The recent announcement of the American Express closing in North Carolina is devastating news. The call center employs about 1,900 full-time workers, at least two-thirds who will find themselves competing for jobs in an already tight North Carolina market.
My heart goes out to each of them, particularly the women over forty, many whom will find themselves making a career transition, for the first time since the call center began operations, more than 25 years ago.
Although you did not expect to greet the New Year with a job loss, I believe 2011 can still be your best year yet. I’ve come to recognize in my own life, that it’s been out of those times of extreme challenge, adversity, and despair that strength, resiliency, and profound change was born. Don’t let a crazy economy keep you from setting and achieving your goals, and don’t allow yourself to get stuck on the “age thing.”
While you may not have yet gotten the recognition you deserve, you are at the peak of your wisdom and knowledge. You bring value by way of skill and experience to any employer. And as my friend, Yana Berlin, of fabulous40.com says, “Women over forty should see themselves as very marketable. Age is just a number, and I can assure you, if I wanted to get a job right now I could walk into a company, if I’m qualified, and get the job.”
Dr. Helen Harkness, career coach and founder of Career Design Associates, says that “Career change often occurs when the pain of present circumstances exceeds the fear of change.” Harkness offers very sound and practical advice in her Four Step Model for Career Change.
- Self-Assessment. Who am I? What can I do?
- Career exploration. Where can I do it? What’s out there?
- Future Direction – How do I see myself? What do I really want?
- Strategic Action Plan – How do I get there? What are my options?
My advice is simple. Grieve and let go; refuse to internalize the disappointment, and embrace this as a wonderful time of new beginnings. Focus on constructing a new mid-life you, which aligns with your passion and purpose. Stay in faith, knowing that your true source lies within that spiritual force outside of you, and that you are safe and protected. Keep a clear vision for your future. You’ve spent many years manifesting the vision of another company, now it’s time to manifest a vision of your own. Successful companies have a vision, principles, and philosophy. It’s just as important to your success, to identify your personal principles and philosophy.
Success is what you define it to be. Here’s to a successful new you!