4 Lies we need to stop telling ourselves about our careers as we age

No matter what your age, the reality is that you will be working well into your 50s and beyond. Here in Australia, the age at which you can receive the age pension is changing to 67 years, in 2023.

With so much negativity about being an experienced worker in some organisations, is it any wonder your self confidence may take a hit.

I am proud to say that I am in my 50s, delighted of my achievements and excited to see what achievements are in my future.

It hasn’t always been like this. I have had self doubts about how I will be perceived as I age, do I look too old, are people still going to see me as relevant. I still have my days of self doubt about the future however I focus my attention on what might be.

Based on my experience so far, here are 4 lies we need to stop telling ourselves about our careers as we age:

Lie 1: Once you turn 50 your career is over

This is greatest lie of them all. Your career will not be over once you turn 50. It will probably change, and new directions might emerge, but your career will not be over.

Don’t sell yourself short, your career will be what ever you want it to be.

Your career aspirations will change over time. I believe it is important to be realistic about your career aspirations and that it should fit into what you require – not what others think you should do.

Lie 2 – Your employer will continue to invest in your development

My observation is that most employers stop investing in people’s skill development as they age. The focus is usually on younger members of the team. This situation can lead to frustration and de-motivation at work, leading to the spiral into the vortex of despair.

While this situation is disappointing, making your skill development a priority will ensure that your skills are aligned with your future.

It is important that you take control of your development and not assume that your employer has your best interests in mind.

Things to consider are:

  • When was the last time you assessed your skills and identified any gaps?
  • Invest time in developing a personalised skills development plan and actually dedicate time to building your skills
  • I like Linkedin Learning, it’s a great way to identify key skills and develop them.

Lie 3 – Career change is not possible after 50

It is possible to change careers after age 50. In changing careers it is important to be realistic about what you are proposing to change and how you plan to do it.

I like the small incremental approach however the big and bold is achievable, if that fits in with your life.

Lie 4: Your career ambition will expire 

Your goals and dreams for your career will not suddenly cease to exist once you turn 50. Rather they will shift to fit your life requirements.

As you age you may choose to seek more enriching roles rather than climbing the corporate ladder.

I believe it is important to think positively about our careers as we age. Your career is probably going to look different than today and it is important to be ready for whatever that change will look like.