Here’s the one secret for career longevity. It’s a simple question: “Can I do it at age 80?”
If the answer is yes, by all means move forward to follow your dream, re-train, re-vitalize, re-invent.
If you have spent years in a role that involves physical rigor — being on your feet all day, heavy lifting or being in a contorted position — there are built-in risks to career longevity. Don’t wait until you are 65 to decide your next phase, whether you are working for personal fulfillment or economic necessity.
There are unlimited options to consider — and wonderful success stories:
Growing up, my high school friend’s father had a tax preparation business to supplement his income as a police officer. Her mother, a registered nurse, always helped him. When my friend’s father died, the clients looked to her mother to continue helping them with tax returns. Her mom underwent additional training, annual certification — and even learned to use a computer. Today, she still serves hundreds of clients — in her 90s!
Who wants a ninety something tax advisor, you ask? Longtime clients and neighbors — not to mention other older widows and small business owners who might not be taken seriously by younger service providers. Taxpaying is forever, thus there will always be a market for financial-related services.
There is an explosion of career options that mandate expertise in social media marketing, according to U.S. News. Excelling in online connecting is a bankable skill – a ticket to your career longevity.
By taking your day-to-day use of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. to the next level, you could teach, train or consult. You might not be a recruitment target for a go-go tech firm, but there are loads of non-profits, small businesses, consultancies and mid-cap companies that want to elevate their profile and offerings via social media. While millennials seek on-going challenge and fast-paced career growth, Prime Women can offer stability and continuity.
Industry leader and trend-setter Shama Hyder agrees. “I don’t think age matters for a career in digital media or social media. In fact, some clients may feel more comfortable with someone closer to their age – a sense of ‘if they can do it, so can I.’ No matter the age, there is always an angle for an advantage.”
LisaAnn McCall is a physical therapist with more than 25 years of experience in orthopedic dysfunction. She works with physicians and surgeons and is the go-to guru for professional athletes and patients suffering from arthritis, joint disease and chronic pain.
Building on her experience with one of the top sports medicine clinics, she researched a therapeutic and wellness approach called the McCall Method that she delivers via one-on-one therapy sessions, and preventive/healthy movement classes. Dallas-based for many years, she now lives in Bend, Oregon. I took her Body Balance class for years and still do some of her movements religiously, in addition to Pilates.
LisaAnn has a huge following of clients, now dispersed geographically. Thus, she is extending her reach and career longevity through an expansive new website. She has produced a series of on-line videos that can be used independently or as an add-on to private sessions which can be done via Facetime and Skype!
Rosemary Fiore married after high school and spent her life devoted to family and raising money as a community volunteer and non-profit board member. Flash forward to life as empty nesters. Her husband sold a business and made an exciting career change.
Inspired, she decided to pursue something new, as well. As a Prime woman in her 60s, she entered a nursing program and was proud to be the oldest graduate in a class populated by teenagers and twenty-somethings. Today, she enjoys a flexible schedule with Pediatric Home Connection providing skilled nursing care to technologically dependent children who are on ventilators, IVs, feeding tubes and other devices.
“It’s so rewarding to be helping children, but also to be improving the lives of other women,” she says. “We provide important support so that moms can sleep, work, or go to school to improve their own lives.”
Career planning tip: Rosemary initially targeted an R.N. certification, but thought she would test the waters first in an L.P.N. program. She immediately clicked with a specialty focus on technology and medical devices. “It was the perfect fit for me, without needing to go to the next step of a four-year degree.”
Denise Aver-Phillips, Vice President, Community Outreach for C.C. Young retirement community, echoes the need for caregiving on many levels as a path to career longevity. You are not bound by geography or a role that involves heavy lifting, she notes. You can be in a small town or major metro area and often build a schedule to fit your personal preferences.
Another Prime author, Cindy Wilson, recently interviewed an octogenarian about “second acts.” Read Considering a Second Career Choice: 3 Lessons from an Octogenarian.