Turn ageism to your advantage
Lots of Boomers, especially women over 60 are looking for ways keep working to earn extra income to supplement or even delay their retirement. Various studies paint a somewhat bleak picture of retirement readiness among the American seniors.
Unfortunately, age discrimination is all too real in today’s economy. Lots of people “of a certain age” get passed over for promotion opportunities at work, forced into early retirement, or denied interviews for jobs that they’re clearly qualified for. Even when they are able to secure an interview, they are often told that they are “overqualified” – a thinly veiled reference to age.
Faced with these challenges, Boomers should take charge of their own destinies and chart their own path. Anyone who feels that they are being held back in their job by the unfairness of the youth-obsessed business world or looking for a new way to earn income should consider a freelance career and become solopreneurs.
Is Freelancing an Antidote to Ageism?
Freelancing is incredibly empowering and energizing because it offers an opportunity to earn money doing what you like, often working remotely, on your own terms and schedule. Freelancers are valued for their experience, so being “overqualified” is never an issue. There are plenty of freelance opportunities there, not only in writing or technology.
For Boomer women freelancing may be a way to balance the need to work with other family responsibilities. Many of them are caregivers to elder parents or help out their children as they come out of college and start a family life. Freelancing also offers up enough flexibility to focus on own health and wellbeing.
Here are a few reasons why freelance career might be an ideal fit for women over 60 who are trying to make money and save for retirement:
Work On Your Own Terms
If you’re to the point in your job where you’re tired of working for someone, mindlessly executing tasks and dealing with office politics, then freelancing might be right for you. As a freelancer, your home office is your office, there is no politics and the only tasks you have are the ones you assign to yourself to meet your client needs. There is “busy work” assigned by someone else. Every hour you spend working adds value to you and your brand. Depending on your focus area, you can probably do some work from anywhere that has an internet connection – from home, from a coffee shop or library, or while traveling to your family.
As a business person you can set your own schedule and take on the projects that meet your interests. If you’re an independent-minded person with an energetic spirit, freelancing is the best career ever.
Define Your Own Brand
Working as a freelancer gives seniors, particularly in professional fields, a lot more freedom to build their own brand in a way that might be less susceptible to age discrimination. Unlike traditional job search that relies on resume, freelancers bid on projects and well-defined tasks. What counts is the years of experience and track of success, so age is actually a benefit rather than a drawback. You are not “overqualified”, instead you will be “experienced”.
Providing your services as a freelancer also helps prospective clients to get out of “hiring manager” mode and focus on their business needs. Everyone would agree that “ageism” is an unfair and self-defeating hiring practice because it leaves out many experienced workers. Unfortunately it’s the reality today in America, so if you can help to change the relationship from employee/employer, it will work to the advantage of both parties.