Job-Hunting Tips for the Older Manager / Executive


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Are you an over-50, unemployed executive or manager? Been looking for a new job or career for a long time? Frustrated? Think it’s hopeless?

Finding a new job or career, at any age, is NOT hopeless. But it does demand knowledge, exposure to employment possibilities, and a positive attitude, especially as we grow older. It means that “Yes!, ” not “No, ” must be the operative word, the word that propels us toward what we really want to do (even when we’re not quite sure what that is).

The Challenge of Fear

Perhaps the greatest obstacle to all in the job market is fear. We fear that we will fail to find a new job or career, or that if we do, we will fail at it, not make enough money, get dead-ended, be unhappy, go backward in our career, etc.

The trouble is that such fears can hold us back. In his wonderful best-seller Who Moved My Cheese?, Spencer Johnson, M. D. , set forth a few simple rules that apply to most everything we do in life, including finding a job or career. It’s the allegorical tale of two mice (Sniff and Scurry) and two “littlepeople” (Hem and Haw) who are as small as mice, but think like humans. All four happily inhabit a maze, living off their store of Cheese, which they found years and years ago. But one day things change: someone moves their Cheese.

The two mice react instinctively. They enter the maze and start looking for New Cheese. But Hem and Haw behave much as humans do when faced with change: they procrastinate. Either hoping that their Cheese would somehow be restored or fearing that things might get worse if they leave the security of what they know to look for something better, they dither, hoping that somehow their Cheese will be restored. Eventually Haw realizes that he has to take action or die. Hem, however, refuses to budge, even as he wastes away.

So where Hem says, “No, it’s hopeless!”, Haw says “Yes!” and, driven by hunger and a vision of how much he will enjoy New Cheese when he finds it, controls his fears and moves out into the maze. Eventually (of course!), he finds a huge store of New Cheese, already being enjoyed by Sniff and Scurry, who found it long ago. As importantly, Haw learns a few things during his quest; for example, that our “Cheese” [job, career, marriage, etc. ] can disappear at any time and we must be prepared to look for something to replace it as soon as possible. As Johnson says in his introduction, “… we all share something in common: a need to find our way in the maze [of life] and succeed in changing times. ”

“Now what?”

In essence, Dr. Johnson is saying that doing something is better than doing nothing. But taking action is only the first step. Activity, after all, is not the same thing as productivity. To set out is good, yes, but to set out blindly is not. So the articles that follow this one set forth ways that job hunters, especially those who are older, can find their way through the “maze” more quickly and with better results.

The first in the series—“The Bridge Job: A Means to an End”—studies alternatives such as Consulting, Contract Employment, and Part-time Positions. Other articles coming soon include “Navigating Recruiter Alley, ” “The Research Highway: Road to Success, ” and “Networking Nexus: More Exposure, More Leads. ”

About the Author: Pierre G. Daunic, Ph. D. , CCM, is a Senior Services Consultant with R. L. Stevens & Associates.

About the Company: One of the nation's most successful privately-held career marketing firm for over 25 years, R.L.Stevens & Associates, Inc . specializes in professionally-run executive career searches to generate quality interviews through both advertised and unadvertised channels.


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