If you've heard of the "The Apprentice", the NBC show hosted, written, and produced by Donald Trump, involving entrepreneurs competing for a chance to land the ultimate job, you might have also heard of a law suit that was filed against him, by a Richard J. Hewett, a rejected applicant claiming he was turned away because of age discrimination.
Changing your career at any age can be a scary and stressful situation, but making a career change after 50 can leave you dealing with an entirely new set of issues. Not only do you consider age discrimination, but you think about having to learn new job duties, your physical capabilities, keeping up with the younger employees, and whether this job change is in your best interests at this time of your life.
If you're thinking about making a career change after 50, here are some things you must know.
Assessment- Make an assessment of your life and the things that truly make you happy.
Do not Rush- You've made it this far so don't rush into the first job that comes along. The grass is not always greener on the other side. Consider all your options.
Career Counseling- Talk to a career counselor. You don't want to change your entire life if you're going through a mid-life crisis. Talking to a career counselor can help you make good choices whether you need a new career or just a life change.
Money doesn't buy Happiness- Don't change your career to make more money if it's not a job you can be happy with. Money doesn't make you happy. Choose a career that provides you with an income you're comfortable with and allows you to enjoy your job.
Skills- When you're in your 50's it's not unusual to realize the importance of making the most of your skills and knowledge. While this is something anyone with a job thinks about, as you get older you might want to also consider fulfilling your mental or spiritual needs.
Don't be Afraid- Changing careers is a stressful time no matter what anyone says. Ask your family and friends for support when you need it.
Possibilities- Do a reality check. Set goals that you can achieve and are obtainable. Don't confuse your dreams with reality.
Resentment- Don't resent your younger co-workers. You were once in their shoes. They need you just as much as you need them!
Contacts- Don't be afraid to use old contacts when you're thinking about making the big change. They might have some helpful information you can use.
Alternatives- Maybe full-time work is not for you. Look at other alternatives such as volunteering, temp-work, consulting, part-time work, or maybe a combination of these.
Keep in Shape- As you get older it is most important that you stay healthy and fit, both mentally and physically. Make sure you maintain a positive outlook on life. Wisdom and health is a powerful combination!
Go with the Flow- As you get older it's not always easy to agree with the younger generation. Learn not to be a stick in the mud. Times have changed and you need to be flexible.
Making a career change after 50 is not always easy, but it is possible. With a little persistence, a healthy and positive attitude, and the support of family and friends, you can change your career and continue having a productive and enjoyable life.