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Baby Boomers – Retiring to a New Career

According to John Hill, Director for Alumni Career Services at MSU, “We see a lot of professionals that are displaced, laid off, and others that want to change or change of pace.”

As Boomers transition into retirement, a new career may be a desired change of pace or even a necessity. Hill counsels, coaches, and speaks on this topic every day. In thirty days, he delivered 27 keynote speeches on career development, social media, and effective business communication. His insight is timely and accreditations pertinent, especially to Boomers.

Hill is charged with providing career services to all 420,000 MSU alumni. He also conducts career/professional/corporate development events on various topics including: “Taking Your Online Connections Offline for Career Success”, “How Gen Y Fits In With Gen X and Boomers in the Workforce” and “Developing Your Career Search Strategy.”

He advises those desiring (or in) career transition to look for things they are passionate about and areas where they can use their expertise to help others. Comparing Boomers to Gen Y, Hill explains that Boomers often identify themselves as what they do for a living, whereas Gen Y creates opportunities of passion. This presents an opportunity for Boomers, because while Gen Y is very entrepreneurial, they lack the business acumen of Boomers. Gen Y looks at Boomers as mentors and this is a viable business avenue worth exploring.

“Boomers think they’ve been in a seemingly safe environment and have followed a pathway into the workforce,” says Hill. “But there are far more opportunities to develop your own business, and the opportunity cost is very low to do that. This also affords the opportunity to find acute rewards out of this new business that you have not been able to get out of your previous work.”

According to Hill, findings from a recently-released report, Recruiting Trends by Dr. Phil Gardner, show small businesses will be hiring in 2010, but large and mid size companies will not.

“The economy is chaotic, and out of chaos comes opportunity,” says Hill.

On a roll, Hill shares poignant advice on moving up and moving on in his own words:

1. Boomers need to become more social media savvy. It is here to stay; it is a social and a professional network.

2. Linkedin and Twitter are bare minimums.

3. Connect to the Wall Street Journal or Richard Florida via Twitter, for example. These are the next generation of communications tools.

4. We need to think global, i.e., we compete globally not just block to block.

5. Step out of your comfort zone to follow what makes your heart sing

6. Continue to dream big! We’ve seen so many success stories from following your drive and passion.

7. Conduct an informational interview with your connections in an area you think you might like to work. Quiz them to see if this something you’re really interested in.

8. A great identification tool to find alum and past colleagues is LinkedIn.

If you’re laid off, displaced, misplaced, retiring to a new career, or simply ready for a change, Hill’s spot-on advice is a great place to start, and looking at your passion is at the top of his list.

[previously published in the Lansing State Journal by Author, Tamera L Nielsen]

Bill