In this episode, Marc invites listeners to take the 2018 Repurpose Your Career Survey, to help him make this podcast better with your feedback. He invites you to join pre-release readers of the new edition of Repurpose Your Career to read chapters of the book, give feedback, and review the book on Amazon when it is released. Marc reads Chapter 1 of the new edition.
[1:12] Marc welcomes you to Episode 104 of the Repurpose Your Career podcast.
[1:25] CareerPivot.com brings you this podcast. CareerPivot.com is one of the very few websites dedicated to those of us in the second half of life in our careers. Take a moment to check out the blog and other resources that are delivered to you, free of charge.
[1:43] If you are enjoying this podcast, Marc asks you to share it with like-minded souls. Please subscribe on CareerPivot.com, iTunes, Google Play and the Google Podcasts app, Podbean, Overcast app, TuneIn, Spotify app, or Stitcher. Share it on social media, or just tell your neighbors and colleagues.
[2:05] Marc has released the 2018 Repurpose Your Career Podcast Survey. Marc thanks listeners who have already taken the survey. Last year, there were about 30 responses. Marc is hoping for 60 to 100 responses this year, with his larger audience.
[2:22] To improve the show, Marc needs to know something about you — how you listen to the show; if you read the show notes; what kinds of episodes are your favorites.
[2:34] Marc asks if you would kindly go to CareerPivot.com/podcast-survey (where you will be redirected to SurveyMonkey) to take the survey. Marc will publish the results in a couple of months. Marc thanks you in advance for doing this survey for the podcast.
[2:57] The Repurpose Your Career podcast will skip a week for Thanksgiving. There will be no podcast next week, to give some folks — including Marc — a break. The following week, Marc will be interviewing Susan Joyce of Job-Hunt.org fame.
[3:20] Job-Hunt.org and Susan have been helping people find jobs since 1998. Marc and Susan will discuss the differences between a reactive and a proactive job search.
[3:36] This week, Marc starts the promotion of the next edition of Repurpose Your Career, with a planned release date in the first half of 2019. Marc has been working on the next edition with Susan Lahey, and he will be looking for your help. Marc is forming a release team of readers to read pre-release chapters of the book to provide feedback.
[4:00] You can be part of this pre-release team by going to CareerPivot.com/RYCTeam, where you can sign up. When you sign up, you’ll receive pre-release versions of the chapter Marc is reading today, and additional chapters when they become available.
[4:22] Marc asks in return that you provide feedback and be prepared to write an Amazon.com book review when the book is released. Marc is not asking you to write a five-star review but your honest review.
[4:40] Marc begins reading the opening chapter of the next edition of Repurpose Your Career.
[4:48] Finally, we’re at full employment. Unemployment rates are below 4%. Everybody who wants a job, has one, right? Not exactly! That’s what most of the data says, but the data seems to be leaving something out.
[5:10] According to the AARP Public Policies Employment Data Digest, most people over 55 who want to be employed are. In fact, the unemployment rate for this age group was only 3% as of April 2018.
[5:25] Unemployment numbers are based on how many civilians not employed by an institution, are either working or looking for work. Marc goes to a fair number of jobs clubs for job seekers. The faces he sees there tend to be — well, old. Some of that is because these people are part of the long-term unemployed.
[5:49] Being unemployed for more than 26 weeks is a real drag on your health and can make you look old. And 22% of unemployed people have been unemployed that long, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). But more than a third of long-term unemployed are over 55.
[6:09] In Austin (where I live part of the time), the unemployment rate is under 3% — unless you happen to be over 50. If you’re over 50, it’s higher than 12%.
[6:21] In 2015, The Atlantic published the article “Where not to be Old and Jobless,” which listed Austin as the number four worst place to be old and unemployed, behind San Jose, Cal., El Paso, Tex., and New Haven, Conn.
[6:39] Research by AARP shows that there’s a real danger that unemployed people over 50 — especially women — could become impoverished. So the organization has funded a program at Austin Community College, called Back to Work 50+. It’s a great thing that AARP has funded this program; if we’re at full employment, why is it needed?
[7:04] Why are so many people in this age group unsuccessfully looking for work? The statistics they collected don’t include retired people, by the way. While I do know some people who have successfully retired before age 65, most of them are government employees or they retired because either their health or their spouse’s health was poor.
[7:30] I know people who gave up looking and just started taking Social Security early. 40% of the people who initiate Social Security do so at age 62. Only 7% wait to take Social Security until the maximum age of 70. This is a real problem. If you take Social Security before your full retirement, you lose a lot.
[8:02] If you were born in 1960 and take retirement at 62, you lose 30%. If you were born in 1960 and wait and take your full benefit until 70, you gain 24%. Some people take benefits early and work, too. If you’re doing that and you are under full retirement age for the full year, you lose $1 in benefits for every $2 you earn over the annual limit.
[8:33] In 2018, the limit is $17,040. So if you earn $40,000, They’ll take $11,480 out of your retirement benefits. Things have to be pretty rough if you’re willing to lose that much money for the rest of your life.
[8:51] Why are so many people over 55 unemployed and looking, compared to the rest of the population? Is it ageism? Is it they don’t have skills for today’s workplace? Or something else? The answer is: Yes.
[9:09] Ageism is thriving in places like Austin, where the economy revolves around tech startups. If your skills are up-to-date, you have a solid work history, you’re physically fit, you dress like you know what year it is, you’re not looking or acting old, except for some wrinkles and gray hair, and they don’t hire you, that’s age discrimination.
[9:42] I have lots of examples from the CareerPivot Online Community where the members have acquired skills in the latest programming technologies and data science, and still can’t get hiring managers to speak to them.
[9:55] Hiring managers don’t want to invest in the careers of people in the second half of life. The reasoning is, they don’t have enough career runway. Considering that most people change jobs every four-and-a-half years, should they be worried about career runway?
[10:13] When we are at full employment, should we be worried about having enough career runway? That is an example of ageism.
[10:23] However, ageism isn’t always the culprit. If you let yourself and your skills go, it’s something different. A lot of older people try to get by without learning new skills, hoping to coast toward retirement. But in this rapidly-changing environment of creative destruction, their career track may evaporate long before they’re ready to retire.
[10:46] In such cases, your experience may not help you get the next job. Think of it like trading in a car. When I traded in my 2003 Honda Element, it didn’t have GPS or Bluetooth. It didn’t have heated seats or any kind of hybrid engine. Plus, it had some wear and tear. It looked like a car that had been on some road trips.
[11:10] The dealership offered me a lower price than they charged me for my new car. They discriminated against my Honda Element! If you’re acting like an old curmudgeon, if you’re griping about learning new-fangled technologies, or about the behavior of Millennials, you’re keeping yourself out of the workforce.
[11:31] There is no question that we have a skills mismatch in the market. We are seeing creative destruction accelerate through so many industries, eliminating positions of people who’ve honed their skills over decades. I’ve had clients whose whole career worlds disappear in under five years.
[11:52] Keeping your skills up is crucial but it's not enough to keep you employed. You need to be creative. You need to be agile. You need to be ready to reinvent yourself after a few years to match what the market needs. Forget about cruise control It’s time to get a manual transmission and learn how to use it.
[12:16] Marti Konstant, author of Activate Your Agile Career: How Responding to Change Will Inspire Your Life's Work, said it best. “Adapt or be left behind.” You can plan for a future that will be significantly different from today or be left behind. It’s your choice.
[12:39] Many of us want or need to work into our 70s. Working in our 70s will not look like working in our 50s. It will, most likely, be a combination of different types of jobs. You’re looking at multiple part-time jobs; starting a side gig; finding different ways to make money. Many of us don’t think like that. We were raised to be employees.
[13:04] We believed that finding a job was the quickest, surest way to security. We’d get in there and stay until we got our gold watch. Today, that ain’t happening! For one thing, it’s tough to get anyone to hire someone in their 60s. Beyond that, these days, even companies can’t promise they’ll be around in five years! Your employer won’t save you.
[13:29] You have to get creative. More and more people prefer the self-service options to dealing with a human. And more and more jobs can be done by technology. Among the professions the BLS predicts are on the way out are respiratory therapy techs, computer operators, legal secretaries, and everybody at the Post Office.
[14:11] Among the things we can now do on our smartphones: banking, sending messages, watching videos, making videos, learning languages, listening to music, scheduling, budgeting, shopping, booking a hotel, booking a flight, finding a date, joining a meeting, getting directions, paying for things — and that’s just for starters.
[14:35] Because many of these menial tasks have been taken off the table, what remains is often more meaningful. ‘Meaning’ is a key guide to finding your happy place when it comes to ‘work.’ Whatever path you take might disappear in the future, so don’t get hung up on the path. You have to think in terms of constant evolution.
[14:59] Several members of the CareerPivot Online Community have taken bold actions to get ready for ‘change.’ One is Mike Martin, a drone pilot instructor, whose story you will learn about later in this book. When Mike started his journey, there was no such thing as drone pilot instructor.
[15:18] Camille Knight is a logical creative. She grew up as a dancer and singer. Her first degree was in music and then she went back and got a degree in business. She worked in HR; got spit out of Whole Foods; and reinvented herself as a business analyst.
[15:35] She discovered Tableau software that lets her build beautiful dashboards that tell stories. For the first time in her life, she gets to marry both sides of her brain.
[15:47] I had a client who said he wanted to be a data scientist and I said, “No, you want to go into a manufacturing site and do scrap analysis.” It’s not enough, just to have a skill; you have to find a company’s pain point; you have to solve a problem.
[16:04] We are at an inflection point. You can no longer acquire a skill and be fitted into a job. Things change too fast. If you want to keep on being relevant, you must adapt to the speed of change. You have to find tasks and skills that are meaningful to you and adaptable to new technologies and cultural paradigms — or be left behind.
[16:30] Be the mentor you want to see in the world. Betty White said Facebook wouldn’t do her any good in terms of helping her to reconnect with old friends; “At my age, if I want to reconnect with old friends, I need a Ouija board.”
[16:47] We used to have mentors who could tell us what to do. Chances are, those mentors are retired. There are no coattails for us to ride anymore at this stage. We are the coattails. Much of our network may be gone. We have to forge the path, ourselves. Part of that is taking up the mantle and becoming mentors to younger people.
[17:09] Millennials and the generation behind them want mentors. They want help to know how they’re doing. As one Millennial wrote in The Muse, they’ve been conditioned to seek feedback and advice. So, yeah, they want that in their careers, preferably from someone who won’t tell them that they’re entitled, lazy snowflakes.
[17:35] In turn, they can help you tap into areas of the work world that might seem foreign to you. In fact, like the fact that there’s a publication called The Muse or, about how to use Instagram to grow your business.
[17:52] I know one freelance writer who meets with her mentees frequently for happy hour. Her mentees have introduced her to new markets and gotten her work in places where she would never have thought to have looked.
[18:06] In turn, she helps them with strategies for dealing with difficult clients, insights, networking, tactics for time management, and reassurance that being an adult isn’t so scary.
[18:17] We’ve entered a new dimension when it comes to ‘work.’ It’s more focused on developing yourself, ongoing, than on sliding into the position as a cog. The idea of getting old, tired, and set in your ways is a recipe for obsolescence. And that’s a good thing.
[18:36] Scientists have found if we treat our brain right, our brains can learn and adapt, right up to death. Now, we just have to rethink the second half of life to stay vibrant, connected, and contributing. This should be fun!
[18:53] Marc hopes you enjoyed this episode. The world is changing and it’s your responsibility to change with it if you want to stay relevant.
[19:04] To get a PDF version of this chapter and to be on the review team, to help Marc with this book, please go to CareerPivot.com/RYCteam to sign up. Marc and Susan will be adding about eight chapters to the book and rewriting several others.
[19:25] Marc will release a new chapter on the podcast and to the review team every four to six weeks in the coming months. Marc is considering starting a private Facebook group to discuss this effort.
[19:46] Please go to CareerPivot.com/podcast-survey and take the 2018 Repurpose Your Career podcast survey on SurveyMonkey.com. (Marc thanks the listeners who have already taken the survey.) Marc needs to know something about you so he can improve this podcast for you.
[20:01] How do you listen to the show? The big question is if you read the Show Notes! (Marc is finding that more than half the listeners taking the survey read the Show Notes.) What kinds of episodes are your favorite? Marc will publish the results of the survey in several months.
[20:29] Marc invites you to pick up a copy of Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for the 2nd half of Life, and when you complete reading the book, Marc would appreciate your writing an honest review on Amazon.com. The audio version is available on iTunes, Audible, and Amazon.
[20:52] Marc’s plan for the next edition of the book is to release the print, ebook and Audible versions of it at the same time.
[21:03] The CareerPivot.com/Community website has become a valuable resource for almost 50 members who are participating in the Beta phase of this project. Marc hopes to exit the Beta phase in the middle of 2019. It is growing slowly. Remember, you are not alone.
[21:17] Marc is soliciting members for the next cohort of the CareerPivot.com Online Community. For information, please go to CareerPivot.com/Community. Those in the initial cohorts in the Beta phase get to set the direction for this endeavor. Every two to three months, Marc holds a mastermind group that discusses what to do next.
[30:16] Check back in two weeks (after the Thanksgiving break), when Marc will interview Susan Joyce of Job-Hunt.org fame to discuss the difference between a reactive and a proactive job search.