Job hunters over age 50 may be apprehensive about the job market for fear of being discriminated against due to age, having their salary compromised because of being “over-qualified”, or not having enough stimulating job choices. However, today’s job market isn’t just tailored for young college graduates.
There are several positions that can only be filled by experienced individuals who can bring their knowledge, wisdom, and reliability to the table. Bruce Blackwell, a consultant at the Career Strategies Group in New York, said, “There are some very challenging and energizing careers for people with some gray in their hair. By 50-something, one should have developed good ‘people reading’ skills and have heightened emotional intelligence. This gives a person an ability to listen well and respond appropriately, two critical factors in sales and client-service success.” Here are 8 careers that 50-somethings and retirees could thrive in:
1. Career coach. Amy Logan, director of public relations at the Coaches Training Institute, says that those over age 50 are ideal candidates for jobs as career or executive coaches. “Some of the most successful life and executive coaches are over 50 and have already had other careers from which they draw business experience,” Logan says. She furthers, “Their age works to their advantage because they are more likely to be perceived as wise and trustworthy, essential qualities for a coach.”
2. Medical assistant. The healthcare industry has thrived in recent years, with over 14 million jobs as of 2008 and an expected 3 million increase by 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Medical assistants, specifically, are one of the most robust positions in the health care industry. The Bureau expects total employment for medical assistants to increase 34% by 2018.
3. Assisted-living facility professional. At assisted-living facilities, elderly residents don’t need round-the-clock medical monitoring like they would in a nursing home, but often require more attention than they would receive at home alone. An assisted-living facility professional is there to help with residents’ daily activities or to provide aide with medications, outings, etc. This position is well-suited to a person over 50, partially because senior citizens may prefer to be assisted by someone whose age reflects experience. Amira Ruben, spokeswoman for Atria Senior Living, claims that “America’s aging population has created a demand for these jobs, which are a good fit for people over age 50.” She adds, “At Atria, the 50-plus employee makes up about 35% of our workforce.”
4. Tour guide. A career as a tour guide is a fun and unique way to earn extra money after retirement. It allows you to see more of the world and communicate with others on a regular basis. Jacquie Whitt, co-founder and director of United States operations for Adios Adventure Travel in South America, says, “The travel industry offers lots of options to those of us who have experience traveling and who can handle the pressure and the expectations of today’s travelers.”
5. Private investigator. While this may fall into the category of “fantasy jobs,” it differs from others in that it is actually possible to find work in this field. Jim Tielebein, a private investigator in Independence, Iowa says, “Life experience prior to this career has been very helpful, [and allows me to] leverage life experience, critical thinking and writing ability to a better-than-average rate of pay.”
6. Sustainability coordinator. A sustainability coordinator helps businesses develop and implement initiatives that are environmentally conscious. Steve Langerud, executive coach, says, “Many professionals have broad project-management experience including facilities and operations. By adding content knowledge in green and sustainable practices, they are well-positioned to help a broad range of organizations and businesses take strides into developing intentional sustainability initiatives. People over 50 have the experience, credibility and sensibilities to navigate this role.”
7. Ghostwriter. If you’re a creative person and want to get paid for it, there are opportunities in the world of writing for you. Ghostwriting allows you to the opportunity to earn a nice living and often gives you more freedom than a position in an office environment. According to MSN Money, “A casual perusal of autobiographies at any bookstore will turn up dozens of books that have been written by people other than those whose names appear on the spines.”
8. Home care assistant. Along the same lines as assisted-living facilities professionals, home care assistants are in high demand and are better-suited for those over age 50 because elderly patients may trust them with their well-being more than a younger assistant. “Many retirees today who want to find more satisfaction in contributing to society are finding great satisfaction and enjoyment in private-duty home care. Whether someone wants to own a nonmedical agency or simply work a few hours a week, the opportunities are there,” said Angil Tarach-Ritchey, owner and director of the Visiting Angels private-duty home-care agency in Michigan.
Turning 50 doesn’t mean you have to be stuck in a career you don’t enjoy or in positions you are significantly over-qualified for. If you’d like advice on searching for a new career path, and the financial implications that result, give us a call. We’d be happy to talk with you and help in any way we can.