You’re 50+ and you have lost your job. Now what?

Many 50-year olds find it challenging to either change jobs, find a job after they have been made redundant, or decide what to do when retirement approaches. Having turned 50 a few years ago, I was in a situation myself where I seemed to be over-qualified and also too experienced to secure work.  It was a bit humiliating going to Centrelink and then having to ensure I was applying for 10-12 jobs per week, few that were in academia.

The experience was de-moralising.

Fast forward to 2018; ageism is alive and well despite the denial of HR experts and various workplaces.  In saying that, I met a woman who showed me a letter she received from a company that blatantly stated that her age was a factor as to why she did not get the position.  The woman asked what she should do.  Legal Aid ACT was my first thought (she was located in Canberra).  There are two mindsets to take in this situation: (1) victim, or (2) victor!

Twenty years ago I owned a gym in Canberra; it was a time where Federal Government was going through yet another re-structure and people were being made redundant. One client, Mark, continuously complained about his job. One day he came into the gym for his workout.  He looked upset.  Turns out was made redundant.  I said, “What’s the problem? You hated your job anyway!”  He grunted then went to work out.  Another member can in elated.  I asked her “Why the happiness?” She stated that she was made redundant and she was looking forward to doing things and pursuing a career she really wanted to do.

Two different people, two different attitudes.   So what is your attitude to starting a new chapter?

I am a big promoter of older adults starting their own business.   There are a plethora of opportunities to make some extra money.  The other thing is that many people over 50 have some amazing skill sets that other want and will pay for!  One of the strategies you can do is to conduct a skills assessment on your self.  This is a very interesting exercise identifying all the skills you have as a person – not just as an employee of an organisation.  Once you identify your skills, then you can go through each one and determine if it is a ‘sellable’ asset.  This can then serve as a foundation for starting a business or establishing a consultancy.

One of the safest ways to determine if starting a business or going out on your own as a consultant is to take a course or enrol in a qualification.  Check out the Certificate III in Micro Business Operations (BSB30315) or the Certificate IV in New Small Business (BSB42615).  There are also numerous webinars you can watch that may help you.