Am I Too Old To Get A Job?
So this week I’ve been musing. House move finished, we are all now ensconced in Barari 2.0. It’s been a slog but I love a project. But as the last boxes are unpacked and the last vestiges of bubble wrap are being cleared away, I’m already looking for the next gig. This is a pattern that repeats often. I’m wondering – Am I too old to get a job?
I thought I was lucky to be able to quit work when the kids were born. At that time work was a bit of a nightmare. Stressful, and no balance. The temptation to escape was tempting, even to a world of nappies and sleepless nights. I still managed to start, grow and sell a business of my own when they were young. Supported my husband with free consulting while he built another business. But having a child on my hip and a phone to my ear made me personally feel I wasn’t doing either well!
Three children and lots of projects kept me more than occupied for the next few years and although there followed many many exciting endeavours that were fulfilling and often very profitable , the kids are now grown up and I want a bit more.
Are we still Relevant?
The trouble is, it makes no difference if you were CEO of NASA, as a woman, often you take considerable time out of the workplace and you become commercially irrelevant very quickly. Then not contributing, can quickly turn into inequality, then inadequacy? Worse do you become vulnerable? I hear you all crying NO! You brought up the family, shaped the kids, created the foundation, the support structure, but sometimes it’s not enough. I want to earn a wage again. Be relied on again, now the kids don’t need me so much. I need to feel I have value outside of the home.
It frustrates me that there is such an un-mined rich seam of skills and experience in women our age. We have had careers, impressive ones. We have been leaders and motivators of teams, and then through our kids we learn patience, perseverance, nurturing, development , we certainly know what hard work is, and oh so much multi tasking!! But when our children fly the nest there’s a space left that society has yet to really capitalise on.
I once left a job where my last project had deliverables in excess in $20m. My customer, hard nosed executives from Boeing. The project involved an actual satellite being launched (I kid you not!!) Then after my children ( my best work by the way), I applied for a part time job as a nursery receptionist. My rejection letter hurt. No experience as a receptionist. True – but really?
A Different Direction
My paid work has always been analytical, structured, consulting, budgets, spreadsheets and plans. And these skills come in very handy running homes and kids and finances. But my right brain ( or is it left?) is screaming for creativity and after a sabbatical as long as mine, I’m not sure where that leads. Nowhere obvious that’s for sure. I would be no longer qualified for the the things I was qualified for, let alone the things that I’m not!
But that’s another thing!! …..you don’t have to be expert, and award winning in any one thing to just do it. Some of us have more natural talent for things we aren’t accredited in, than some who have qualifications but less natural talent.
So I’m advocating just do it – If you enjoy writing – write, if you enjoy painting -paint, if you enjoy decorating – decorate. Some of the most enjoyable things I’ve done have not been perfect. The colourful abstract I painted that sits on my wall is more colour than skill but I finished it and I remember every wonderful minute of creating it. I lost time doing that painting. The epitome of joy is being lost on a project. The same with every house I’ve decorated. I’m blogging, and Instagramming ( is that a verb?) I’m scratching every emotional itch I’ve ever had – even knitting. I might not get a salary, but when we put our mind to it we can do anything….
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