Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Why I Wrote Mid-Life Career Rescue – the rise of the older worker

AA030453Why I Wrote Mid-Life Career Rescue 

Someone once asked me, “What was the catalyst for writing your book?” In part, it was my experience as a psychologist and career counsellor, and the  experiences of my clients. Like, those who were made redundant after 40-years of loyal service, and offered only 2 hours of support to help them rebuild their shattered lives.

Or the lady in her 50’s who told me, “My boss has offered me one hour of career counselling. She said, ‘If you can’t work it all out in that time, you’re more useless than I thought.’  Really? How could someone say that to another person? My client was so traumatised, so demoralised, so depressed, she’d lost all her self-esteem. “What say we do the skills exercises,” she said to me, ” and we find out my boss is right, I don’t have any talent.”

And, I’ll never forget my first client, who told me, all he wanted to do was die. I realised then that a career coach and career counsellor doesn’t just help people find a job, or minimise workplace stress, they help people reclaim themselves, their soul, their lives. They help people take control back and reclaim their power.

But the ‘why’ which motivated me to write was also the emails I received from people who read my newspaper columns in the New Zealand Herald and The Dominion Post, and the depth of their hopelessness and despair. Despair that stretched beyond them, affecting those who loved them. Many of them couldn’t afford to see me, or anyone else, professionally to get the help they so desperately needed.

Like the lady who emailed me, “No one will employ my husband because he was 55 and had been in the same job for 25 years until he was made redundant. He keeps being told that he has no skills employers would want.”

Career Rescue

It broke my heart every time I had to reply to emails like this with, “I’m sorry we are not taking new clients at this time.” Because I knew from experience it didn’t have to be that way. I knew what he needed to learn was how to find his passion and clarify what gave him a sense of meaning and purpose, and how to sell his age and experience as an asset.

It was the experience of this man and many others like him that resulted in my decision to write my first book Happy at Work for Mid-Lifers. And it was the success and the feedback from those that read it that that led me to release a revised and updated version as Mid-Life Career Rescue.

As a recruitment consultant, I’ve seen first-hand how employers and recruiters can be ageist when it comes to hiring decisions. In the search for employment, it’s not uncommon for mid-lifers to make over 500 unsuccessful job applications.

“It’s particularly hard being an unemployed, single  female in your late fifties, says Helen Walmsley-Johnson, a self-styled protesting middle-aged woman and the author of a new book, The Invisible Woman. ” I didn’t realise I had hit middle-age until until my wheels started to spin in the quagmire of ageism. What happens is your options narrow. If you say, ‘I’m a 60-year-old woman’ people can’t see you in front of them. Something pops into their head, which is how they envisage a 60-year-old woman. And that’s not how we are now – it’s now how I am.”

As a coach I’ve helped people overcome ageism and either get hired, or employ themselves.

But once again, I’m aware that not everyone can afford to see a professional coach. So I thought a book would be a more affordable, accessible option.

The Rise Of The Older Worker

Your life expectancy is on the rise, so if you don’t like your job at 50, change it. You don’t have to prove yourself or impress others, you’re freer now, than at any other time in your life, to be your true SELF.

Yet, so many people put self-imposed limits on what they believe is possible at their age. Even non mid-lifers do that! “Don’t you do what you love when you retire,” one 28 year-old once said to me! “I’m too old to change, “ said another man in his early thirties. I’ve helped people successfully challenge those limits.

And there’s plenty of examples, if you look for them, of golden-oldies living and working with passion. Like Artist Jacqueline Fahey, who is just about to turn 86. She says this time in her life is friendlier to being creative than the years when she was being a wife and mother.

“I don’t have to prove myself any more,” she says. ‘There are plenty of people who disapprove of my painting, writing and what I hold forth about. I don’t like or dislike it; I just don’t care.”

When one of my clients, Marion, realised that unless she made some positive changes in her life now, people would not remember her as she wanted, she refound her appetite for life.

 “I don’t want people to say ‘she was a nice lady who played it safe.’ I want to be scandalous! I want my kids to say, ‘what’s mum up to now?’” she laughed.

Marion gave up the security of her teaching career in The States, moved to New Zealand and purchased her own beauty therapy business. Lonely, following the death of her husband 15 years earlier, she also plucked up the courage to date again. “I’m using my new experiences to show older woman that they can love and live again and I’m pampering them in the process!”

Viva la Mid-Life Revolution!

As a career coach and counsellor helping mid-lifers reclaim their lives after redundancy, rebuild self-esteem after workplace bullying, and bounce back from the depression that staying in the wrong job can create, I felt strongly that people needed both practical and inspirational ways to reclaim their lives.

I also believe that people need fewer check boxes and career assessment inventories and more creative, out-of-the box thinking to help them succeed. My views resonated with many – and I was interviewed on television and on the radio about this very thing. You can check these out on my media page here >>

I have also presented my unique Passion Driven Model of career design at conferences around the world. I’m not saying these things to boast – but to reassure you that, if you purchase Mid-Life Career Rescue from Amazon, or download Happy At Work For Mid-Lifers from my website, you’re in safe hands.

When I attended an international symposium of career practitioners in Venice, Italy, we were warned of the crisis an ageing workforce presented and were told that the greatest skill career coaches needed was – wait for it…

to help people have an imagination!

As an artist and creative soul myself, that was like candy to a child. And since then, I’ve proven over and over again, with the successes I’ve gained for clients that thinking differently and creatively, as well as rationally, while also harnessing the power of intuition, and applying the principles of manifestation, really works. In my books I’ll show you why and how.

A large part of my philosophy, and the reason behind my success in my own life and with clients, is my fervent belief that to achieve anything worthy in life you need to follow your passion. And I’m in good company.

As Oprah Winfrey said, “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” Without passion, you don’t have energy, and without energy you have nothing. You have to let desire, not fear, propel you forward. Yet worryingly, research suggests that less than 10% of people are following their passion. Perhaps that is why there is so much unhappiness at work.

Setting You Up For Success

“Aren’t you setting people up for failure?” a disillusioned career coach once challenged me when I told her my focus was not on helping people find any job, but finding one that gave them joy. I couldn’t help but wonder if she needed a career change.

Twenty-five years cumulative professional experience as a career coach and counsellor, helping people work with passion and still pay the bills, answers that question. I’m setting people up for success. I’m not saying it will happen instantly, but if you follow the advice in Mid-Life Career Rescue or Happy at Work For Mid-Lifers, it will happen. I promise.

Your Life Is Waiting

“I’ve spent 40 years looking out of the window wishing I was somewhere else,” one of my clients told me. That’s not only depressing but also such a huge waste of talent and precious time. Life’s too short to spend days, weeks and years in a job that robs you of energy, zest and enthusiasm.

We spend over 3,000 hours a year at work, and when we’re not at work we’re thinking about it. Work-related issues are major sources of stress and career unhappiness. Left unresolved they can spill over into other areas of your life, infecting your relationships with colleagues, family and loved ones.

Don’t waste another day feeling trapped. Don’t be the person who spends a life of regret, or waits until they retire before they follow their passions. Don’t be the person too afraid to make a change for the better, or who wishes they could lead a significant life. Make the change now. Before it’s too late.

Your story can be like Mandy’s, who in her 50’s, after reading my first book Happy at Work for Mid-lifers  wrote to me and told me how the book had changed her life:

“To be honest, I couldn’t put the book down – it was as though Cassandra had got inside my head and written it specifically for me! It helped me process the what/where questions I was asking myself and discussed all the aspects that had been tumbling around in my head like a washing machine for many months.  It helped me process my thoughts, clarify my thinking, formulate a real plan and prepare myself for my new life.”

And what a new life it was. Mandy packed up her old life as a disillusioned consultant and unhappy wife in New Zealand and moved to outback Australia after successfully applying for a new role. She landed a three-year contract as an Infrastructure and Assets Manager, overseeing the construction of the Art Centre and new houses, as well as the commercialisation of the airport and the development of major roads.

“I wanted a new adventure and I’ve found one!” she wrote to me. “I’m excited and terrified.” Others saw Mandy as an inspiration, paving the way for other mid-lifers to make courageous life and career changes.

My clients, and readers like Mandy, tell me they value the fact that my advice is gained from both my personal and professional experiences and is both practical and inspirational.

Keith was 55 when his position was made redundant after 38 years of loyal service. “The biggest thing I am dealing with is a hit to my self-worth,” he wrote to me.

“I am a proponent of the law of attraction and have proved this law many times but that does not stop me having serious doubts about my ability to pull above the ‘mind chatter.’ Your book is a great resource for boosting my energy and confidence.

“Honestly, your book is a treasure. I have found it very useful in terms of the information provided and tools available for self-awareness and future planning.  This is an awesome book and one I would recommend to anyone looking to change their career, not just mid-lifers.

“I feel energised every time I pick it up and I go back and re-read sections I have already read. I thank you for your foresight in writing this book and the energy and enthusiasm you pass on through the book.” (put feedback link into the web page for this book)

Reach For Your Dreams

Passion, happiness, joy, fulfilment, love – call it what you will but my deepest desire is that this book encourages you to reach for your dreams, to never settle, to believe in the highest aspirations you have for yourself. You have so many gifts, so many talents that the world so desperately needs. We need people like you who care about what they do, who want to live and work with passion and purpose.

 

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