"Who will want me? I’m too old. I worked 20 years in the same company; this is all I know."
"I have the qualifications but I’m older than the interviewer and all the other candidates. They’ll never hire me."
"Why bother to look, I haven’t looked for a job in years and, besides, my age is a major handicap."
Do any of these statements sound familiar? Are you repeating similar sentiments to yourself? These are actual quotes from three of my clients, aged 50, 60 and 70 years old, when they were downsized and feeling hopeless.
Their concerns are not unusual for an older worker trying to re-enter the job market.
Each of them expressed doubts and worries about their age as well as fears that they would never find a job again. Perfectly normal emotions.
Today each of them, within a 3-6 month period, landed a job they enjoy.
What changed them from negative, fearful individuals to successful job seekers? It was their ability to face their fears, reframe their language and alter their thoughts.
To quote Norman Vincent Peale, Change your thoughts; you change your world.
The first step was to examine their negative language and replace it with a positive affirmation: a short, specific self-script in the present tense that states a situation or goal they wanted to achieve in their job search.
Jack’s affirmation was: "I am experienced and qualified for the position."
Susan and Claire, on the other hand wanted to affirm their age was not a problem, and so they chose respectively: "I am as young as I want to be and am a great candidate," and "I can get the job I want; age is not important."
After writing their affirmations they posted them on 3 by 5 index cards in visible places around their home:
They repeated their affirmations frequently, both out-loud and silently, until each became a mantra of reality.
To their surprise they found their job search improved. They were more relaxed on interviews and were finding interviewers showing more interest in their abilities and experience as well as getting call backs for second and third interviews.
Each of them eventually landed good jobs that matched their skills and experience.
At the same time they practiced strategies for conducting a good job search:
But that’s another article (coming soon).
The message here is about the first step, adapting a positive attitude, to keep you motivated, focused and strong during an unexpected layoff, emotional upheaval and unwanted job change.
A persisting negative attitude will only zap your energy and pull you down.
You may still be skeptical about affirmations and not sure of their value. Studies on learning have shown that repeating the same message programs your subconscious to believe the message, and believing it will cause you to take the actions needed to make it happen. Think about it, don’t we do this with negative thoughts?
It’s easier to be negative than positive. Research has found that 75 percent of our daily thoughts are negative. Why not work on changing that statistic to 75 percent positive thoughts?
Creating and practicing your personal affirmation is a commitment to your future and toward a positive job search. Try it, and enjoy the results.
With a Master's degree in Vocational Counseling, Boomer Renée Lee Rosenberg, MA, is a specialist in vocational counseling, career management, job search, and retirement. Renée is also a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) with over 25 years of experience helping individuals navigate career change, cope with stress, and achieve successful outcomes and a Certified Five O’Clock Club coach for over 20 years. For more information about Renée, visit her websites RetirementTutor.com and PositivityPro.com. You can also find her Profile on LinkedIn, send her an email at [email protected], or call her office at (212) 924-2117.