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Career Advisor - Ken Zaborniak

Jobboom Career Zone interview with Ken

Losing a job when you're 50 years old: is it too late to bounce back?

Not at all. You have lot bounce but not necessarily back to where you were before. A lot depends on the nature of your work. For professionals and skilled specialists 50 does not represent a barrier even in sectors like high tech which we tend to think of as young cultures. Unfortunately in some pressure sales positions in some sectors an image of youthful good-looks is an unofficial corporate preference. It’s not fair but that is the reality. I have had senior executives in their 60s experience age discrimination and some of these clients have had to refocus on other roles , consulting for example , where gray hair is a perceived asset rather than a liability.

What steps do you need to take immediately after losing your job?

Typically a job loss invokes a strong grief response. It is for many of us a traumatic loss and strong emotional reactions like anger and depression typically must take their course. Having experienced this personally I can tell you that all I wanted to do was stay in bed, pull the sheets over my head, and stay there till the storm blew over. Obviously this type of behaviour is not going to get you out of the ditch. You can help yourself move more quickly through the angst by talking to a supportive positive friend or career counselor. Winners acknowledge the problem and live in the solution. Losers continue to live in the problem. Take the perspective that this is an opportunity to take stock, to focus on “where have I been, where am I now and where am I going”.

What are some tips to get back in the game?
How do you deal with the blow to your self esteem?

Take stock. Review your own asset value – education & qualifications, skills and aptitudes. Review your values and define what you really need to enjoy quality in your life. It’s not about just money and status for most of us. Formulate a vision for yourself so you can see yourself in your mind’s eye doing it, whatever it is, and being successful and happy at it. This will be of tremendous help in directing your focus and energy.

List your strengths and briefly describe 2 or 3 situations illustrating these strengths in action with successful outcomes. This will anchor you in your own strength, boosting your self esteem, as well as providing compelling examples to incorporate in your résumés and to present in your interviews.
Search the internet for a decent résumé format and get busy. Bookmark jobsites and visit them regularly. Research potential employers who have work that you want, and approach them directly. Remember that that most people remain in a given job for only about 3 yrs. That means that 1/3 of the jobs are up for grabs every year.

After a promotion, I became the boss of a colleague I consider my friend. How should I deal with this change in our relationship?

Assuming you are both mature individuals and want to continue the friendship I would sit down and discuss the new relationship. You will have to “contract” new rules of engagement for the workplace. It is better to make these clear before the fact rather than try to salvage hurt feelings later. This will require frankness and honesty on both sides.

What are some cardinal rules that need to be implemented?
Can the friendship be maintained?
How can I deal with any issues of jealousy?

Preempt personal issues/problems by using the above approach.

I've got loads of stuff to do at work, but I must stay at home because my kid has the flu... again. How should I deal with the guilt I feel and with my boss' or my colleagues' reactions?
How can I convey this need for a leave of absence in a professional manner?
Is working from home an adequate solution?
If so, what steps can I take to make this a productive work day?

I would begin by explaining my personal situation and my need for time off. I would at the same time express my understanding of the additional stress this might place on my boss and colleagues. I would have suggestions for how my work can be taken care of while reducing negative impact on productivity. Working at home might be a viable alternative. Perhaps putting in extra time /effort later might help alleviate the situation. I would try to problem solve and develop solutions with my boss. Most bosses have families of their own and will be sympathetic as long as the situation does not become abusive to the employer by running to excess. Some employers support job sharing and work at home policies. You might check these out if this is a continuing situation.



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