Forty-Something and Ready for More? Ask Madeleine

Dear Madeleine,

I am 43. Two and a half years ago I needed to get back into working after nine years as a stay-at-home mom. It was slim pickings out there, but I was finally able to secure a job with a local chain restaurant as a marketing person.

Today I feel I’ve outgrown the role—but I can’t say I’m a pro at any of the newer software out there or that I have much bullet point experience.

I’m stuck in a challenging position. As a single parent, I need to work mostly during school hours—preferably with flexibility to work from home. But because of my lack of experience, I find I’m looking at the same jobs as twenty-somethings.

I have a lot of energy and I am enthusiastic, but it seems Millennials are what employers are looking for these days. How do I present myself on paper and in person as a more desirable candidate?

Ready for More

Dear Ready for More,

So, disclaimer right up front, I am not a career counselor. But I do have some thoughts. It is interesting to me that you say Millennials are the desired employee when, frankly, all I hear is complaints about them. Let me be clear—I personally have no complaints about Millennials. However, it is my experience that a lot of employers would love to have a smart, hardworking person with some life experience and common sense on their team.

You seem to have a solid two and half years of marketing experience, so I’m not sure why you are downplaying that. And you say you are not a pro at any software—but I wonder what it would take for you to become an expert at some of the marketing software that folks are using.

The school hours and flexibility thing does add to the complexity, so I asked my BFF Google to help me with “jobs for stay-at-home moms with no experience,” and guess what? All kinds of interesting ideas.

Try one of these sites.

These are ideas I never would have come up with and they seem legit. Isn’t the internet a wonderful thing?

I also encourage you to think about what you really want for yourself, long term. Think about your dreams and values and move toward what lights you up. I would point you to a TED talk by my pal Laura Berman Fortgang. She wrote a book called Now What and nailed the formula for finding what you are meant to do, what will bring you joy, and who you can really be out in the world.

Finally, people are more likely to pay attention to job candidates who are recommended by folks they know. So I urge you to formulate some ideas of jobs you would be great at that might fit your flexibility needs, and then share your new goals with everyone you have ever met. Go on LinkedIn and Facebook and every other social media platform you might be using. You just never know where your break is going to come from, so the more you spread the opportunity for others to help you, the more help you will get. People absolutely love to help if they can, and they are tickled pink if a connection they make results in a win!

My last point is very important. In your letter I notice your main focus is on what you have going against you. I submit that it will be much more helpful to concentrate on all the things you have going for you.

I do hope career counselors in my audience will weigh on this!

Good luck,

Love, Madeleine

About the author

Madeleine Homan Blanchard is a master certified coach, author, speaker, and cofounder of Blanchard Coaching Services. Madeleine’s Advice for the Well Intentioned Manager is a regular Saturday feature for a very select group: well intentioned managers. Leadership is hard—and the more you care, the harder it gets. Join us here each week for insight, resources, and conversation.

Got a question for Madeleine? Email Madeleine and look for your response here next week!

One thought on “Forty-Something and Ready for More? Ask Madeleine

  1. Vundabar Madeleine. You might not be a career counselor but your advice was dead on. I especially loved the comment “share your new goals with everyone you have ever met.” I heard someone once say tell the grocery clerk, the mailman, etc. etc. You are so right – you never know where the break is going to come from.

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