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Baby Boomers and Job Change – The First Step Can Be the Toughest

February 5, 2018

Susan is 54 years old – and she’s a little scared. After twenty plus years in her job she finds herself looking at new employment options.  She hadn’t planned on this.

But she’s not alone. Susan is one of the Baby Boomers, part of that post-World War II generation of newborns between 1946 and 1964, one of the offspring of a nation swelling with prosperity when she came on the scene.  

The plentiful jobs that once typified this generation have slipped away – as have the lifetime employment contracts. The realities of a world economy and the fight for competitive advantage have created a perfect imperfect storm for many workers.  

The storm’s fall-out has been massive, especially for Boomers like Susan. I asked Tim Cole, CEO of The Compass Alliance and author of The Compass Solution: A Guide to Winning Your Career to speak to some of the challenges Boomers face when changing jobs 

If we know that many Baby Boomers recognize the need to make a job or career change, why are they reluctant to make the move?

In my experience, three common resistances stand out: 

  • Loyalty: “I don’t want to go – this company may have changed but it’s been good to me.”  
  • Fear: “I just don’t want to do it. I don’t know what’s out there.”  
  • Education and skill levels: “I’m not qualified to do anything else.” 

Some Boomers are finding jobs they lovehow and – maybe more important – why? 

It begins with Boomers asking themselves tough questions. Here are five career-changing questions that can help change “stagnant” thinking. 

  • What is that I want to do – that I am passionate about? 
  • Where are my skills and aptitudes best aligned?  
  • What do I want to be?   
  • How do I take on full accountability for the next chapter of my career – and what are the steps involved? 
  • What are my resources that will help me get there? 

Let’s say I still have a job, how do I actually get myself to the point that I go about finding a better place to work? 

For many years I’ve used what I call “The Career Divorce Ten” to offer guidance for those searching for answers to the question, “Should I move on?” Ask yourself:  

  • Am I happy here?
  • Are this company’s values aligned with mine? 
  • Am I passionate about what I do every day? 
  • Do my skill sets align with what I do? 
  • Is my role rewarding – and does it offer a future? 
  • What are my options internally – and have I explored them? 
  • Have I consulted with my mentors? 
  • What happens if I do nothing at all? 
  • What are my options outside the company? 
  • What happens if I leave? 

Reinvention requires – no, it demands! – the capacity to ask tough questions and the tenacity and strength of character required to answer them.  

Many Baby Boomers like Susan are.

Join Dana Manciagli’s Job Search Master Class right now and immediately access the most comprehensive job search system currently available!

Author's Bio

Thunderbird School of Global Management Alumna Dana Manciagli '84 is the author of "Cut the crap, Get a job". With her 'Career Mojo' column, Dana is the sole syndicated career columnist for the Business Journal nationwide. Her remarkable profile includes a career in global sales and marketing for Fortune 500 corporations like Microsoft, IBM, and Kodak. She has coached, interviewed and hired thousands of job seekers. This article was originally published on 
her website.

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