you body language in an interview.
Show some enthusiasm, bring positive energy in the room, believe that you will succeed, and prepare for the questions you will face. Who cares that your ID shows that you’re in your fifties? Come in with the right mindset, and the interviewers will feel like talking to a thirty years old–just with more life and work experience!
Career change in your fifties is not an easy move. But it is exciting, and definitely doable. Try to benefit from the current state of world economy, and do not let the prejudice to limit you in your choices.
Life is a precious gift, and we should devote it to something we love. It is never late to find your true calling, and start enjoying life again.
I wish you good luck on your journey!