Protect Your Paycheck
Don't despair, counsels Barbara Reinhold, career coach for Monster.com and author of Toxic Work (Plume, $12.95). The U.S. economy needs more trained mature professionals than ever, but it's up to you to keep your job skills tuned to the times.
"We can't afford for people to stop working," Reinhold points out. "Even if it takes an older person slightly longer to learn something than a Gen-Xer, the older worker makes up for it with a stronger work ethic, mature judgment and management skills." Case in point: When call centers employ older, more professional workers, customer satisfaction skyrockets.
Your job is to figure out what you need to learn. If you work for a large or midsize organization, meet with your manager or human resources to discuss a training program that would enhance your career and increase your value to the employer. Depending on the job, you may need new computer skills, training in project management or fine-tuning of people management practices.
Whether you work for a company or for yourself, you should read professional and trade journals and magazines in your field to pick up new developments. And be sure to attend conferences at least once a year, Reinhold adds.