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7 ways to keep your career up-to-date when you're 45 and up

We see every day at our firm that experienced professionals start new adventures. Did you know that people in their 60's are Britain's fastest growing group setting up new businesses? In the US, 23.4% of all new companies are created by 55-64 year olds.

How do you organize yourself effectively for the second half of your professional life? Here are seven practical ideas you can start today.
  1. Make sure you know yourself. That may sound simple,but it's really not that easy. In each of us there are many filters before we really get to the level where we begin to understand what gives us emotional satisfaction, and what actually drains our energy away. That's your base. Carefully build it up from here.

  2. Organize your sounding board. Get yourself into the habit of receiving lots of feedback, and above all; make sure to continue to receive feedback when you move up the ranks and you've become a big or small boss. Gather people around you that who are frank and direct with you...and cherish them!

  3. Invest your time to get inspired. (Re-)Discover the direction you want to go in with your life and with your career. As long as you don' t know where you're going, you can't really make a good choice. Prepare yourself, because people in your environment will make you all kinds of proposals. Sometimes in their own interest, but sometimes because they project onto you something they're interested in for themselves.

  4. When you're in between jobs, give yourself some distance! Don't make yourself crazy or let your environment make you crazy. There are so many other things that life has to offer other than work. Prepare yourself and wait a bit before you start interacting with headhunters.

  5. Plan your personal roadmap, but don't over analyze it. Find your balance between reflection and action. Talk to many people. They will give you ideas, information and opportunities that you can follow-up on. It is also a great way to expand your network. Networking is the most important and interesting channel to find new employment for 45-plus executives.

  6. Ensure proper financial planning. Revise your plan every five years. Actively involve your partner in the planning process and dare to invest in independent financial advice. Leave financial room in your plan for unforeseen circumstances, but don't overdo it. Make sure you don't create too many fixed costs. When you know that you can lower your expenses quickly, you are likely to make higher quality choices....choices that are not driven by money alone.

  7. Continue to invest in your professional and personal development. There are many interesting programs out there. Our experience is also that you give a strong signal to your network if you continue to invest your time and your own money. It's a win-win situation: it's good for you and it's good for your reputation.
Do you have some other great ideas for our network? Don't be shy and share them hereunder. You only get what you give.

Hope this inspires

Paul Donkers


+2 #2 Dirk Vd Wijngaert 2016-12-21 08:50
Hi Paul,thanks for the pragmatic summary - I imagine a large chunk of the over 55's are opting for entrepreneurship because other options are limited. But even then, it is the push in the back that some people need to become more creative, dynamic,committed. In other words find back some of the competencies mostly attributed to...younger managers. So is entrepreneurship late in the career a fountain of youth ?
+2 #1 Geert Roelens 2016-12-16 17:28
Hi Paul,

As a 61+ year old -previous CEO and now involved in two new start-ups of my own-, I can only testify that fresh ideas and sound reflection can lead to unexpected but powerfull ventures in one's life. I like your 7 hints a lot since they are authentic and simple to us. And do you have some hints for the 3rd period of one's life also, since we are all going to become at least 90+? thanks for the insights, Geert

By Paul Donkers

"my purpose is to help improve strategy execution, to create high performing teams and coach for effective business leaders"

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