It’s only been two months since I re-entered the professional world, but I have already learned much about career reinvention over 60. The biggest lesson for me so far is that I can do this! It is possible to begin again later in life and fun when the job is one you have always dreamed of obtaining.
It is not for the faint of heart, however, so here are a few things to keep in mind.
6 Lessons Learned As I Re-enter The Workforce
- AGEISM DOES EXIST. It’s true – it may not be intentional. I’ve learned to try not to react too quickly. Sometimes our presence does threaten younger employees and they can react with phrases like, “Pamela, you’re so cute!” when referring to my business decisions and not my smile. So far I have said nothing. If it continues, we’ll need to discuss respect. My unit team is made up of young ladies who are 28, 23, and 18 (a summer intern). I love their youthful exuberance and their knowledge. It definitely keeps me young. However, I have been hired as the authority on the team. In this role I will make sure I’m on top of whether or not boundaries need to be discussed. It is important that I respect myself and my abilities, and that I remember that I am not a pity hire, but an important addition to this business.
- EARN THE RESPECT. I have always been one of the first to arrive at work – no matter what the job may have been. I need to continue to set the tone and be the one who is there first. I am a morning person, it’s my most productive time of day, and I should use that to my advantage. Being seen is a critical part of earning respect in the workplace. Earning respect also comes when you’re current and aware of industry trends. I make sure I can engage with understanding and knowledge.
- BE AN ENCOURAGER. Despite the occasional quips about age, it is important to be an encourager to younger employees and share some of the maturity and wisdom which has come our way. They need the encouragement just as much as we do, perhaps more.
- BE A TEAM PLAYER. I want the team to succeed and it will not with a party of one. This means displaying humility and serving wherever needed. “How can I help?” This has been the phrase I have used the most these first two months. I am blessed to have experience in several areas of publishing from sales to reporting, so I believe I can help all the different departments when needed. I am overall honored they have provided me with this opportunity to begin again over 60!
- A SENSE OF HUMOR GOES A LONG WAY. Already I have needed to laugh at myself twice in the presence of others. One moment involved tripping over a chair at a businesswoman’s luncheon. I am not perfect. There will be moments when I make mistakes and I remind myself that laughter can go a long way when it comes to connecting with my colleagues.
- LOOK FABULOUS. I work in an office with women who bring their style to work every day. Earning their respect is done from the inside to the outside, but the outside is just as important. I want my clothing to say things like: I am here, I am intelligent, and I AM STILL IN THIS GAME!
Re-entering the workforce has been a positive experience thus far. There have been many adjustments for me as it’s quite different from running a classroom for over 16 years, but there are many lessons that I learned in the education field that I can apply to my new role in an office setting. If this wasn’t fun, though, I wouldn’t be doing it. I hope these experiences will encourage more of you to pursue your dream career, no matter your age.
Would anyone like to add to this list from your own experiences? Please do so in the comments. I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to.
Thanks for stopping by!
Tuesday 5th of July 2016
Thanks for the tips. It is a challenge to reinvent yourself at a certain age. I'm glad you have been blessed (and earned) this opportunity.
Tuesday 5th of July 2016
My goodness, those ARE young women! I think your tips are excellent and really do cover a lot of ground. I find that with more and more people where I work retiring, I am now the most senior member in my office suite. This is okay with me for the most part, like you said it does keep you young and keeps your perspective from becoming stale. However, I do find that I need to connect with a friend my own age frequently, and we do this by using our lunch hour to walk together and talk. We are fortunate to work for the same institution. This time spent with her has become a valuable part of my day. While there is a positive side to being with people of all ages, I find that the real quality time comes during these walks. While we don't spend this time calling up all our aches and pains, you can at least mention the word arthritis to a person in your age group! The much younger ladies would find this 'old' and 'frumpish', where to us it is like a chance to encourage each other to stay active and 'out there' and enjoy life. I need the balance. Fine to work with the very young, but I truly appreciate my friendships with women my own age!