Posts Tagged ‘Boomer’

Phased Retirement – Make Your Case

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

Many companies and federal agencies offer a way to ease out of the work you love and into the next phase of your life formerly called retirement. A phased retirement strategy offers flexibility. As you approach your retirement age or time in service you can reduce your work hours or work in a different capacity after you take retirement. You can job share, telecommute or do consulting work, to name a few. (I’ve been job-sharing for 4 years).

There are so many reasons to do this and you may need to help others (your boss) what’s in it for them to make these adjustments.

  1. You have a wealth of knowledge about how to get things done.  This does not mean writing down everything you do. But you could mentor several people and show them the ropes.  Mentoring can be a very fulfilling thing.
  2. You are the expert. You know the best practices, what’s been innovative, and have developed customer relationships.  How can you leverage that in new ways? If your creativity is blocked, ask others from diverse perspectives to help you see different combinations ans outcomes.
  3. When there is a problem, you know how to fix it because you know not just how, but why things were built that way. You can provide deeper knowledge and better solutions, while helping others learn.
  4. List the tasks you can delegate in order to work fewer hours.
  5. Do the math to make your case.  Engage your friendly HR rep to determine the cost savings of your phased retirement and productivity losses tied to your retirement. Be sure to include the “market value” of your unique skills and knowledge. salary.com
  6.  Keeping older employees does not take away jobs from younger workers. “There’s no evidence to support that increased employment by older people is going to hurt younger people in any way,” said Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research.
  7.  Economists say the macroeconomic view gives a clearer picture. Having older people active and productive actually benefits all age groups, and spurs the creation of more jobs. At the same time, experienced workers are able to mentor and train younger employees, and help them get on a faster track toward achievement and higher-level positions.

So, ease on down your road. No need to retire completely. Just make more time for the things you’ve always wanted to do while you continue to contribute your expertise.

 

Courageous Career Conversation

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Having a tough time at work? Do you see yourself in any of these scenarios:cnyntree

  • You are having more disagreements with your boss and or team mates.
  • You aren’t getting the assignments or work that you want; You see others getting more opportunities.
  • You’ve ‘paid your dues’ and now just want to do your job.
  • Its a struggle to get your staff/team to do their jobs, much less “excellent work”

If so, its time for a courageous career conversation…first with yourself.

What are you expecting? Our frustrations are rooted in an unmet need. Are your expectations realistic? By whose standard?  For people over 40, the standards by which you measure yourself have likely changed. Tenure and stamina have been eclipsed by contributions and accomplishments. No one can coast on their past track record for very long. We have to be able to use that experience to provide value today. What are you contributing now?

Feel like you’re not moving up fast enough, not challenged? It may not be the most stimulating, but your first priority is to make sure you are doing your current work well to satisfy your team and boss’s mission. If you are feeling stuck, look for a different approach to a nagging problem. Try an approach that moves you outside your comfort zone. Check in with others (someone objective or skilled in getting unstuck, such as a coach) to get a different point of view of the problem.

Bored? Look around and offer/volunteer to work on something that has been on the back burner. It may mean you learn a new skill set or network with another part of the organization to improve your team’s work.

Want to be left alone to just do your job?  Its great to be the steady, dependable one. Just don’t get left in the dust because you didn’t pay attention to the trends and changes around you. We need to assess and sharpen our skills every month.

What are you bringing to the table today? Your experience and expertise are valuable, but only if you can connect with others’ experience and expertise. Don’t let your frustrations bleed and spoil valuable professional relationships. Find a safe place to vent. Look for opportunities to be a teacher or coach, rather than “right.”

No one cares more about your career than you. Every day is an opportunity to make a difference. Grab a dose of courage to check your assumptions against reality.

 

Strategies for Extended Unemployment

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

What are they thinking?! Why are companies shunning people who have been out of work six months or more? Unemployment biases stem from employers desire to avoid making hiring mistakes. This avoidance leads to making assumptions that may or may not be based in fact. Four assumptions I’ve heard are:

  1. “If others don’t hire you, why should I?”
  2. “If you haven’t been working, your skills are probably out-of-date.”
  3. “If you can’t get a job you have lost the discipline of a work routine, or are lazy.”
  4. “If you can’t don’t follow application instructions, you won’t follow directions on the job.”

I bet those got you angry! So let’s use that angry energy to change those assumptions!

  1. Many people lose precious time because they don’t know how to effectively find their next job. Finding a job is “project management” which starts with a clear goal (the right job, not just any job) and strategies for appropriately connecting with people to let them know what you offer. There are many resources online, in your library or a career coach can help you map your job search project.
  2. You may have made family care-taking or other responsibilities your priority while not working in the traditional manner.  Think about the many skills and knowledge you’ve developed that can be of value to an employer such as patience, research, organizing, logistics, attention to detail, creativity, prioritizing, communication, and more.
  3. Get clear on your skills, knowledge and expertise and be able to talk about what you can do for an employer.  What problems can you solve? How can you save them time and money? What ideas and perspectives do you add that can help grow the organization and contribute to its mission?
  4. Keep your skills fresh.  Take free online courses, webinars, etc. Volunteer with community organizations to keep your skills in practice, and to stay in a “work” routine. Offer your expertise through consulting, temporary or project relationships.
  5. Re-skill yourself to do the type of work you will find rewarding and meaningful.
  6. Don’t let your desperation show. Stay positive when talking with people outside your intimate circle. Have 2-3 people who can encourage and keep you on track that you talk with on at least a weekly scheduled basis.

Address the time gap by describing what you have learned and accomplished and, most importantly, how it can be of value to the employer.

What long-term unemployment assumptions have you encountered and what are your strategies?

 

Key Job Search Strategy – Volunteer!

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

The  Corporation for National and Community Service  has released new research,“Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment,” which provides the most compelling empirical research to date establishing an association between volunteering and employment in the United States. The results of this study suggest a statistically significant and highly stable association between volunteering and employment.  Volunteers have a 22% higher odds of finding employment after being out of work than non-volunteers.

What are the benefits of Volunteering?

– Learning and doing things that you wouldn’t have an opportunity without higher level authority

– Getting experience and po0lishing up your skills – technical and people skills

– Seeing new ways of getting things done

– Getting to know people you wouldn’t otherwise meet.

– People get to know you and your contributions and can serve as a reference for you

– Helps your own morale and energy to be doing something for others

– Shows you have initiative and self-motivation

When choosing a volunteer opportunity, look for a a cause that you really care about.  Think about and then seek opportunities to develop the skills or expertise that are relevant to your next career step.  Not all volunteerism belongs on your  resume.

 

 

 

Get Un-Stuck

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

This slideshare will help you get un-stuck! Whether you are working within an organization (for The Man) or launching a new career take a look at the Start-up of You by Ben Casnocha and Reid Hoffman (Chairman of LinkedIn). You’ll walk away with not only some ideas, but concrete action you can take to be happier in your work.

 

Where the Jobs are for Mature Workers

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

With generous support from the MetLife Foundation, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) has worked with seven regions across to country to identify priority industries, examine the job and career opportunities in those industries, and highlight the opportunities that are most appropriate for mature workers. Based on a U.S. Department of Labor supported a three-year Aging Worker Initiative (AWI) between 2009 and 2012. a five-part series of papers have been generated: Tapping Mature Talent: Policies for a 21st Century Workforce.

 “…mature workers have very defined “soft skills”, i.e. work ethic, workplace appropriateness, that might be lacking with the younger generations. Strong customer service skills that mature workers who’ve been in the workforce for several years have developed allowed for an easy transition into the identified logistics positions where providing high levels of client and customer service is critical to the individual companies’ success.”

Here are a few examples:

Healthcare: Patient Liaison Representative  – This position’s duties include helping provide guidance to new patients, helping with scheduling patients, collecting vital insurance and other information from patients, and helping to guide patients through the medical processes they require.

Energy: Purchaser/Buyer – This position requires an employee to purchase machinery, equipment, and other parts that are necessary for a manufacturing or other unit. The main skills that are required for this include softer skills such as critical thinking, decision making, negotiation, and problem-solving.

Information Technology: Sales Positions  – There are a variety of sales positions in this sector and these are seen as mature worker appropriate because they can provide an easy transition from another sector such as pharmaceuticals or engineering and do not require much additional training. The most important requirements for a good salesperson are strong work ethic, a customer service personality, and the ability to take the initiative.

Logistics: Pricing Analyst  – A pricing analyst develops research and makes recommendations on pricing for products and services by looking at market variables, conducting financial analyses, and helping to build revenue models. Because there is no defined certification or degree for this position, many times mature workers with experience in either the logistics or marketing and finance fields can transition to this position based on their previous experience. This position is also a good fit for someone with a military background as there can be strong overlap between processes and technical information in this position and the military logistics operations. Soft skills such as work ethic, problem solving, and critical thinking are desired for this position and employers note that a customer service background and the willingness to learn are more important than previous experience in the field.

Engineering: Environmental Engineer Technician -This job requires strong project management skills and much of the work in this position is overseen by an engineer or environmental scientist.

Lots of addition information at: http://cael.org/Research-and-Publications

What other jobs are you finding that appeal to mature workers?

A Crystal Ball – Skills for Now and the Future

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

A research report from Apollo Research Institute gives us a crystal ball for looking towards 2020.  “Future Work Skills 2020”

I like the way this report takes the major global trends and matches them with the skills workers need to thrive now and going forward. Its very useful for  the many people needing to re-skill, re-career and generally upgrade their skills to get good jobs.   Its also useful for HR/OD professionals working on reducing the skills gaps in your organizations. It can add richness to your competencies buffet. More than technical skills, these are the abilities to think, analyze, empathize; the willingness to seek different perspectives, use logic meshed with creativity, and use a variety of means to communicate.

There are six categories from the report:

  • Transdisciplinarity: ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines.
  • Virtual collaboration: ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team.
  • Sense-making: ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed.
  • Social intelligence: ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions.
  • Cross-cultural competency: ability to operate in different cultural settings.
  • Cognitive load management: ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques.
  • Novel and adaptive thinking: proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based
  • Computational thinking: ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning
  • New media literacy: ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication
  • Design mindset: ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcome

This is not only a great read, but full of food for thought.

New Course for Career Professionals Working with Mature Job Seekers

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Marvin Adams and I have teamed up to create a professional development course for career professionals, “Winning Strategies for the Mature Job Seeker,” at CEUOnestop.  This self-paced, online course looks at the unique issues that older clients face as more and more people are looking for work. Career professionals will find information, resources and links to websites that provide insight and tips for dealing with the perceptions, myths and realities of being over 50 and looking for work today. ( 4 CEUs)

Many people feel that age is just a state of mind, so there really aren’t any new challenges for the older job seeker.  And Age discrimination is illegal. So what’s the problem?  For most people, of any age, a well-defined job search strategy is the key to finding a great job.  Yet, people who have lost jobs after 20+ years or working are quite lost when it comes to present-day job search tools and strategies.  Fold in the assumptions and biases that both older and younger workers hold about people nearing retirement and you have a recipe for conflict and angst.

Career professionals can look at these assumptions and the research that provides facts and data to create their own strategies for coaching older clients.  Remembering that “perceptions are real,” too many people operate on their own limited knowledge, experience or relationships with older people.  Several reputable organizations have published research dispelling assumptions about low energy, poor health, technology averse or out-of-date skills, to name a few. We can help our clients leverage the benefits of a long work experience by reframing them in terms that meet employer’s needs today.  We can probe for the transferable skills of unpaid activities that employers now crave.  We can coach them to counter age discriminatory beliefs by developing examples of their work ethic, dependability, problem-solving and their results-oriented focus. Through understanding this generation cohorts’ resiliency, we can help them overcome self-limiting beliefs, create tenacious job seeking strategies and become valuable assets of the workforce.                    

While You’re Unemployed…

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Jacqueline Smith has compiled a great Top 10-things-you-need-to-do-while-youre-unemployed I wanted to share with you.

If you do nine out of 10 of these, you won’t need to work for someone else!

 

Critical Skills for our Future

Friday, September 30th, 2011

The more I learn, the more I need to learn.  And it doesn’t all take place in a formal educational setting.  As I watch our global economy and read Freidman’s latest book, “That Used To Be Us,”    it is clear that the Knowledge Sets are shifting.  Employers need people with the technical skills to get the work done. They also need these people to have communication and innovation abilities. The “AMA Critical Skills Survey” shows that executives had begun placing emphasis on a new set of skills that is neither intuitive for most people nor taught in school. “The Four Cs,” and they consist of:

Critical thinking and problem solving-the ability to make decisions, solve problems, and take actions as appropriate;
Effective communication-the ability to synthesize and transmit your ideas both in written and oral forms;
Collaboration and team building-the ability to work effectively with others, including those from diverse groups and with opposing points of view;
Creativity and innovation-the ability to see what’s NOT there and make something happen

In yet another survey, “Critical Skills for Workforce 2020,” the Institute for Future teamed up with University of Phoenix Research Institute finding the following similar categories:

Sense-making – Determining deeper meaning or significance of what’s being expressed
Social intelligence – connecting to others and sensing and stimulation reactions
Novel and adaptive thinking – thinking and coming up with creative solutions
Cross-cultural competency – operating in different cultural settings
Computational thinking – translating vast amounts of data into abstract conceepts and understanding data-based reasoning
New media literacy – leveraging, critically assessing and developing content using new media forms
Transdisciplinarity – understanding concepts across multiple disciplines

Each of these is a topic of discussion for identifying examples, how to learn (teach) it and then how to demonstrate it.