Seasons of a Career

According to the AARP, millions of Americans are still working after age 70, with many doing so even past 80 and 90.  Some choose to work because they enjoy it, while many simply need the money to survive and maintain.  But most of the jobs and hours that this age group is working are different at this stage than earlier in their lives.

There are seasons of employment in one’s career.  Several occupations like commercial airline pilots have mandatory retirement ages which make it simpler for a person in this role to know when they’ll need to transition to something else.  But most people don’t get this information when they start a career.  Some will pay attention to the signs when they know it is time to move on and proactively seek out other opportunities.  Others unfortunately find out the news more harshly when their employer terminates their employment.Below are three suggestions of ways to help you adjust to the changing of the seasons during your career.

  1. Have a plan– There is a saying that “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  To get the most out of your career, you must be intentional and strategic throughout it.  This is especially true as you experience transition points, both voluntary and involuntary.  To do so means being regularly connected to people and reading good books and other materials.  It is important to hear and read others’ ideas and then spend time thinking how these could apply to your own life.  Circumstances will always change, so it is important to review your plan and make necessary adjustments, too.
  2. Take care of your finances– Making wise career choices is easier to do when you’re demonstrating good personal financial principles in your life.  This includes saving money, avoiding personal debt, and investing for your future.  Those who make a habit of doing these things are able to make different decisions throughout their career than someone under constant financial pressure.  For      further thoughts on finances and employment, check out this link from an earlier entry.
  3. Seek out others’ examples- When the times comes in your career to change seasons, it usually means doing something different altogether than what you’ve been used to.  Deciding what is next, though, for most can be a real challenge.  For instance, a construction worker may reach a point where they no longer can handle the physical demands of a job and need to seek out something less taxing on their body.  This is when it is important to talk with others who are a little farther down the road of life and find out what type of successful options they were able to transition to.  The key here is to look forward, not back.  Also, it may take several different conversations and/or meetings before finding the right suitable option for you, so try to remain patient without getting discouraged.

It is important to recognize that there are seasons in your career and be willing to make the necessary adjustments throughout it.  By practicing the above suggestions, you can put yourself in a situation to choose whether you wish to work later in life rather than having to.  Those who are proactive in doing so will also find more fulfillment and be on their way to successfully blending their occupation and vocation.

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