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Zoomers: Too Old to Change Careers?


Absolutely not!

Moses Znaminer defines a Zooomer as anyone 45 or over.  Some of us need to work longer (who dreamed up Freedom 55?!).  Many of us choose to stay engaged longer (we’re very much defined by our “work”) but want to try something new.

It can be daunting to figure out a plan for leaving what we know best.  For those people who aren’t sure what they’re passionate about or what their strengths and skills are, I recommend a career assessment like The Pathfinder Career System  www.cashlehman.com.  The reason I was attracted to become certified in this tool rather than others (e.g.  Birkman, DISC, Kolbe, MBTI, etc.) is that it’s comprehensive and nuanced.  It:

  • Identifies 80+ behavioural traits under 8 main headings: problem solving, work habits, motivational factors, self-assessment, human relations, coping strategies, lifestyle priorities and vocational incentives.  It’s more about how these traits work in combination (positively or not so much) rather than individually
  • Provides a long list of career interests (much like a Strong Interest Inventory);  you can be interested in becoming a brain surgeon but not necessarily be successful as one!
  • And…its unique value proposition…benchmarks individuals to roles where they’re most likely to be successful, given their behaviours and interests.  People who are successful in a role are usually (but not always) interested in it

Many of my clients want to find work that’s more “meaningful” or purposeful”.  That may mean looking at transitioning to the not for profit sector from the private sector.  It’s interesting to see the line between the two blurring.  Private sector employers want to become more socially responsible and not for profits need to become more business-like so the possible synergies are exciting.

Others want to consider self-employment.  Your local Small Business Centre can offer excellent advice and support.

Pathfinder isn’t for everyone (it’s not a Cosmo quiz:  it takes time and introspection and does have an associated fee) but, with this kind of valid and reliable data, people can be more focused in strategizing their job search.  Many people tell me it’s the first time they’ve ever stepped back and really thought about their career;  they often fell into in a job which was good enough, neither great nor horrible, then hummed along on cruise control.

Seeking career advice is an investment in your future, not just a “cost”, that can change how you think about your “work”.  Many people have figured out the finances of retiring but haven’t considered what they’ll do all day.  Taking a calculated risk (the career assessment can counteract impetuous decisions) with a sounding board (two heads are always better than one) can be really helpful.

Other have said it and I agree:  “do what you love” and “play to your strengths”!