Advice for the Mature Job Seeker
Dear Career Coach
: I am wondering if you have any thoughts or advice about finding a job after age 60. I have been in practice for about 18 years. I am finding it rather scary to quit my job because I am worried about whether I will really be able to get another job. What do you think?
Dear Mature Job Seeker: Employers are looking for two main characteristics when they hire an employee. The first characteristic is your skills and expertise. After 18 years in practice I think we can safely say you should have no problem meeting that standard. But having experience isn't enough, because the second thing most employers are looking for is employees who will stay with them for the long term. We all know that technically (and legally) an employer is not allowed to factor your age into their hiring decision, but I think we would both be kidding ourselves if we think that an employer is eager to hire someone who is within shouting distance of their retirement. The truth of the matter is that hiring a clinician is expensive and time consuming, and employers don't want to have to go through the hiring process every couple of years - especially during tough economic times.
One option you may want to consider is doing a temporary or locum tenens assignment. You might find that short-term assignments are a nice fit with where you are in your career journey. This is the one setting where long-term commitments are not required or expected. Assignments can range anywhere from a few weeks to a year in length. When I was recruiting I filled many of my temp positions with "mature" clinicians who liked to work temp positions because they enjoyed the freedom and the variety. And did I mention the pay? Temp jobs usually pay very well. If you are willing to travel the opportunities are even greater.
Teaching is another idea you might want to entertain. Many colleges and universities employ folks in our profession in an "adjunct" type position to work with nursing or other healthcare students. They may have a need for teaching or assisting with specific courses or for supervising the students in their clinical rotations.
Above all, no matter what your age, I never advise that you quit your current job until you have a new job secured.