Looking into the future and evaluating best career choices is a smart move for every woman – especially Prime Women over 50. What role will your career play in designing the life you want? How will you navigate twists and turns?

The key is to maximize enjoyment, satisfaction and financial security, while anticipating and alleviating risk. Rebounding from setbacks and complications can be more challenging during this stage of life, as you have fewer revenue-generating years than when you were 30. The bonus is the ability to supplement retirement funds and social security with career earnings to boost your lifestyle, cover crises or (horrors!) replace investment losses. Note this Prime Women article on the concept of “retirement.”

1. Do Something You Enjoy.

Life is short. Play to your strengths. What do you do better than anyone else? What aspect of your current role would you like to shed? If you are a sales superstar drowning in data entry and corporate reports, you might enjoy a sales role in a smaller enterprise in a lucrative, robust market — or professional fundraising for a non-profit. If you successfully lead a large team but miss doing the actual work yourself, move to an individual contributor role. If you are a weary road warrior, find a close-to-home role with no/low travel. The best career choices involve something you are good at that you also love doing.

2. Test Something New.

Maybe you have a passion, a curiosity or an itch. Don’t jump in whole hog. Try it on the side first. If you are interested in fitness and wellness, don’t run out and buy a yoga studio. Start a class in your home or office. Better yet, work in someone else’s organization to learn the ropes and inside insights. Restraint can be the most important aspect in making your best career choices. Invest in a new initiative only after you have a closer view of the realities.

3. Consult.

Any expertise delivered in-house to a traditional employer can be sold to others on an outsourcing basis. Being able to sell and deliver professional services is one of the best career choices you can ever target. Particularly in today’s gig economy, it is the key to lifelong revenue generation. There are more buyers of as-needed consulting services than there are hirers of full-time employees. If you are a frustrated job hunter for a traditional in-company role, this is your Plan B. And it is a better form of “job security” in the modern labor market. Consulting doesn’t require major capital investment or a fancy office. You are selling hourly fees and project work. Tap into business apps that can help you conduct and promote your services.

4. Sell.

If you have never sold goods or services, consider assessment tests to gauge your aptitude, then invest in a sales training course. This is your lifelong insurance policy to prevent the dreaded Bag Lady outcome that half of American women fear, according to this Allianz study. You can sell your own consulting services. You can sell for companies who sell into your previous organization or vertical market. You can sell products or services into your peer base. You can leverage your expertise and business relationships in a new line of service.

5. Teach What You Know.

You may not be interested in doing your current job for the rest of your life. If there is a physicality to your work, you may not be able to, but you have valuable insights to share and you can teach what you know. There are opportunities in traditional universities, community colleges, technical schools, church programs, alumni groups, training companies and on-line learning. Udemy is a fabulous new global platform. There are professional associations and national conventions. Retailers and product manufacturers need value-added content to excite and inform customers. Technology, global competition and changing demographics have created the biggest boom in training and development since Dale Carnegie invented the self-improvement category, post WW2. (See points 1-4, above, to get started!) There is an audience out there that wants to learn what you know!

Flash forward to envision the life you want and make the best career choices for yourself. Fill in the blanks with training and preparation that will get you there. Get a plan. Get a back-up plan. Invent your own work/life formula. Execute! Thrive! Enjoy!

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About The Author

Nancy Keene

Nancy Keene is founder of The Perfect Fit, a leadership consultancy. She advises CEOs of entrepreneurial and MidCap companies on talent upgrades and succession planning. She is a keynote speaker and program planner on work/life success strategies and developer of The Changeometer™ decision-making tool. Because of her career foundation launching new companies and technologies and, later, executive search, she is an expert in pinpointing competitive advantage and packaging a powerful message that breaks through the clutter and delivers results with discerning high-impact decision-makers - from national media, CEOs and high-caliber talent pools, including millennials! She has worked in global best practice organizations, including PricewaterhouseCoopers. Nancy loves sharing her business/career insights and research. She is passionate about seeing women succeed - in whatever pursuit they choose. She is a news junkie and Pilates aficionado. She can be reached through nancy@keeneperfectfit.com, her website, and LinkedIn.