Back to Your Future After 50

Back to the Future day photo courtesy of Back to the Future II

This post is in honor of Job Action Day, which tackles the after-50 career.

In Back to the Future II, Doc Brown and Marty McFly took their DeLorean time machine to October 21, 2015. Thirty years ago, filmmakers took some giant leaps as to what would be happening this year. Some predictions almost happened, like Cubs in the World Series (they made the playoffs) and Rocky (there’s a new Rocky – and it’s Creed) and some didn’t, like faxes and the Jaws 19 sequel.

What does this mean for your career after 50?

After 50, my clients look at careers differently. Is their current profession (or former one) meaningful? Do they enjoy what they are doing? What might a new career look like? Do they have what it takes to make the leap? You do, it may look differently.

“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” – Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown

New Career Direction:

While you may not need a road for your new career, you’ll want a focused career direction and a map to get there. What you wanted to be when you grew up may not be what you want now. Plus, new careers are constantly being invented. Thirty years ago, social media, blogs, and smartphones didn’t exist. How can you apply your current skills and expertise to a new field? When working with clients in career change mode, one of the action items I recommend is to make a list of your talents and check out onetcenter.org’s “My Next Move” to see careers you can explore that use those talents, skills, and abilities.

Find Meaningful Work:

According to one study, Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) are delaying retirement. While there was not a Rocky 19, Rocky Balboa (aka Sylvester Stallone, 69), is still going strong. Instead of being the fighter this time around, he serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed in this year’s movie, “Creed.”

Review the list of talents, skills, and abilities you created and identify nonprofits that may benefit from those skills. Or use them to see who and how you could mentor a younger employee.

One of my clients, a finance executive, left his financial career to explore his two passions, golf and nonprofit. He wanted to give back. He landed an Executive Director role with a nonprofit organization that benefits youth through the game of golf.

Create Your Own Business:

Doc Brown was not only an inventor of things, but a “re-inventor” of himself. With each Back to the Future movie, you see the Doc using whatever tools are available to create opportunities for him and Marty to escape perils and change the future for the greater good.

One of my clients, a training and development professional, retired from one gig and created her own consulting firm dedicated to transforming leaders and creating cohesive teams – the work she enjoys doing most. She also wrote a book about her experience.

Update Your Personal Brand:

Throughout the Back to the Future trilogy, Doc and Marty have to quickly adapt to whatever year it is – the future as well as the past.

One of my clients at 50+ took a risk. After being downsized, she decided to target a career and work environment she really wanted. Her “nothing is holding me back” attitude and willingness to do what it takes, helped her reach her goal.

She said, “I thought these dreams might have been way, way too big —but they’re happening! (Washington) DC called me…. Thank you for all the work and coaching. I truly appreciate the guidance and would recommend the sessions we had. YES, YES, YES, I just keep smiling.” A year later, my client was promoted.

One of the things she likes most about her new gig is that they appreciate and value older workers. Many employers do. Use your personal brand to attract right-fit employers.

Good use of social media is another way to boost your personal brand. When 86% of people Google you before ever meeting you, a strong online presence is important. And LinkedIn typically lands on page one of that search.

If you’re already on LinkedIn, take a look at your profile. Does it reflect your current brand, skills, employment, and goals? If not, it’s time to update.

Revive Your Network:

While social media didn’t exist at the time the Back to the Future series, offline networking, like Doc and Marty collaborating, did.

Networking is the No. 1 way people land new gigs, new clients, and new business. Take the time to list all the people you know in your network, including former coworkers, colleagues, friends, family, George McFly, etc. Who needs to know about you?

Does asking for help with your new adventure feel uncomfortable? It’s OK. You’ve survived many life events by now, you will again. Each time I ask my clients in workshops or coaching sessions how they feel when they help others, they use words like: wonderful, good, happy. Won’t it be great to have your network feel this way when they get a chance to help you?

Marty McFly: Doc… what if we don’t succeed?

Doc: We *must* succeed.

You will succeed when you get back to your future and take control of your career. Won’t it be great to love Mondays?

Copyright 2015 | Wendy Terwelp | All rights reserved.

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