Confidence and Attitude Bring Success to Older Job Seekers

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Career news. The following article is excerpted from Healthy Aging® Magazine. To continue reading this article and more like it, subscribe to Healthy Aging® Magazine, the lifestyle magazine that is all about following your passion and what you can do rather than what you can’t.

By Rupert French

Alison Stanley was just a few months short of her 60th birthday when she decided to make a major change of career direction – and it worked! She transitioned from being a full-time early childhood teacher to being an assistant and trainer at The Quarter Inch, a world-renowned retail quilting shopfront, learning center, and café.

One evening, after a full day of teaching, Alison realized that she was tired … very tired. A keen quilter, she happened that night to see an ad for a part-time position at ‘The Quarter Inch.’ Until that moment, Alison hadn’t considered a career change. She loved teaching and was good at it. At that moment, however, Alison recognized that being a teacher was wearing her out. A change was needed.

So she hit the apply button.

The next day, Helen Stubbings, the business owner, called Alison and asked her to come in for a chat. Helen was concerned that Alison would miss her teaching role and the salary that went with it. Would Alison find sufficient stimulation in the new role?

Alison had already considered the financial ramifications, and her husband supported her wholeheartedly. So Alison spoke confidently and enthusiastically about how the change could benefit her.

A very brief trial period – just two shifts! – proved her work ethic and demonstrated how well she collaborated with younger members of the team. And now, after just a few weeks, she is accepted by all the staff as a valuable colleague.

For Alison, this was not the first career change made in her 50s. In 2014, after 13 years working as a children’s librarian, she set about getting an early education teaching role. Through networking, Alison quickly found a position where she excelled right up until her recent career shift.

How to Avoid Age Discrimination

Being proactive can help you evade the risk of age discrimination. Age discrimination is based on ignorance. Employers don’t know you or what you are capable of accomplishing. As a result, they may make assumptions based on popularly held misconceptions; yes, misconceptions.

While there is no doubt that age discrimination exists, there is a large body of evidence that shows that older workers are more productive and more reliable than younger workers.

But to overcome any risk of ageism, older job seekers would be wise to convince employers that they can do the job and that they are motivated to do it well.


Rupert French is the author of How to Get a Good Job After 50 – 2nd edition

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