Debilitating chronic illness can lead to twisting career turns to accommodate waxing and waning symptoms. Sometimes it means “reinventing yourself” to be able to keep working in some capacity.
That was my story. After 25 years of working in multimedia (photographer, producer, production company v.p. sales , public school communications teacher and college professor), I threw in the towel when I became too sick to work at any full time job.
When I wanted to return to work after a few years, I realized it had to be different. I couldn’t find work that could accommodate my health in my former career – not the early 1990’s at least. So at age 43, I set out to develop a new career. I knew I had a wealth of experience that I could draw on — even if I didn’t have a clue what that meant.
But now you don’t have to do it all yourself. Here’s one site that’s devoted to this very idea: Encore Careers. In a recent newsletter, Marci Alboher offers 5 Online Resources for Encore Career Seekers. Although the suggestions focus on “retired” folks, you can learn a lot from reading this information. Adapt it to your situation and ‘mine’ the gold that’s there.
Check out the site because there’s lots of good information. It targets older workers who want to or need to find new career options. But think about the issues that an older, unemployed worker faces: skills no longer relevant, negative stereotypes, employment gaps. Do you see some overlap?
Let’s face it. Chronic illness is not a ‘hot button’ issue’. But, as boomers age in an increasingly difficult job market, the older worker is going to become more vocal. We might as well jump on and share the band wagon.