Many of us have parents (and certainly grandparents) who were of the “job for life” generation. Or more accurately, a career for life whose path stayed within defined milestones from start to finish.
However, recessions, the pandemic and the relentless march of technology has shown us all that there is rarely a career for life, let alone a job for life. On the positive side, building a “portfolio career” isn’t just for the under 40s anymore.
Aim for the skies
Pam Clark joined EasyJet as cabin crew twenty years ago believing she “had something really valuable to offer”. Unlike most of the new recruits, Pam was 53 and had a long previous career as a hairdresser. Now aged 73, she is the airline’s recruitment ambassador for the over 45s, part of the airline’s drive for diversity.
Her advice for those contemplating changing direction within 15 years of retirement?
“Don’t be afraid.”
Taking the plunge
Mature workers changing career or jobs just isn’t a big deal anymore. Even major recruitment sites recognise the benefits. Job website Indeed lists four positive boosts to your personal and professional life that a job change could bring.
– “Opportunity to explore other passions
– Potential for more financial stability
– Greater fulfilment
– Ability to afford your passions”
It all sounds great, but Indeed do also advise potential career changers to “Be realistic”. A change of career does need to be put into the context of its longevity if you want to continue working beyond age 65. That might help define your choice. (Interestingly, whilst legally you need to be aged 18 to be airline cabin crew, there is no upper age limit.)
“Always plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.”
Do your homework
If you are thinking about any change in life, a bit of research beforehand can pay dividends. One of the benefits of decades of working, having children and even living in any given location means you have accumulated a natural network of people. Ask them if they have relevant contacts who can help you assess the feasibility of your career change from the ‘inside’. Pick their brains on what they’d like to do, rather than what they are doing now.
Keeping your brain active
One of the major benefits of changing career or job is that it will keep you stimulated, engaged and interested when maintaining your current occupation or position might not. Research is consistently showing that keeping your mind active is just as important as keeping fit and healthy physically.
“The largest study conducted to date testing computer brain training was funded by Alzheimer’s Society and involved almost 7,000 people over the age of 50. The brain training package tested in this study challenged people’s reasoning and problem-solving skills.”
The results showed that using this brain training package resulted in improvements in reasoning and remembering words after six months. The more the exercises were completed, the more likely participants were to see improvements in these brain functions.”
So if you can find a job that challenges your reasoning and problem solving, as well as keeping you engaged socially and earning you money, that’s a real result!
The social side
It’s important not to overlook the social aspect of work too. According to Harvard Medical School:
“Social interaction can have profound effects on your health and longevity. In fact, there’s evidence that strong social connections may be as important as physical activity and a healthy diet. … Frequent engagement helps strengthen neural networks, slowing normal age-related declines. It may also help strengthen cognitive reserve, which can delay the onset of dementia.”
Don’t want to work post 65, but stay engaged?
No problem! Retirement planning can help you put in place all the upsides that work offers – social interaction, mental stimulation, physical activity – without the stress, the commute, the annoying manager, or the long hours.
That’s why I founded Panthera LIFE, to help people like you understand who you want to be in retirement, and retire with aims, goals and a sense of purpose.
When you Retire with Purpose, you replace your work self with a new you that is engaged with the world, socially active, enjoys a healthy and active lifestyle, and has the time to be with partners, family and friends.
If you’d like to talk through how you can achieve this, I offer personal 1 to 1 retirement planning with an emphasis on you as a person, not just your pension pot!