pink slip

50-Somethings Reinventing Themselves in the Workplace

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New Paths For 50-Somethings With a Pink Slip

By Nancy Fox

After 13 years as a copy-writer for a successful online business, Sally was let go. Her manager said the company was “going in a different direction.” Sally believes they wanted a Rottweiler and she was more like a pussycat.

nancy foxJennifer, a senior marketing director who spent 15 years at a CPA firm, knew she was in trouble when the company brought in a millennial marketing assistant. She knew her job was in peril. For a year Jennifer lived with stress. Not surprised, she was let go. The company explained her job was eliminated. Then she learned her protege had been promoted to a role with a new title but she had Jennifer’s same responsibilities.

Too many 50-plus career professionals know what it feels like to be squeezed out of longtime jobs and to lose their financial security because a younger, eager, cheaper labor force is ready and willing to replace them. Some read the tea leaves, but others are simply blindsided when it happens, particularly those who’ve been with a company for many years and have had a good, long run. But this devastating blow is not uncommon, and before most even begin to absorb the shock or deal with their anger, they must throw themselves into the business of resume writing, job hunting, and begging for job interviews that most companies are more likely to grant to hungry, inexperienced, inexpensive, trainable millennials and Gen Z’ers.

How did this happen? Until the crash of 2009, most 50-somethings felt secure in corporate life. Those in their 60s may have had more reason to feel worried. But the downturn in the economy forced companies to do more with less. Millennials stood ready and able.  They came more cheaply, were trainable, and eager to pay back student loans.

They are often surprised to learn they cannot land jobs that match their expertise, and are offered positions that are beneath them.

While many 50-somethings who lost jobs reel, feeling dissed and experience a loss of confidence, they also know they had a deep well of skills and experience. The reality of dipping into savings or compromising their lifestyle are motivating factors to get busy and think carefully about the road ahead. Many continue to look for new jobs, but others start up side gigs based on long-ago unfulfilled desires or transform their professional lives altogether with entrepreneurial endeavors.

They know that finding another job likely means taking lower salaries or hourly wages without benefits. They are often surprised to learn they cannot land jobs that match their expertise, and are offered positions that are beneath them.

In a recently-reported study in Forbes Magazine over half of small business owners in the US are over 50!

While this opportunity is exciting, the transition can be challenging from both the mindset and marketing vantage points. In my next installments, I will reveal promising new-business options for 50+ers and the five key internal and external shifts they must make in order to be successful in transforming themselves from employees to entrepreneurs. So stay tuned.

Oh, and remember Sally and Jennifer? Sally created a coaching business for divorced women over 50. Jennifer started taking yoga, then teaching it, and has since created and markets yoga and meditation training to corporate wellness programs nationwide. Fifty and over for many is just the beginning of a long and fruitful career.

Nancy Fox, founder of The Business Fox, is a leading high-performance business strategy and confidence coach for entrepreneurs at 50+, creator of The Business Fox Start Up School and Discover My Business Idea Method. She helps former execs, employees, and entrepreneurs turn their know-how and expertise into highly profitable service, consulting or coaching businesses.