The Advantage of Being an Older Worker: Exploring What Women Over 60 Bring to Businesses
It was a lively bunch. The 12 people in my class were from a smaller company that provides conference services. It had recently been purchased by a much larger global corporation in November 2016.
The ink had hardly dried on that contract before another 4000 people had been added to the rolls about a month later.
The employees who sat in my classroom were in sales. Many of their territories were about to change. Most had never been through a huge corporate transaction before, especially on the purchased side.
Many who were approaching mid-life had kids, mortgages, college to support. They were scared. Perfectly understandable.
Impact of Personal Work Experience
I’ve been through six acquisitions, and I’ve learned that after the first few, you get good at thrival, not just survival.
This makes me very useful to this bunch, who are just now facing their first hurdles as they deal with uncertainty. There is nothing like experience from which to provide perspectives, recommendations, advice and comfort.
In a New York Times opinion article, writer Sally Koslow addresses her own life shifts after being “shown the door” in her mid-50s.
In a society that prefers to see older women in a rocking chair or baking cookies, the simple truth is that a great many of us love our work. Not only that, we are exceptionally good at it, and to a great degree, at this point in our working lives, have vastly more to offer businesses struggling with younger workers.
Value of Life Perspective and Wisdom
Koslow works for herself, as I do. I’ve been an entrepreneur for years. I love my work – speaking, training, consulting – so much that I can’t imagine stopping. This work pays for the third of each year that I spend doing adventure travel, which is my other passion.
The other piece is that the wealth of experience, life perspectives and wisdom – combined – add so much value not only to what I write, but in particular to people in my training classrooms who are searching for answers.
I have been there. As have many of us at this age. In fact, it’s arguable that right about the time a great many folks are slowing down, many of us are not only speeding up, but also finding that what we have to offer is just what businesses need.
For example, in June I delivered programs on Jungian personality archetypes. I’ve done so many of those programs that it was seamless. It wasn’t just that I know my stuff – I understand the applications and practice.
The class had a variety of problems that we could discuss in depth. This took theory into application, which a trainer in her 20s or 30s can’t possibly do. People walked away with actionable strategies that they could put in place immediately. You don’t get that with kids at the front of the room.
When you’ve accumulated enough of life’s road rash, you not only have a wealth of material and examples to draw from – you also have a sense of humor about life that others are still far too serious about.
The ability to shine a humorous light on life’s vicissitudes is part of what age confers. We are mentors, not just employees. This is how we come into our fullness as we age.
Thinking about working again? Whatever your motivation, you’re needed out there. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Update Your Resume
Dust off your resume or get help in creating one. You might be very surprised at how much you have to offer when a pro picks your brain.
This could transform how you see yourself and the difference you can make, as well as your real worth to today’s marketplace. We vastly underestimate ourselves and underprice our gifts.
Gain Some New Skills
First, do some research to find out what businesses need most. If you find something that intrigues you, invest in training. Not only does this keep your brain engaged, but learning something new makes us expand, introduces us to new people and by way of that, brand new opportunities.
Start Your Own Business
If you would rather be your own boss, talk to your accountant to see what kind of corporation makes sense. Because of my military disability status, I have an S-Corp.
There are huge tax benefits to being your own CEO. Hang out a shingle and start networking. Not only does this give you a great deal to do, it will re-energize you about your life, your value and your circle of friends.
It’s hard to be lonely and isolated when you’re running a practice, whether it’s dog-walking or online marketing or a day-care center.
Trust Your Intuition
Many of us barely begin to come into our own until we reach our 60s. This is a magical age, where the accumulated wealth of experience combines with our desire to give back. If we’re taking care of our bodies and brains, we’re unstoppable.
Being Wonder Woman is not limited to gorgeous young girls. It’s for any of us determined to make a splash in the world. Age isn’t a deterrent unless we let it be. There are plenty of businesses who need us. It’s our job to identify a need, offer a solution and show up. And have fun!
What advantages do you think women over 60 have when it comes to getting back into the workplace? Have you started a new business in your 60s? What value do you think you added to your current employment? Please share in the comments below.
Julia Hubbel is a prize-winning author, journalist, international business and women’s conference speaker and international adventure traveler. Her work teaches people how to erase the impossible and redefine their boundaries. As a sales and leadership trainer, her work focuses on success skills and finding the courage to be your best.