61-year-old Gillian Johnson would like to start a new career in a new direction but is worried her age will hold her back. Personal and Executive Coach Dr Sally Ann Law advises…
Dear Career Workshop,
I need help and advice. I am 61, fit and healthy and have worked in the advertising and marketing sector for many years, for companies such as Reed Elsevier and the Daily Mail. I have sold everything from recruitment to sponsorships and events.
I am having trouble getting a job (I don’t look my age) and do not want to retire. I want some advice with a new career. I have marketing skills and am interested in life coaching or running a business to use my skills that can be transferred but I don’t have or have never run my own business. This is my problem – where do I start getting confidence and experience in doing this. Are there any government courses in this particular field?
I would really appreciate your help and advice, as I know I have a lot to offer.
I’m happy to read that you describe yourself as fit and healthy and I can read the enthusiasm you have for a positive career change in your words. Working out a new career strategy for ourselves can feel very daunting, but having an optimistic attitude and seeing the challenge as an adventure rather than a necessity will go a long way to solving your dilemma.
It sounds like the first step for you might be to do quite a bit of research to find out what you really do want to do and why. You say you are interested in life coaching, but go on to say ‘or running a business to use my skills’. I think before you invest time, energy (and probably money) in developing a new career you would benefit from trying to work out what your vision for your own future really is. Very often people rush off to do something new without first taking the time to examine the reasons behind their new choices. Ideally we want to feel that our career choice is aligned with our value system and that we’ve selected our new direction with clarity and confidence – as well as ruled out other options for all the right reasons.
I would suggest that you identify up to 10 people who can give you valuable input into the highs and lows of running their own businesses and see how what you learn from those conversations affects your decision-making. With regard to life coaching, I can tell you that there is no real barrier to entering the profession, other than personal integrity. At the moment, anyone can call themselves a life coach or indeed offer coach training. I would strongly suggest, however, that before you sign up for a training option that may cost you several thousand pounds, you try to get a better sense about your own current strengths (and weaknesses) and how you see them working for and against you as a life coach. Then you may have a better idea of what sorts of training you will need to feel confident offering your services as a life coach.
Regardless of what direction you choose, you will probably find you will need to invest in some form of training, either to gain specific skills for a new career or more generally to increase your understanding of what running a business entails. I would also encourage you to think hard about what you need from your new career from a financial as well as a personal/professional fulfilment point of view, as that may make some choices more suitable than others.
In any event, I wish you success in your new venture.
Dr. Sally Ann Law
Personal and Executive Coach
To contact Dr Sally Ann for more career advice, visit www.sallyannlaw-lifecoach.co.uk.
For more career-related advice, visit www.jobsite.co.uk
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