Now that I’m well into my 40’s I know the benefits of maturity. With over forty years on the planet there are many experiences I’ve had, responsibilities and roles I’ve held and projects, big and small, in work and outside I’ve tackled and completed. I hate to call it a midlife crisis but I see many proven executives abandon ship. Triggers happen and sometimes its immediate. A death of a loved one, a financial obstacle and escalating pressures to perform. Sometimes it comes at the end of what has been a stable career. Perhaps you’ve had years of going above and beyond and now you put that expectation on yourself in your role/company by habit and there’s no release. Your health has started to suffer. The organisation’s culture no longer matches your own and you can’t see any light or the organisation’s new management is setting a new course which no longer resonates with your ideals.
Maybe you’re seeing the benefits of Gen Y’s perennial shifts to and from different employers in different roles and you want some of this diversity rather than the humdrum existence you have had for many years.
Whatever the cause, the over 40’s are opting out of stable careers at a frenetic pace.
With skin in the game you will often seek to approach the most experienced recruiter or hiring manager to seek an audience for your skills and a potential place within the organisation.
I often hold court with such executives. What really, really gets up my goat is the executive that knows it all and, no matter what the job (in fact they could look at our entire job list), they say “That job….I can do that”.
Now, I don’t dismiss them carte blanche – although the temptation is there. I dig deeper into the requirements and responsibilities of the role in question and ask their knowledge or experience in this area. Often I find their ability to undertake the fundamental of the role/s falls over in a heart beat.
Often executives, who want a greater degree of work-life balance start to look for roles where they still are challenged but not under the pressure they may have been under in their previous roles. Good for them. But often these well meaning executives do not stop and perform an actual skills audit of what they can and can’t do. Executives may have been across a number of divisions of a company, it often means they have achieved with their direct subordinate delivering capably in a certain specialisation. This doesn’t mean the executive is capable in that specialisation, in fact they can be far from it.
So when you go for an interview my three biggest tips are:
- Research the role and what it entails and ask yourself, do I ernestly understand this role and its requirements. Executives fail in going for roles as they often assume, from a helicopter view, they know the ins and outs of a position when comparatively an SME in that space would run rings around them.
- Hear feedback from hiring managers and careers counsellors and take it on board. I give alot of probono feedback to jobseekers based on a depth of experience in recruitment, roles in organisations and typical pathways. My last interaction with a mature jobseeker around “Possibly you could go in this direction…” was met with “No, that’s not for me”…”Well good luck with being unemployed” (what I really wanted to say). Careers Counsellors, Hiring Managers often have a pedigree in knowing who matches with what…listen to them.
- Get over your ego. If you are carrying this air of “I’ve run the show” and you are going for a lower role, unless you show you can work collaboratively with a team and SUPPORT your manager you will never get the gig. Simple fact.
I have worked with some wonderful, delightful mature job seekers and I love helping reignite careers for those whose careers have gone off track or just gone stale. However, before you say “I don’t know why I didn’t get that job…I could’ve done that” be mindful that the work population is a capable group of human beings and sometimes, actually alot of the time, there will be someone better than you, more ideal for the position at hand. If you really want to go in a certain direction, learn how, tap into a Careers Specialist and respectfully seek ways to set your new pathway for career success.
Article written by Director of Harvest Human Resources and at times, frustrated Careers Counsellor, Maree Herath.