Do Mature Job-seekers Need Career Planning?


N.C. writes:
I read with considerable interest your article on
Developing a Strategic Vision for
Your Career Plan
. After reading it 3 or 4 times I have some points for clarification and
will be obliged if you can please clarify them for me.

  1. Are career plans related to the age of the individual? For example I am close to
    50 and our organization has a policy of retirement at age 58. I am presently
    in the middle level of management. I have a master’s degree besides
    professional banking certification. What could be my vision for my career plan for next
    5 years and is there any possibility of long-term career planning at this juncture?
  2. Given the increasing trend of employers to go for younger persons what
    could be the opportunities within and outside the organization for a person who is close to 50 now?


The Career Doctor responds:
First thanks for taking the time to read one of my articles. I think career planning is
vital — at any age — because without a plan job-seekers are like a boat without a rudder.
Career-planning is all about taking a step back from the daily grind of your job and developing
a vision of where you see your career progressing over the next 5 to 10 years.
Planning doesn’t guarantee you will achieve all you set out to accomplish — and you may
even change your plans one or more times over that time period — but what planning does
guarantee is that you will have a better foundation for understanding what direction you want
to move toward. I like to think of career planning as building bridges to your future.
And I think for mid-level managers and executives who are reaching or past 50 career
planning is an even more vital exercise. You still have plenty of work years left — if you so
choose — but it’s at this time in our lives where we want to have more control over what is
most likely the final phases of our careers.
Career experts don’t know what to expect over the next 10 to 20 years. Yes our society is
most certainly youth-oriented but don’t forget that we have this amazingly large cohort — the
baby boomers — who have reshaped everything over their lives…and most experts expect they
will reshape how we view and value older workers as well as redefine the meaning of retirement.
So take a break from your work. Over a long weekend or a few vacation or personal days
step back and spend some time envisioning where you want your career to go next. Then put
that vision on paper adding action steps to lead you to that new vision. Begin to use develop
and strengthen your network to help you achieve that vision.
Here are some other great career
and job-search tools for job-seekers 50 and older
.