We are healthier and living longer than previous generations. Approximately one in seven turning 50 this year will live to be 100. Longer life expectancy also means a rethink for much of the western world and its view of traditional retirement. The UK has already set in motion plans to increase eligibility to receive the state pension to 66 for both men and women. It is vital that people in their 50s do not view themselves as nearing the ‘end’ of their working lives. In fact many are choosing to work way beyond state pension age- some through financial necessity, others simply because they enjoy it.
Ensure your skills are up to date
For those remaining in traditional employment it is essential that they ensure they maintain an up to date, in demand skill set. For those who have been made redundant it is essential that they look at what the market is demanding in terms of skills in their field- and look to bridge any gaps. If an employer is downsizing its workforce, it is likely that it has also cut back in skills training- you will need to look at areas in which you may have fallen behind- if you use technology on a daily basis, you may realise that you are no longer familiar with the latest applications-essential if you want to be able to compete in today’s market. Similarly if you have been with the same employer for an extensive period of time, you may not have felt the need to keep up to date with professional accreditations in your field- this you should also look at and rectify. This may require an investment of time and money on your part- but regard it as an investment for the next phase of your career.
Plan this stage of your career
Put as much effort into planning this next stage of your career as you did your early career. Really think about your skills, your strengths and what it is you want and need to achieve.
The world of work and the way in which skills are utilised is changing. Are all your skills in demand, or just some of them? Instead of working full time for one employer should you package your skills and offer your capabilities to a number of companies, looking at ‘portfolio’ working?
Is this the right time to consider setting up your own business?
Is now the right time to consider becoming self employed and setting up your own business? Many businesses established by the over 50s are more successful than those started by their younger counterparts as they have more life experience to draw upon, and often fewer distractions.
The possibilities are endless, but you need to think about this stage of your working life as the beginning of something which still has time to evolve and grow. A whole new career could still lie ahead of you. In the world of work, 50 is far from old!!