September 17, 2012 at 4:52 PM

Re-careering: Finding and Selling Yourself in a New Field

Finding a new career that satisfies...

By Patty Armstrong

Where’s My Great Career?

Patty Armstrong is a career counselor and educator on a mission to help people of all ages find careers they enjoy.

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In 1998, I left the field of social work and entered the new field of job and career counseling. I became part of what many Baby Boomers have been doing and entered what is only now being called an “Encore Career.” I got there from unemployment through the gentle encouragement of a Department of Labor job club counselor, who saw from my resume and discussions in job club that I would be well-suited to the field. My first job, which I only left to come to New Mexico, was helping inner-city high school students, many of whom were refugees with limited English skills, discover career options and find employment.

Shortly after starting that job, my mother’s national company shut down. She informally became my first re-careering client. As a “dislocated worker”, she was not only eligible for unemployment benefits, but funds for retraining as well. In short, I helped her get back to the teaching career she’d been forced to abandon 14 years before with a brief, ESL teacher course.

Over the past six years – even before the Economic Crash – I’ve been helping more and more men and women in their 40s, 50s, 60s and even 70s who have retired, quit, been fired or laid off or are just bored with their current career, explore options for new and more satisfying careers. And most of them have eventually found an exciting new direction.

Many have gone to college for the first time for a certificate or degree – or they have finally completed a degree after abandoning college years before. Others have found their education, training and experience are sufficiently transferrable – as I did – into a related, but new field that is different enough to be freshly stimulating. Others need more time and exploration, using career interest assessments, brainstorming sessions, research and experimenting to find what is just right. But, with persistence, they are also finding a new career that satisfies.

I am working on developing a new web page of resources in this area. But for now I have two, new and excellent websites to recommend; www.encore.careers.org and www.nextavenue.org. Check them out and see if they just might stimulate the development your own encore career!

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