I was thrilled to read Anne Tergesen’s November 28 Wall Street Journal article about the myths of returning to the workforce post hiatus. While I often write mentoring advice for young people entering the professional arena, many of my clients are job-eliminated peers or seekers of reentry and reinvention.
A Harvard-trained psychiatrist friend told me years ago that his takeaway from working with depressed, regretful seniors is that adults should reinvent or change careers every decade or, at the very least, learn a new skill or adopt a new hobby. His belief—one I share—is that we must continue evolving to remain emotionally satisfied. There’s a second advantage to this reinvention idea and it’s Tergesen’s point.
The counter-intuitive twist of landing a job later in life is that older individuals have something younger professionals do not—the big picture judgement that comes from failure, success and experience.
I work with teens and budding professionals to whom I introduce skills, language and value systems that my peer clients have but may not know how valuable they are to employers: sound judgement and trust building.
As the co-owner of two tutoring businesses, I always mine for and hire qualified parents of our students to serve as tutors and administrators. Experienced parents have more empathy for our parent clients, need a little less guidance in tough decision making and easily build relationships with students and their parents. In short, they have skills invaluable in service-oriented, high-stakes standardized test prep and interview, resume and negotiation tutoring businesses.
My job-seeking advice to those looking to reenter or reinvent is to REJOICE! You have a built-in, invaluable skill set that distinguishes you. Your job is to leverage those skills every time you sit in an interview chair.