“Recently I began attending an 8-week career seminar. At age 62, I have not had permanent work since 2006, following the 2nd of two layoffs in less than 2 years. I cannot say that I have ever found my “sweet spot” as to doing work that I love. I have also taken several assessment tests over the years.
There have been some that I enjoyed, though nothing has been particularly challenging or rewarding. I need to find some level of satisfaction, not just a paycheck. Currently, I am living on SS, unemployment, and temp work, which is usually boring. Whether temp or permanent work (mostly administrative with some sales), my supervisors have always been impressed by my professionalism, customer service skills, and my normally positive attitude.
I have made several attempts to start my own business. I believe I have an entrepreneurial spirit. I have struggled for 22 years both financially and career-wise.
I am convinced that God has a plan, but I honestly don’t know how to set career goals. I enjoy working and the satisfaction of doing a job exceptionally well, but have never really enjoyed the corporate world, working mostly with small businesses. I am happiest knowing I have helped others in some way.
Can you offer some suggestions to a 62-year-old woman who believes she still has something to contribute?”
Think in terms of small steps that can start moving you towards a goal, rather than trying to first come up with the ultimate goal. Once you’ve achieved some small steps, you can take stock and think about what would move you ahead further.
Find a few options for things you think you would be interested in doing – not necessarily your ‘dream’ job or business, but things that you could enjoy.
Seek out meetings with people involved in those things, and have deep conversations with them about what they do, what they love about it, what they don’t like, etc. In the conversation, also talk about what you think you would bring to the table in that area, and do some brainstorming with them.
DON’T ASK ABOUT JOB OPENINGS, WHO’S HIRING, ETC. Keep it focused on equipping them to know about you, and brainstorming with them to get advice. In this way, you will get lots of information and advice and will equip these people to become your eyes and ears in the market.
As you do this, it will start to create a feedback loop that helps you get more clarity on your options, and you will start to feel either more or less excited about certain options and see how you might shape them differently to tap more into what interests you.
I would also recommend seeking out some volunteer effort in an area related to one of the options, which will give you some hands-on experience that will help you see if it’s a viable option, will build your database of skills and stories to tell in your search, and will build your network – people love helping someone they see volunteering for something important to them.