Social Question

Jude's avatar

Any advice for someone who is starting a career later in life?

Asked by Jude (31980 points ) September 10th, 2009

A girlfriend of mine was a stay at home Mom for 12 years. Now that her bambinos are of school age and full-time, she decided that it was time to get a job. After high school, she went on to get a B.A. before getting married, so, she does some post secondary education.

If you were in a similar situation, how was it for you?

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15 Answers

Saturated_Brain's avatar

What exactly does she have a BA in?

If I were in her position, a teacher seems like the easiest thing to do (and as you say, she does do some post secondary education). Then again, I’d always go out to search for jobs if it ain’t fulfilling enough. But if my degree is somewhat ‘outdated’, I might just go to take another degree. It’s never too old to learn!

dpworkin's avatar

I’m right in the middle of trying. It’s scary. I’ll let you know. Right now I’m a Senior, then I need 2 years of Grad School, by which time I will be nearly 63. I hope I don’t encounter age discrimination.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

one good bit of advice I received was this. Stick your finger in a puddle of water and pull it back out. See that hole you made? That’s what you are worth to your employer. Never think that you cannot be replaced. A good work ethic is still the best thing you can bring to the table.

As soon as you start thinking you are God’s gift to your chosen field, you will live to regret it.

marinelife's avatar

Don’t look at yourself as having a disadvantage. Think instead about her maturity, her responsibility.

Workplaces are not magical places full of esoteric knowledge. Think of them as running a lot like a household, but on a larger scale.

hug_of_war's avatar

She needs to think about how to put being a stay at home mom in a positive light, because a lot of employers will see a 12 year gap in employment and throw your resume away. She does have a disadvantage, and she needs to put some thought into how to best field those questions she’ll get asked.

Teaching may be the obvious choice, but if her specialty is humanities/social sciences, depending on where she lives those jobs may be nigh impossible to get.

But she shouldn’t box herself in. If you tell us what her BA is in we can give better information.

Jude's avatar

She has a B.A., majoring in psychology. We went to school at the same time.

CMaz's avatar

My Mom started at the age of 49, a house wife most of her life. She worked hard stayed focused.
She is now 75, has been retired for some time now and has no worries.

It sounds like you will do great at any age!

hearkat's avatar

I agree with the suggestion of trying to find a position in the school system, so she has the same days off as the kids. With a BA in Psych, I can’t think of what she could do—she may need extra schooling first. She might want to consider Guidance Counselor or Teacher’s Aide for Special needs students.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

I second @hearkat‘s suggestion

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

@pdworkin: I have a relative who’s been reinventing his career/s for the past decade, going to school to get whatever he needs and he’s exactly your age. So far, if there’s been any age discrimination then it’s not been so much as to slow his progress in landing jobs.

Jeruba's avatar

My friend was 35 when she decided to switch careers from lucrative work as a technical writer to clinical psychology. She’s now in her first year of practice after grad school and certification and is very happy. My mother made a late start too and got her M.A. when she was 51, and she went on to teach for ten years at a university whose name you would probably know. My aunt finished her Ph.D. at 64. If that’s what your friend wants to do, it might not be easy, but it surely can be done. More power to her.

My advice is not for her but for you: be unfailingly supportive and encouraging. Believe in her and show your confidence in her. The rest is up to her.

Garebo's avatar

@pdworkin: that gives me inspiration-seriously.

Rozee's avatar

The goal of all educators is to develop life-long learners. It is a win-win situation; schools have life-long customers, learners have life-long ambitions.

It is certainly not an age-related situation when it comes to taking a different direction in life. Starting a new career, at least in the USA, is as natural as breathing and there has been no stigma attached for decades to re-entry to the job market or returning to eduational programs. For some of us it is a way of life.

At 21 I earned an AA degree, at 36 a BA, at 40 an MA, at 52 a teaching credential, and at 59 a doctorate degree. At no time was I ever the oldest person in my graduating class (nor the youngest). Not one of these degrees was easy for me, they all took a lot of time, money, and support from family and friends.

Zen's avatar

I like this question and have been along a similar path myself, changing careers and returning to school later in life (even later than your friend).

A degree in psychology is wonderful, and fits perfectly with someone who took this route in life. Her values are in check (family first), she is (I hope) relaxed and rip-raring to go after the time at home, yet more mature and wiser because of it: qualities one would want in that field.

I’ve seen therapists over the years. Can’t stand the young whippersnappers wet behind the ears who googled and copied and pasted their way to a degree. Gimme an old-time BA in psych and a few miles on a therapist anyday!

I propose that she enroll in an MA program and then start work as a therapist – if she is so inclined. More power to her!

tabbycat's avatar

I just wish her all the best in this difficult labor environment! I have two friends who got B.A.s and M.A.s in their fifties, and they are having a terrible time getting anyone to hire them. It’s sad! I admire them a lot for going back to school after so many years.

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