Too old to start over again?
I’m 50 years old and I just lost my job as a machine operator in a textile factory because of company restructuring. I want to change my career. Is it possible? Who can help me?
This is the answer from Joane Lepage, an orientation counsellor who coordinates, notably, occupation-transfer committee activities to help people who have lost their jobs re-enter the labour market:
Whenever there is a collective lay-off in Quebec, an occupational-transfer committee to help dismissed workers can be created. First, see if that is the case in your company. The committee is made up of professional orientation counsellors and career management consellors whose goal is to help you decide what you want to do and to help you look for employment. In most regions in Quebec, there are also non-profit employment organizations for workers over 50.
These organizations—often funded by and under mandates from Emploi-Québec—provide free career orientation and job search services and can help you find the training you need. For example, they can help you receive a secondary school equivalency certificate, a secondary school diploma or professional training. Even at 50, it’s still possible to get a diploma in vocational studies.
For your case in particular, there is a program in general building maintenance, which takes nine months to do and is a good fit for a person with your experience. Note that you can still receive employment insurance payments while undertaking career orientation, training and job search.
You last job helped you develop specific skills as a machine operator, particularly speed, mobility and dexterity, which can be transferred to a different field. These are qualities that should be highlighted to a future employer. Given the ageing population, employers who lack workers are changing their views and are more disposed to hiring workers over 50. Employers know that this age group represents reliable, available and experienced workers.
Vol. 7 no. 10
Before Leaving a Job
Tips on leaving with your dignity intact
You’ve got your box of personal belongings in your arms and are ready to leave your office for good. Psycho-sociologist Monique Soucy recommends a few things to do before stepping out the door.
Ask for a letter of recommendation
Request it as soon as possible. “It’s best to have the letter in hand before leaving the company,” explains Soucy. That way, you will have it when you begin your job search. However, it’s futile to ask for a letter of recommendation if you have been dismissed for incompetence. In any case, the boss would refuse.
Finish your work well
Are you required to finish your work week or day? Do your tasks well. Soucy explains, “the employee is paid to perform his or her work. It must be done as completely as possible.” In this way, you can keep your reputation.
Say goodbye to your colleagues
Thank colleagues with whom you have had a good professional relationship and ask them for their contact information. Let them know that they may receive calls for references.
Use criticism to fuel improvement
Welcome comments without trying to justify yourself, but don’t be too hard on yourself either. If you don’t agree with your employer’s verdict, simply respond: “That’s your point of view, but I think I served the company well.” Use criticism to improve, or turn it around to your advantage. You are chided for spending too much time on details? Look for a job that requires meticulousness.
“After the initial shock, employees who have been let go often realize that they were unhappy at work,” states Clément Patenaude, industrial psychologist and President of Reso Innovac, a firm of experts in organizational strategy. Don’t become overwhelmed by anger or disappointment. Rather, consider losing your job as a positive step.
Losing your job is a chance to take a step back. “I tell my clients to write a list of what they want in a job, including the values they’re looking for and the skills they want to put to use,” explains Nathalie Martin, President of Enjeux Carrière, an agency specializing in career orientation. “This exercise helps them find a job that is a better fit and in which they can be happier, and thus more productive.” Do you like a friendly work environment? Look for a position in an SMB instead of a large company.
<h2>Toward a more fulfilling job</h2>
Losing a job can also be an opportunity to follow a dream that had been set aside, like changing your career or starting your own company. While analyzing the situation, you may realize that your interests have changed or evolved over the years. “A laid-off police officer who likes manual work decided to take a woodworking class,” recalls Josée Carrière, Director of Professional Services at the Centre d’orientation et de recherche d’emploi de l’Estrie. “Since then, he’s been very happy.”
Nathalie Martin uses this explanation: “If you try on a shoe that is too big, you don’t buy it. The same goes for a job.” After you’ve taken time to reflect, don’t accept the first position that you are offered. This is the moment to focus on finding a job that will truly be fulfilling.
<h2>Tips to remember</h2>
<li>Laid-off workers may feel hurt and anger. This is perfectly normal. “Get help from a professional, like a psychologist, who will help you get through this stage in your life,” suggests Nathalie Martin.</li>
<li>Do you have skills you want to develop, or do you want to change your career? “Consult a career orientation counsellor,” adds Martin. “They are trained to help you.”</li>
<em>(Source : www.jobboom.ca)</em>