Following up from my article – Mid Life Career Challenges – Caring for Aging and Elderly parents with Chronic and Terminal Medical Conditions, I thought I would provide readers with some practical career planning hints, tips and strategies.
Whether you have been the primary or secondary support structure for your loved one for a short or extended period of time getting back into the workforce can be tricky; often there are issues in and around self-confidence, worth, relevancy, outdated education, training and experiences not to mention finances.
The following 5 Key Points are designed to provide you with food for thought and a platform to explore or launch career options and pathways when you decide the time is right to re-enter the workforce.
1st Key Point – Your Mindset
From my perspective the first thing that needs to be addressed is your mindset. That is, if you tell yourself that you are not worthy, valuable or that you are antiquated you will start to belief this and project it out consciously or subconsciously to the world. Thus, the question I frequently ask my clients is if you have such a negative opinion of yourself why on earth would anyone disagree with you after all you know yourself better than anyone else. So my 1st key point is to make sure that you have a positive mindset and project this out to the world – regardless of your circumstances, or at the very start working on a positive mindset.
NB: There are heaps of free resources on Youtube and the internet to get you started or visit your local library for books and media on same.
2nd Key Point – Objectively Review Your Background
As part of the career planning process it is important that you objectively review your personal, professional and educational background, regardless of how old information and experiences are there is valuable information and insights to be gathered from this process, which in turn will help you establish meaningful baselines, goals and potentially assist you in securing Recognised Prior Learnings (RPL’s) if you re seeking to undertake further studies.
3rd Key Point – Analysing Skills – Competencies
Whether you held down a full time, part time or casual job or committed yourself to the full time care of your loved one there are skills that you have developed and refined as a result of your experiences. Off the top of my head, in relation to full time caring, skills that you have most likely developed include but are not limited to: –
- Active Listening
- Communication and Interpersonal
- Critical Thinking
- Decision Making
- People Management
- Problem Solving
- Relationship Management
- Time Management
4th Key Point – Investigating Career Pathways and Options
Utilising the information, you have gathered from point 2 and 3 it is now possible for you to utilise these findings to identify industries, career pathways and options that would benefit from your unique baselines and skills set.
Some example of industries and occupations that may benefit from the skills set outlined in Key Point 3 include but are not limited to: –
- Aging and Disability
- Community and Welfare Workers
- Counselling and Psychology
- Emergency Services i.e. Paramedics
- Medical, Health and Allied Health
- Social Work
- Training and Development
Finally, with reference to this point, whilst you may not wish to undertake the role of a paid “Carer” role after you have cared for your loved one – remember there are opportunities to enter a wide range of industries and occupations as a result of your caring experiences and skills; it is just a matter of whether you want to use these skills moving forward or not. Also, it is important to realise that as our population ages there will continue to be a strong need for health, medical, allied health, social and community services in our society and thus harnessing your skills and experiences now may provide you with a solid foundation from which you can launch and catapult a career – do not discount your experiences and skills that you have learnt as a result of your caring experiences.
5th Key Point – Education, Training and Finance
Education and Training requires a financial commitment and many individuals I speak to are concerned with the investment (time and money); however remember there are educational loan schemes available i.e. Fee Help that will enable you to commence and complete a qualification without paying for the course whilst studying; that is you will only start repaying the loan after you start making in excess of $55K pa.
Remember, that whilst Education and Training may be frightening for a number of reasons e.g. it has number of years since you last studied and you feel you may be out of touch, it provides a solid foundation from which new career pathways and opportunities will open for you so investigate this option and see if it is right for you before you dismiss it straight away but make sure that any study or training that you undertake provides you with a positive return on investment.
Go out confidently and explore what the world of study, training and work can offer you.
Author: Katherine J Foster – Career Development Specialist and Counsellor – 11th April 2018
About Author: – Katherine is the Founder of Blu Ripples a specialist Career Counselling and Consulting practice located in Port Stephens NSW. Katherine is a nationally registered Career Development Specialist and Counsellor; is a Professional Member of the Career Development Association of Australia, Member of the Australian Counselling Association of Australia and Australian Association for Psychological Type. Katherine has worked in private practice since 2003 and prior to that worked in the corporate sector for a period of 12 years predominantly in Human Resources and Administration.