How to prove you’re not over the hill

Q: I recently retired after working in the same company for 34 years. During that time, I built up good experience in office management was highly regarded by my employers. I am 61 years of age. I feel I have made a mistake by retiring early as I am already bored. What are my chances of getting back into work that I might enjoy or am I simply over the hill? Should I just take up hill-walking and swimming? (RT, email.).

A: I have met 20-year-olds who feel like 70-year-olds and 70-year-olds who feel like 20-year-olds.

At 61, you have accumulated a lot of experience, as you say, and it sounds like you have a positive attitude towards work. Are there other 61-year-olds in the workforce? Are 61-year-olds attractive to some employers? The answer in both cases is yes, of course.

I once had a fascinating discussion with a business owner who preferred hiring people over a certain age because a) they had experience; b) they were mature; and c) they were unlikely to take off on a gap year travelling Southeast Asia.

You need to start by understanding your skills and attributes. As I’ve often written here before, make a list of them. Ask friends to add to the list. Get a good understanding of what you have to offer: without that you will struggle to pitch yourself to a new employer, and that applies whether you are 21 or 61.

Job searching

Then start looking at local jobs. Does anything catch your eye? Would part-time be an option?

What about working remotely? The remote working world has exploded in recent times and there now exists an abundance of opportunity for people living hundreds if not thousands of miles away from the employer.

Of course, you may crave the camaraderie and personal interaction of the workplace, in which case you should focus your job-searching on local options.

If and when you see jobs you like, apply. Emphasise your experience. Talk about 34 years where you have been a central figure in a company. Give them reason to see experience as a positive.

If and when you get called to interview, you must really believe in what you have to offer, or they may well concur with your fear that you’re over the hill. Walk in that door confident that you have something to offer and relay that to them.

One other point to consider: can you get back with your previous employers. Have they replaced you? Could they take you back part-time? Or on a contract basis? As you say, you had good relationships there and they might be very happy to hear that you’re back in the frame.

Most of all, take responsibility for your own attitude. If you believe you’re finished, you’re finished. If you believe you’ve still got a good way to go, you’ve still got a good way to go.

Attitude applies to people who face all sorts of real or imaginary barriers. People overcome them all the time. We all have self-doubt. However, if you allow it to debilitate you, you are doomed before you start.

You have a great chance now to get into something rewarding and fulfilling. Many companies simply can’t find good people.


Featured image courtesy of Pixabay.


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