Your relatively brief period of unemployment has been an eternity. After an extensive and significant career, you became a statistic: an older worker displaced as a result of this latest and deepest recession. The art of mastering the online job search (“Old dog learns new trick”), the debilitating process of interviewing, and the resultant rejections have wounded your pride, to say nothing of your self-assurance. Now, you have accepted an offer of employment, in which you are forced to return to the non-managerial responsibilities you had held eight years ago. You bite your tongue, give thanks for your good fortune as your peers are still job-hunting, enter your new office environs and feel like an alien who has just dropped in from the stratosphere.
Without standing out like a sore thumb, you must not only integrate into this new workforce, you must convince your new employer that you are an extremely valuable asset (i.e.: recession-proof). On this tightrope, you find yourself without a balancing pole … until now. As career professionals and counselors with more than thirty years of experience, we urge you take the following words to heart, for they will guide you well as you negotiate that high wire.
Cultivate a fresh perspective. While it may be tempting to turn your mind to the good old days in the office, the lab, or the production facility, don’t, as it is self-defeating. If your learning curve involves, for example, a software application completely new and foreign to you, avoid quipping, “Gee, I remember when we did this all manually!” Such remarks will only brand you as an “old timer” in a cutthroat work force that loves new blood. Instead, when you return home that evening and for the rest of that work week, spend an hour or so on your PC or Mac where, uninterrupted and unobserved by your colleagues and superiors, you can research a bit more about the software’s features, capabilities, and glitches. The confidence and knowledge with which you approach the software will show in your attitude and output.
Please stay tuned for Part Two of our series for more beneficial tips, which we will publish shortly.