Make Your Second Career a Reality

One of the recurring themes I see here at the beach has to do with people who are newly retired and stressed over what they’re going to do with themselves. Many tell me that they’re not qualified for the jobs they’re interested in, and aren’t interested in the jobs for which they’re qualified. How does one bridge that gap? Add that to the unique economy of a summer resort, and you end up with a lot of restless, dissatisfied people.

In this age of iPhones, Facebook, Droids, chat rooms, Tweets, blogs, BlackBerries, texts,

corporate Web sites, employment search engines, etc., there are better ways to look for a job than trekking from one storefront to another, becoming increasingly disheveled as the day wears on. It amazes me how many older people don’t immediately think of the influence of the Internet and the far-reaching power of something as basic as a Google search.

Things usually end up boiling down to five basic strategies, each contributing to the ultimate goal.

1. Continue the search. Assume you can and will find an interesting job for which you’re qualified. Yes, unemployment remains at 10%, but look at it this way: 90% ARE employed. That’s a lot of jobs out there! In spite of everything we hear about recession, people are still spending money. New businesses are still opening, and profit is still a reality.

One example is food. The Food Network recently expanded to a second cable network that’s selling advertising and attracting a whole new demographic. Another example is the pet industry. Vets are charging more than ever before, and pet services and products are at unprecedented levels. I’m not suggesting a career in food or livestock, but those are just two vast areas with lots of possibilities. Check out the Wall Street Journal and Investor’s Business Daily. Find out what still makes a profit. If it’s successful now, imagine what will happen if the economy ever improves.

2. Be positive. And stay positive! Even if the economy gets worse, new opportunities will open in some areas. Vocational-technical education is a prime example: People who lose or quit their jobs sometimes want to learn new skills. Hair continues to grow and must be cut. Air conditioning systems must be fixed. Just about everybody has a car that will have to be repaired. Computer skills are still in demand. I have a friend who owned and operated a vo-tech school who constantly marveled how his business increased every time the ‘economy’ took a downturn. For better or for worse, the government makes tax money available for just this sort of education. Opportunity exists during good times and bad.

3. Don’t think in terms of age. Aging has as many advantages as disadvantages. As you get older, you might have less physical ability but more mental ability. This increased mental ability stems from life experience and the wisdom that comes from more years on this earth. If you’ve been reading, thinking and learning throughout your life, continuing to do so will not be a challenge.

4. ‘Dissatisfaction’ is in your head, not in reality. And it often stems from nothing more than insufficient knowledge in some area. “I feel like there’s no job match for me. Therefore there isn’t one.” Wrong! The futility may seem real, but it’s only a feeling. Granted, you can’t pretend to know things you don’t know, but you do have the power to take action and find out more about those things. We never outgrow the ability to learn. Our minds just need to be open. “There are career matches for me. I haven’t found one yet, but I’m going to keep looking.”

Keep searching and you’ll likely find something (or come up with a great idea for something new). For those who get frustrated and stop looking, all possibilities instantly disappear.

5. Don’t fall for false alternatives. Years ago, a man told me he really wanted to become a presidential press secretary. And if that didn’t happen, he would have to end up as a greeter for Wal-Mart. After I picked myself up off the floor (figuratively), I realized this guy genuinely believed that there was simply nothing in between. In reality, there’s everything in between, if he would just take off his blinders.

Beware the foolish false alternatives! When a person rejects the very good in favor of nothing less than the perfect, he or she will most often be left with something even worse than the most menial job: The futility of having given up. Don’t let that happen.