One thing is clear: being fiftyish is not a time to slow up on career planning, rather it is a time to give it a specific focus. Given that you work, and are likely to go on working, in a dynamic environment.
You have to actively plan and take action to stay secure and move ahead (and ultimately on into retirement). The word development, both in its general sense, and in its “training” sense is a key task here; and yes, it is a task. As Alvin Toffler, the futurologist, said, “The illiterate of the twenty first century will not be those that cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”.
That said, remember development, while the initiative for some of it may come from the organisation, ultimately stands or falls on what you do. Therefore the attitude you take to it, and the action you take, dictate whether or not it will help you perform as you wish and achieve what you want now and in the future. The following does not attempt to be comprehensive, rather it encapsulates under a neat ten headings key things that can help you make a success of what you do in development.
The idea is to make sure that you:
- Stay well-equipped for your current job
- Acquire new skills that changes or progress beyond that job make necessary (and into retirement too)
- Do so in the context of continuing to make progress and fitting with your longer term aspirations (which might include a significant change in your work).
Note: everything here is apt to get less attention as one gets older and there is a need to recognise that looking ahead say ten years now is radically different from what it may have been in the past.
Here are 10 steps to make sure your stay career-fit:
- Resolve to be a regular “self-developer”
- Analyse and set clear objectives
- Make and use a plan
- Create sufficient time
- Learn from experience
- Learn from others
- Spot opportunities
- Utilise a mix of methods
- Monitor progress
- Aim high and be positive