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Is it time for a career reinvention?

Posted by BJ Roche  February 5, 2013 12:14 PM

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I'm teaching my career prep course to graduating journalism majors again this spring, and, anecdotally, anyway, there seem to be more opportunities this year for seniors with the right mix of journalism and technical skills. In five weeks, we work our way through readings and exercises that help them determine their skills, values and goals for the--hopefully, anyway--50-year work life they have ahead of them.

Each year when I teach this class, I also take a look at the job scene for those of us at the other end of the demographic spectrum: people who (also, hopefully), have another ten, 15 or 20 years left in the workforce. If you believe this story, it doesn't look pretty for a lot of Fiftyshifters:

These Americans in their 50s and early 60s — those near retirement age who do not yet have access to Medicare and Social Security — have lost the most earnings power of any age group, with their household incomes 10 percent below what they made when the recovery began three years ago, according to Sentier Research, a data analysis company.

But really, when is it ever pretty? In some careers, like journalism, it's never been great. If you're looking to find a job or keep that career going, you have got to be constantly pro-active about technology, skills building and entrepreneurship. I'm seeing and hearing a lot of stories, particularly for women, about reinvention, rejuvenation and the career pivot. And that's a good thing. Here are a few resources.

Career Coach Kathy Caprino is a must-read expert on the midlife pivot; I've been following her for a few years now and watched her pivot from one career into a new life as a career consultant and blogger at She's one of the best. Here's her post on The Top Six Actions That Promote Career Success. She also has an e-news letter that always has some interesting material.

Two great companion pieces in this month's More Magazine address the need for midlifers to stay pro-active to stay employed. Lisa Mundy writes about steps you can take to stay employable.

And take a look at Kate Ashford's piece: 10 Ways to Get Your Job Skills In Shape.

Dorie Clarke, who lost her reporting job after 9/11, and later worked as a press secretary for then-Labor Secretary Robert Reich, knows all about career reinvention: her new book, , Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future, published by Harvard Business Review, comes out in April.

This book can be invaluable if you're ready to take a hard look at where and who you are, and make some changes, either for a new career, or to "rebrand" yourself within your company. Here's her chart of who can benefit from a bit of reinvention. As you'll see, it includes: Just. About. Everybody.

reinventiongrafic copy.jpg

In 11 chapters, Clarke walks you through the process, beginning with a self-evaluation, including, as your starting point, doing your own "360 review" by talking to your "focus group," people who you know and work with, about how they perceive you on the job.

Now this is not a quick and easy process. And it can be scary stuff. But it's not half as scary as being unemployed. And it can be the first step to something better.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

BJ Roche is a writer and teacher who lives in Western Massachusetts. She’s a senior lecturer in the Journalism Program at UMass Amherst, where she teaches writing, new media and More »

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