Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 29th 2014 Contents B2
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Baby boomers. They're the
generation born between 1946
and 1964. They came of age in
the early 70s and early 80s.
They're the generation that made
changes and waves, worked
harder and longer, put off mar-
riage and children, and did
things differently than previous
Whether because of financial
necessity or because they have
something to offer, baby boomers
are staying in the workforce longer.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
data and projections indicate that
by 2010 there should be 18.5 million
boomers ages 45 to 49 in the labour
force, as compared to 14.7 in 1995,
and 16.8 million versus 10.6 million
in the 50 to 54 age range.
They're still making changes.
They're retiring later, or not at all.
If not downsized or laid off, boomers
often continue to work. When they
don't choose to continue in the same
career, it doesn't mean they're ready
to stop contributing, and sometimes
they're making transitions to new
"On average there are three to five
career changes in a person's lifetime
and that's pretty common," says
Kevin Gaw, Director of Career Devel-
opment, University of Nevada, Reno.
"It's pretty common that a layoff
ends up being a great opportunity
for someone to find something that's
more suited to them, too."
But it can be challenging to a
baby boomer to be suddenly con-
fronted with a career change. They
were raised in a world where you
got your education, then got your
job, and while you may not have
stayed with the job until you retired,
you would probably stay in the
same profession. "It can be jarring
to realise you have to transfer your
skill set to another area," says Gaw.
In 2004, Gaw's office worked
with 208 alumni. Nearly 7.5 percent
were going through a career change,
three percent because of a forced
situation such as layoff or company
closure or relocation. The rest of
them just wanted to do something
different. When you're faced with
an important career shift, there are
things you can do to make it easier
on yourself and achieve a more
enjoyable, productive career change.
• Look at your skills. Determine
which are transferable to other
• Find your passion. What do
you love to do? "It's not about
the money," Gaw says. "The
money isn't what makes us
happy. What makes us happy
is doing something that's
meaningful to us."
• Look at reality. If you want to
be an astronaut but can't do
math, Gaw says, the reality is
it's unlikely. People need to
work through that disappoint-
ment and maybe change that
passion to a hobby rather than
• Determine whether you want
to make a radical career change
(say from legal secretary to
Web designer) or stay within
the same profession.
• If you like the company
you're with but feel the
need for change, see if
they can retain and
retrain you. If it comes
down to a complete
career change, there are
also some things you can
do to help create a whole
new career for yourself.
• Promote yourself rather
than your age. Once you
get into a position and
can show off your skills,
you'll be known for those
skills rather than your
• Start slow. Before investing
heavily in education, determine
if it's the right career path for
• Network. Many non-entry level
positions are found by references.
Join professional organizations in
the field you want to enter.
• Consider working for yourself.
A job market survey conducted in
2005 by global outplacement firm
Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.,
quoted on thematuremarket.com,
indicated that of 3000 job seekers,
13 percent chose to work for them-
selves, and 86.6 percent of them
were over 40.
Another option is to leverage your
experience and teach or train. Mov-
ing into training and coaching peo-
ple just entering the profession
you're leaving is a fairly informal
Whether making a career change
to a new profession or a new posi-
tion, Gaw says such changes are a
normal life pattern. "It's a good
thing to be open to change. The
challenge is recognising skill sets
and knowing how to capitalize on
them and present them to the new
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