Starting Over Again and Again

Image by: Photo Mix

Pamela Chan, Editorial/

I once came across an interesting excerpt from the Anti 9 – 5 Guide related to how to identify your dream job.   Here are the questions the author suggests you should ask yourself:

1. What’s on your nightstand? What books and magazines you’re reading can be pretty telling about what turns your crank.

2. Out of all your friends’ jobs, which one are you most jealous of? Why?

3. What’s the one thing you’ve been talking about doing forever that your friends are sick of hearing about?

4. What’s the one off-the-wall, pie-in-the-sky job you’ve always wanted to try that no one knows about?

5. If you could start any business or organization, or sell any service or ware, what would it be?

6. If you could work anywhere in the world, in any country or organization, where would it be? Doing what?

7. If “debt,” “years,” and “practical” weren’t words in your vocabulary, what would you be doing now — besides sipping margaritas on your own tropical island?

Reading the reviews of the book, I noted with interest the following comment:

“The book is most appropriate for women early in their careers who have not invested much time or energy on a serious career path. Her recommendations for freelancing, temping, part-time work, and lots of career exploration speak to a woman who has not yet found her calling. How-to sections on networking, deciding about additional schooling, resume preparation, and information interviewing are most appropriate for the younger worker still figuring out her career path.”

I have to agree with the author of this comment.  By the time I was well launched into adulthood and my career, I just didn’t want to be doing yet another entry level and low pay temp position that was completely unrelated to my career goals. I also didn’t want to hear yet again that I should start “from the bottom” and work my way up. Again?

When my twins were babies, and while I was finishing my maternity leave, I learned that my management position job had been terminated due to the development of a new business plan.  While I was on leave, the Director in my division retired and a new administration team came in.  By this I mean a new Director, new ideas, a new Associate Director position and a new plan.  I am not revealing anything sensitive here.  These are the bare facts of the matter.    As a Gen Xer who has put in her time in various jobs, completed an advanced graduate degree, and garnered support and approval for my job performance and capabilities, it was an awkward time in my career to be starting over.  All the more concerning was that it was the point in time when researchers find that women start to lose their jobs or have difficulty being hired due to ageism. At the time that I received the news, I was advised by one experienced employee to consider re-entering the workforce in the University where I worked as a temporary employee and try out different departments.  The suggestion was that I could make some headway into entering another permanent job that way.  At the same time, I had started to complete exercises with a Human Resources company that would help me to refine my job searching skills and update my resume. My former employers paid for this package as part of my dismissal.

While I was updating my LinkedIn profile, I came across a resume of someone I know who was a few years younger than me.  The resume was peppered with job titles such as Director, and job titles were followed by strong descriptors.  I felt crest-fallen.  Here I had worked so hard to get ahead, and I was starting from scratch AGAIN.  I say again because this wasn’t the first time I’d been told to take a clerical job and work from the bottom.  In total, I’ve been presented with this option four times in my career. As the commentator on Amazon suggested, I was not at the  point in my career when I should be temping and working in part-time work.  The time for that type of exercise was in my early 30s and 20s.  I was at a time when my career should be hitting its stride.

Most parents in urban BC cannot afford to have a spouse at home who is not working.  The cost of living – especially maintaining a home – is simply too high.  Losing your job and struggling to re-enter the workforce can be a catastrophic event. There must be many other women across Canada and North America who have been in the same position as me. Women who were also forced to quit their jobs after maternity leave or who were terminated.  How do they start new careers with young children at home? How do they cope with ageism creeping into their job hunting experience? What’s their Plan B when they apply for positions for which they have the experience and qualifications required but never receive an invite to an interview?

Image:  AARP

Are the seven tips in the career guide relevant to women who are approaching 40 and beyond? While some women do use these moments to launch a new business or career, this option is not available to many women.  Should they take on temporary and part-time work in order to rebuild their career for the 4th, 5th or more time?  How CAN women keep the momentum going in their career when they keep being sent back to the Start Again position?

It’s important that women talk about their experiences.  Do these concerns sound familiar to you? You can comment about this posting on the Facebook page. Your contribution matters so don’t be shy!


5 Ageist Phrases to Be Aware Of

At age 40, women start to experience ageism in the hiring process. So mentally read this article title as Why Women Over 40 Can’t Find Jobs.