A friend asked me, “Why am I receiving AARP material in the mail? I’m only 50 years old!” Well, there are more important questions to be thinking about.
I read two pieces of information that got my attention: First, that more than half of workers over the age of 50 will at some point be reorganized downward, their job eliminated, be fired, forced to retire early or somehow lose their job. The second, that only about 10% of that group will ever attain the same organization or compensation level compared to where they left off.
Two questions come to mind:
- Are you prepared in case termination happens to you, for any cause, at any age?
- What can you do to prepare or prevent this kind of adversity from happening?
Most of us assume this kind of major event can’t happen to you, it only happens to someone else. “I’m doing fine”, until you’re not. Here are some considerations:
- Keep your resume up to date and compelling– Keep track of accomplishments over the past 10 years until now. Measure your achievements in a meaningful way: Revenue increase, cost elimination, project advancement, and so on. These are the things that a future employer wants to see: “What will you do for me?”
- Stay focused on where you are and where you want to be – Those that fall behind in their technology, functional skills, knowledge of the industry or don’t expand their responsibilities are usually the first to go. Most of us think we are irreplaceable. Think again. Check out the marketplace to find the supply/demand equation for your skills.
- Keep your skills sharpened – Whatever your current job or function, it has all changed over the part 10 years or less. Enhanced systems, hand-held applications, remote cloud-based work, self-driving vehicles has overwhelmed once manual operations. Are you ahead or behind the curve of the changes to come?
- Keep a list of contacts – We all have connections with people who know our talents and also know what’s going on in the marketplace. These are the people who are valuable contacts. Keep a list of past bosses, co-workers and even subordinates from past jobs. Keep your network active. You may be able to help them or they help you.
- Make sure you have an emergency fund – Make the assumption that you will lose your job at week’s end and receive a severance check. How long before your cash runs out? If you don’t plan for the unknown, something in the future will catch up with you out of the blue. The negative implications are greatest when you’re unprepared.
- Develop an action plan – Update your credentials, take advanced courses, train in a new technology, sign up for a podcast in your function, join a professional association. If you’re not moving ahead, you’re falling behind. Staying put is not an option
Don’t become irrelevant. If you do, you’re highly vulnerable.
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