Tips for finding the silver lining in the cloudy days ahead:
- Take advantage of free resume and interview skills development workshops offered through employment assistance services.
- Tell everyone you know you’re looking for work. Many jobs are secured as a result of old-fashioned personal connections.
- Enroll in a course to learn a new ability or refresh your computer skills.
- Establish an e-mail address if you don’t already have one. Be prepared to e-mail your resume and fill out a job application on-line.
- Be as flexible as possible about hours of availability and the distance you are willing to commute.
- Take your physical limitations into account; not everyone can lift 60 pounds or stand on their feet for several hours at a stretch.
March 12, 2009
MetroWest CARES, the Committee Addressing Resources for Eldercare Services, is coordinated by United Jewish Communities and brings together professionals and lay leaders from MetroWest agencies that provide services to older adults. Each month, a MetroWest CARES agency presents an educational column on an eldercare issue. This month’s column on older adults returning to the workforce is presented by Jewish Vocational Service.
So you thought you were done with the rat race? Retirement couldn’t come soon enough? Only now your 401(k) isn’t generating enough income to make ends meet.
Then again, maybe you’re in sound shape financially but hate having too little to do with your time. Life just feels better when you’re giving something back, especially now that times are so tough for others.
Welcome to the new retirement, where work remains an option — or a necessity. Fortunately, even though times are tough, resources are available that can help mature workers find employment. Despite alarming trends nationally, jobs remain available even now, although they may not be in the same fields that individuals worked in before retirement. The key for older workers is identifying the skills and strengths that will get them through these economic badlands and into a more rewarding landscape. Ironically, many of the very aptitudes that are most needed in a brand new economic environment are those that tend to develop with maturity: reliability, depth of knowledge, and patience.
But before jumping back into the fray, older job seekers can benefit from taking stock of their interests and experience. And not just work experience: hobbies, avocations, political activism, and volunteer work all count toward employability.
The need for older individuals’ unique expertise and capacity to mentor has disappeared, especially in “people-centric” occupations like education and health care. An older adult who has spent time helping young children with homework may be ideally suited — with a little training — to work as a tutor. An attorney might offer consultant services, pick up part-time research or paralegal work, or provide pro bono assistance to a worthy nonprofit. An interest in art might lead to a job as a museum docent. People who enjoy sports or who worked with their hands during a professional career may find jobs as support personnel in related industries.
A period of belt-tightening and uncertainty is bound to be unnerving, but it can also afford mature work seekers an opportunity to take stock of their interests, envision new avenues in life, take advantage of training opportunities, and develop valuable connections.
Jewish Vocational Service is pleased to announce a new program that provides specialized employment assistance for adults 65 and older on a nonsectarian basis. Services include career counseling, job search strategies, resume preparation, interview techniques, networking tips, and job placement assistance. This emergency program is funded by the Grotta Fund for Senior Care of the Jewish Community Foundation of MetroWest. For information, contact Dr. Meryl Kanner at 973-674- 6330, ext. 271, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Families and caregivers needing answers to broader eldercare questions and help with community resources can contact Elderlink, a portal to all MetroWest services for older adults and their families. Elderlink can be reached at 973-765-9050, ext. 511, or email@example.com.
Dr. Meryl Kanner works at the Jewish Vocational Service of MetroWest in the career counseling and placement department.