Three of my good friends – just over 50 – are unemployed. Two are Ivy-league graduates who, at different times in their career, had what would generally be considered top jobs for their age range in corporate America. The other is in sales and has had a more mercurial career, some big successes and some challenges.
My Ivy-league buddies had not been out of work, one ever, and the other sometime in the early 2000s (pre-financial crash). Since I am their friend and not their career counselor, I did not lecture them – although in retrospect maybe I should have – about the necessity to redefine their views on work structures.
Both assumed that they would easily land full time jobs with benefits in short order. Neither did. And, then they called me for career counseling advice. I explained that the work landscape has shifted. Accepting some contract work – essentially try outs for a job – might make sense. Starting a consultancy to land clients, as opposed to one client (job), might make sense. Working part time for a couple of companies might make sense. Neither had even considered those options.
My other friend – in sales – was similarly perplexed but in a different way. He wanted a large base salary, far larger than what I have observed most salesmen get these days. He had turned down jobs that had low bases but had potential for a high upside based on performance. I understood his reluctance. But he had to open his mind.
Many of our over 50 clients at Career Counseling Connecticut are faced with the same issues. While my most enjoyable work is guiding young adults to careers that would make them happy and successful, my most rewarding work is quite often helping those my age.