THE FORTY-SOMETHING WOMAN AT WORK
Career woman? Working mom? Going back to work? Starting your own business? These are all possible scenarios for a woman in her 40s. Whatever the case, the professional landscape for a woman at 40 and above is very particular. It offers an ideal balance of knowledge, maturity, and energy hard to resist.
The career woman in her 40s
She might be married and have kids, but the top priority has always been her job and the satisfaction she gets from it. In her forties, this woman has been ‘in the game’ already for two decades, so she has accumulated that wealth of experience that has probably already made her already an A-lister in her job. She still has the energy and dynamism that is required to climb higher, combined with the know-how on how to achieve it.
Career women usually reach their income peak at this stage. They might make more money in the years until retirement, but the increases will come at smaller leaps – more adjustments to the cost of living than huge salary increases.
This presents a challenge in itself. Women like this can be labeled as being ‘too expensive’ and, if they have not reached the top managerial positions, are usually the easier targets for layoffs or replacements with 'cheaper' younger candidates.
The trick is to prove your uniqueness, and make yourself indispensable!
Many business women decide to take the plunge and work independently or open a small business in their forties. Fortunately, there are many useful tools and resources that make running your own business a breeze.
Thinking about starting your own business? Read more about the woman entrepreneur here.
The working mom
Probably the most common of all labels on a forty-something: the woman who has a family and a job. The juggler by excellence!
It can sometimes be overwhelming to balance kids and work. In many instances, the working mom feels as if she is a failure on both fronts: not a good enough mom and not a good enough worker. She wants to do it all with the kids while succeeding in her career. She goes through her days wishing she could quit her job and stay with the children, but, truth is, she would feel totally unsatisfied leaving her work altogether.
There is no need for that. Fortunately, there are more and more employers willing to accommodate the needs of the working mom these days: childcare at the office, teleworking, and part-time working are just a few examples.
If your employer does not offer any of these benefits maybe it’s time to have a chat with him or look into other options.
Going back to work in your forties
Your kids are all grown up and went away to start their lives on their own. You spent your life looking after them and all this new free time is driving you crazy. You are in your forties and have started considering going back to work.
Is it easy?
If you have not worked for the past 20 years, your skills, whatever these are, are bound to be a bit rusty, so doing a course to refresh them might be a good idea. Think of an online course that might be quicker and also less expensive.
Tell all your friends and people you know that you are looking for work. It will be easier to join a familiar environment than throw yourself into a totally new place.
When you go for interviews make sure your prospective employer knows your salary expectations. Older job prospects are usually wrongly tagged as 'more expensive' because it’s assumed that they have many years of experience in the workforce.
You might not have much experience in the workplace, but certainly have other experiences and assets that you should emphasize. Think of your organizational skills, punctuality, hard work, speed, commitment and eager desire to learn!