I was at the grocery store and ran into an old friend from my 20’s. We have occasionally seen each other over the years and will take the time to catch up. She is a pharmacist and had worked at two or three major chains over the years. As we were catching up, I explained how I was no longer interested in working in the banking industry. I said, “I just decided to reinvent myself. I am 52, and I want to do something different so I decided want a new career”. She shot me a confused look and stated, “I don’t know how you can do that. I could never make a major change.”
She was always going to be a pharmacist. It was her identity and what she loved doing. Or could it have been the fear of change that kept her in her role? Often, older workers find it difficult to make a career change. Big changes, professional reinvention, and new skills can seem daunting.
Table of Contents
Letting Go Of Fear
I have heard “I could never do that” many times over the years. In addition to working in a corporate job, I have always had other businesses. If I see a potential opportunity, I will usually try it. I have worked in the financial services business for the past 25 years, I also am a real estate investor and have owned other businesses along with my husband. Fear of jumping in is just not something that hinders me. I don’t like to stay in my comfort zone for too long.
Fear can be a good thing, however, it can also hinder you from exploring new options. For many, the safety of their current situation is enough to keep them there forever.
When starting this process, write down your fears and make sure they are realistic. Then start to find solutions so you can overcome those fears.
Reinventing Yourself After 50
At the age of 51, the thought of reinventing myself was a little more daunting. I had done it before, but the older I was, the more settled I had become in my role. But I knew something had to change. But I needed a new challenge, and I did not want to put myself in the same position. Desperately wanting to get out of the banking industry, I was not just looking for a different role or new job. Instinctually I felt entering your 50s could be the best years of your life.
So how can you do the same? Small steps are a great way to get started. There are some key ways to see how you can change your path.
Before I started my blog, I went back to my youth and when I was in college and wanted to be a journalist. I used that dream to create a new opportunity for myself. It is never too late.
Even though I worked in the financial services industry and had a wide variety of positions over the years, I knew there were certain things I no longer wanted in my life.
Keeping those in mind, I looked at several different industries that were close in nature but not specifically at banking. The list of what I did not want in my life grew. To give you an idea, employees, regulations, and a business where I had to be available 24/7 were high on the “no longer want” list.
I tossed around some ideas with a friend. I even spent money investigating the options before I settled on blogging. You have to make the process a priority.
It is not as scary as you think to find different ways to make a living. The process of reinvention can be fun if you are serious about finding a new path and ultimately a new life.
- Journaling your feelings about your dream career. Writing down what the best years of your life will look like can bring vision.
- Create a bucket list. Do any of the bucket list items create new opportunities?
- Go to your network and friends. Ask them what roles do they think you would do well in.
You may have wanted to own a bar, start a restaurant or build surfboards for a living. Now you have the real-world experience to do just that. It is no longer a pipe dream at our age, and you can make it a reality!
Knowing It Is Never Too Late To Reinvent Yourself
The first step is knowing it is never too late to reinvent yourself after 50. I find that people have a negative tape that plays in their heads, and they will choose to talk themselves out of any opportunity that comes their way. They live in fear, and no matter how much the opportunity knocks, they refuse to open the door.
The best part about being over 50 and being ready to reinvent yourself is that you may have fewer financial concerns than younger people. The kids are grown and out of the house, and time is not as much of an issue. You have evenings and a little money to invest in a new venture or even further your education. So the possibilities are endless. It is definitely not too late to reinvent yourself after 50!
You can take classes on the side or even start a side business. I was fortunate enough that we were debt-free with passive income from our real estate business. I no longer “had to” work. It gave me the freedom to take some time to see what I wanted to do. My gap year turned into a year and a half and a successful blog.
You Have Tons Of Experience
You may even be over-qualified for what you want to start doing! That is okay! I have seen where people are over-qualified and are turned down for a position because people could just not imagine they would want to take a step down. Wouldn’t there be regrets? Can they handle being managed by someone younger than they are?
The answer is yes! This actually makes you a great asset to that manager. As a previous manager or executive, you understand the pressures they face, and you will end up being their easiest employee because of that. You know what a good employee looks like, and you can fit that bill! When you are in that interview, you will want to make sure that you present that on a positive note.
Keep With The Times on Social Media and Refresh Your Personal Brand
I see a lot of my peers shunning social media. It is a new way to be seen and a necessity in today’s working world. Especially on LinkedIn, you will need to have a presence and network with anyone willing.
You will want to make sure that you are updating your information regularly. More importantly, you will want to stay in touch with others in your community so you can see opportunities that may interest you.
This goes along with Social Media. You need to make sure you are representing your personal brand on Social Media. Recast your personal brand slowly on social media. You can reshape your narrative, and people will follow along and respect what you are doing.
Connect With Your Past
Often we lose connections with raising kids, and life, in general, can be difficult to keep in touch with folks. Now that you are over 50, you will certainly have more time to reconnect with old friends. Friends can bring great opportunities. I reconnected with an old friend from high school who referred me to my last position. I was not even looking. Many of these people could be great clients for your new business!
Last year I had an old business acquaintance reach out. She was struggling to find a new position. Making a bold decision, she reached out to all of her contacts and asked them their thoughts on what might be a good fit for her and to find out what her contacts were up to. She was looking for feedback from her peers and wanted to see if she would be a good fit for anything. I thought this was a great idea and was open to talking with her. We were able to brainstorm for a little while, and I felt like I could help her with her process.
Share Your Vision With Your Closest Friends
It will be important to let the people closest to you know what your goals and vision are. They may have connections or even ideas that can help! However, they can also hold you back. It is important not to let other’s opinions of you pull you back.
The people closest to you will have a set idea of who you are. People always see me as a banker. They expected me to remain a banker. That was the last thing I wanted to do. Don’t allow that to stop you from changing your life.
It was a bit of a shock for some of my closest friends to see me completely switch careers. Especially since I was successful in the financial services industry. There was really no reason for me to leave. Now that I am writing for a living and see my success here, they are starting to buy in, and they now “get it.” As they get it, I am seeing a different level of support from them.
This was not a big lesson for me to learn. I knew I needed help. There were certain things about blogging that were just not my forte, like Pinterest and SEO. I now have a virtual assistant that helps me with those things. She loves doing them. I love having her do them. Don’t get me wrong. I still study SEO and Pinterest strategies. I need to be aware of the constant changes going on with those areas. However, I do not allow the dread of doing those daily tasks to slow me down. I asked for help, and I hired it! She is someone I can bounce ideas off of and vent to when I am frustrated. I love having her on my team.
Getting help can mean getting career counseling or seeking professional help to help you work through any stumbling blocks.
Think about that negative tape running in your head. We all have these struggles, but those who can take the negative thoughts captive and push them away will have more success than those who do not. It is also important not to allow negative people to inject negative thoughts into your head. Ignore the naysayers! I had an acquaintance who I felt the judgment from when I told him about the blog. Frankly, I looked at his life, and I looked at mine. I realized I did not really respect his opinion anyway and moved forward.
In the past keeping inspirational quotes on hand was really helpful in changing my negative tape. It is a great habit to get into and will last you a lifetime.
Be Open To Change
Even if you want to remain in your position in our changing world, you must be willing to reevaluate yourself and even reinvent yourself in your existing position. Times are changing faster than ever. If you are not willing to be flexible and change, you can become irrelevant in your current situation.
My vision for my blog has changed and evolved so much in the first year. As I grow in this industry, I learn new things and realize that I should be doing those things. I had to let go of what I thought I would be doing and change when I needed to for my business. It is a reminder of how you must be flexible to be successful!
When you reinvent yourself after 50, it may seem scary at first, but it is more than possible. It can also be invigorating and exciting! Regardless of whether you are looking to leave your current position, reinventing yourself is necessary to stay relevant. Connect with old friends and old dreams and come up with a plan!
10 Steps to Reinvent Yourself after 50
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