Updated: Aug 17, 2021
(originally published on Forbes through Ellevate Network)
By: Judy Schoenberg and Linda Lautenberg
While the country slowly reopens, the she-cession is still very alive and well. Millions of women have fallen out of the workforce in the past year. Others have stayed in at an enormous cost to their wellbeing - juggling caretaking responsibilities for children or aging parents, sharing workspace with partners, and holding everyone together.
At the same time, our work with women in midlife at EvolveMe shows that this time also offers an opportunity. A period to reset and realign work with who you are now and who you want to become on the other side of the health crisis.
Do one or more of these situations resonate with you now?
Have you been in the same role or industry too long and want a next chapter?
Are you ready to head back to the paid workforce after a break?
Furloughed, laid off?
Emerging from a life transition such as divorce or a health crisis?
Are you a new empty nester, wondering what’s next for you?
Or part of the sandwich generation with children and aging parents?
You may be wondering if it’s really possible to make a change as you approach 50 and beyond. Time and again in our work with women who are transitioning careers in midlife, we hear these fears:
Is it too late?
What do I have to offer?
Will I be perceived as unable to keep up with the latest technology?
What’s the shortest route to get beyond these thoughts that are holding you back? Turn your inner voice into an inner champion and give yourself credit for all you’ve achieved by midlife!
EvolveMe’s co-founder Linda Lautenberg is in the running for the Forbes 50 Over 50 list for women who’ve achieved significant success later in life as part of the "Know Your Value" initiative. We’re role modeling by celebrating ALL the wins — big and small and everything in between.
The 50 Over 50 nomination received so much attention. Thousands of women viewed the post in social media and hundreds took time to comment and share:
"You give hope and direction to so many and you exemplify your very own model!"
"This is excellent and I’m in the same demographic club!"
"Congrats to the nominees! I’m 61 and proud of it!"
"Congrats! So nice to see women with decades of wisdom and experience be recognized!"
Contrast these sentiments with the fearful thoughts at the beginning of this article. This is what happens when women see what’s possible through examples of women just like them.
Here’s a recipe for jumpstarting any type of career change at 50 and beyond.
1) Share your wins (all - big and small!) with others.
You’re talented and you’re motivated. Let’s face it. You’ve got accomplishments you’re not putting out there. What’s missing is owning and showing your value!
One thing is clear: To stand out in an innovative way, you need to start with yourself. If sharing your accomplishments is hard for you, think about how many women will benefit from hearing your story and let that motivate you.
2) Inspire others with your role modeling.
If you want to bypass ageism, sharing your story is your most powerful PR strategy as a career changer in midlife. When you share your career story - how you got to where you are and why you want to make a change - you inspire others to do the same.
There’s a ripple effect that happens — and soon it becomes normalized for women in midlife to be seen and heard for what they bring to table.
3) See the positive energy come right back to you.
When you speak with passion and heart about a new career direction, others will want to know more. They’ll ask questions and connect you with those who can help you.
Of course, you may occasionally encounter people who question your change — don’t take that energy in!
4) Rinse and repeat!
Consistency is everything. Make it a routine to speak about what you care about. Many women never make a career change because they fear failure. One of the ways to get around the fear of failure is by taking action. Fear can paralyze you and drain your confidence.
Once you start taking action on a routine basis — even in the smallest ways — it will become a habit to share your new ideas. Think about what that looks like for you and make it habit to use your voice to show the world what makes you unique!
We know women in midlife often feel invisible. We’re over 50 million strong and a force to be reckoned with. You don’t have to go at this alone!
You’re more than a moment — you’re a movement.