Host: Anti-Aging Psychologist Dr. Michael Brickey
Guest: Dr. Beth Ross
Broadcast and podcast on webtalkradio.net. The podcast is also on the links below
As Betty Davis said in All About Eve, “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.” Unemployment rates are approaching 10% and you can hear the fear in a lot of conversations. But the very nature of change invariably creates new opportunities. Employers who are reluctant to hire full-time employees often seek free lancers, consultants, and part-timers to get the work done. Creative job seekers are using bridge jobs to get their foot in the door, gain new experience, and build a resume. Career Coach and Executive Search expert Dr. Beth Ross emphasizes creative approaches to dealing with a topsy turvy job market.
In his new book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell, the author of Blink and of Tipping Point, analyzes what determines what people have extraordinarily successful careers. While IQ helps, after about 130 it doesn’t matter. One factor is what he calls the 10,000 hour rule-that it takes about 10,000 hours of study in a cognitively complex field to master it. That may sound intimidating but it is only 40 hours a week for five years-not much longer than it takes to get a college degree.
With longer and longer lifespans and better health at older ages, it become quite feasible for people in their 50s, 60s, or 70s to learn a new professions and perform it at a mastery level for many years. Of course, some jobs require college degrees or certifications. But some primarily require experience – hence the concept of bridge jobs for changing careers – either to escape burnout and seek more interesting work, or because one’s niche is becoming as obsolete as drying up and like VCRs and 8-track tapes.
Gladwell points out another factor, being in the right place at the right time. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs got in on the ground floor of the computer industry. Few of us are going to be that successful or famous, but the same principle applies-and fortunately with a shorter time frame. When Beth Ross talked about researching what jobs are hot, she was talking about opportunity timing.
Let me give a concrete example. There are more nursing homes than there are McDonald’s restaurants and each one has an administrator. What does it take to be a nursing home administrator? You need business management skills, HR skills, and some knowledge of gerontology and healthcare. What are the credentialing requirements? While it varies from state to state, typically you need a college degree, five courses-nursing home administration, healthcare financial management, legal issues in healthcare, gerontology, and personnel management. Your probably also need a supervised internship. You could get a bridge job in a nursing home, such as an admissions coordinator, and take course part-time. Or you could go to school full time for a semester or two and seek the job. The average salary is $90,000. While we hope the Eden revolutions change nursing homes into more home like, resident-centered facilities where people would want to live, with 1.6 nursing home patients and almost a million assisted living residents in the US, there are a lot of jobs and the aging population is going to expand the demand.
In our interview, Dr. Ross talked about the importance of talking with everyone. People considering a career change to a job like nursing home administrator, would want to talk with everyone they know who knows anything about nursing homes. They should visit nursing homes, learn about the field, and then decide if it is a good move. I’m not pushing that job but I thought a concrete example would help.
As for career coaching, I’ll restate my rule of thumb, that while always helpful, career counseling is most critical when reinventing a career, taking a creative or uncharted course, honing resume and interview skills, or when getting a job soon is critical.
Career Coach Dr. Beth Ross does career counseling, executive coaching, coaching on nitty-gritty issues like interviewing, resume writing, and salary negotiation, and is a professional speaker. She is based in New York City but also does a lot of work with Silicon Valley near San Francisco. Her website is www.BethRoss.com. Dr. Brickey’s websites include DrBrickey.com and Anti-Aging-Speaker.com. One particularly good resource for job information and job trends is the Occupational Outlook Handbook at http://www.bls.gov/oco/www.bls.gov and in the reference section of almost every library.