Figuring Out What’s Next: Step 1 – Wanting

In my over 25 years of practice as a career counselor working primarily with clients over 50 and beyond, I have observed that the ones who achieved the most satisfying results and who were the happiest with their results were the ones who were committed to – and worked consistently toward – identifying their needs, skills, values, and goals.

They were determined to persevere even during difficult times and were open and willing to step out of and beyond their comfort zone.

In my attempt to analyze the steps they followed, I see them falling into a three-part approach that I call the “WOW” of job search.

WOW is the acronym for:

  1. Wanting, which requires self- awareness
  2. Ouching, which requires an attitude of acceptance
  3. Winning, which requires a sense of adventure.

In this article, I will describe the first part, Wanting.

In the two subsequent articles, I will discuss the next two steps – Ouching, followed by Winning.

I hope I have now piqued your curiosity.


Let’s begin by looking at the characteristics of Wanting – the life-charged battery that gets things started.

When you wish for something, you are hoping to gain something you want. To know what you want, you need to be conscious of your thoughts and how they interact with the world around you.

To quote the roman playwright, Seneca,

“When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.”

In other words, if you don’t know what you want, how will you know what to do to make it happen?

What do you wish for? How aware are you of what you want as you move forward in your job search?

Ask yourself “Who am I, and what do I want to do?” What are your values, feelings, desires?

Awareness of self is important for a complete and fulfilling job search. Self awareness can be determined by completing various assessment inventories provided in a book on careers and assessment or by being tested by a career coach or counselor.

Do you know if you have the skills, experience, and training to achieve what you want or wish for? Be sure to do your due diligence by conducting a thorough research of your desired job target or targets.

Is what you are wishing for doable? Before you focus your energy on a full targeted search gather your information and become knowledgeable of the industry and position. Is it viable, worthy of your time and effort? Is it worth a full search? Is it an industry that is growing or is it one to avoid because it is retrenching?

Many job seekers over 50 who have not done a thorough investigation into their desired job target may blame age discrimination for the fact that they are unsuccessful when the reality may be that they haven’t researched the needs and growth of the industry.

So many are too quick to cry ageism when it may be that what they Want may not be the best choice because the industry is small or because they may need additional updated skills to be considered competitive.

Where are you in this first step of the process? Do you know what you want?

Next: Step 2, “Ouching” accepting the difficulties that may arise and getting past them.

Renee Lee RosenbergAbout the author…

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 and You can also find her Profile on LinkedIn, send her an email at [email protected], or call her office at (212) 924-2117.
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