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Competing in the Workforce in Midlife

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 8 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Continuing Education For Adults Career

Many people consider their midlife years to be those in which they should focus on and strive to advance their careers. Armed with years of experience, the ability to relate well to people from many different backgrounds, and a well established, sound work ethic, those in middle age are likely to be well equipped to fare well in the sometimes highly competitive workforce.

Know Yourself

Some of the greatest benefits of midlife are the ability to know oneself and to make the most of personal strengths. When we are very young, we may hold unrealistic expectations not only for ourselves, but also for colleagues and employers. This naiveté may leave us unprepared to deal well with errors and disappointments in our careers and can have us expending our energies without making much progress. With time comes self-acceptance, however, and most middle aged people have a pretty good idea of not only their greatest strengths, but also their limitations, making it possible for them to fully utilise their assets whilst keeping a keen eye out to push themselves through their weak spots. Learning to manage time well, stay organised, and delegate tasks to those most qualified are all important to finding success in the workplace.

Getting Ahead at Work

By middle age, we have likely been around long enough to understand that career success requires a number of things, including performing our assigned tasks in a timely and quality fashion, developing a reputation for reliability, and utilising our social skills to interact well with others. If any of these components are lacking, we are less likely to achieve all that we may hope to. Those who put forth their best effort on the projects that they are assigned are sure to gain the respect of their employers, putting them in good positions for promotions. Delivering on time, every time also puts employees at the top of the list when important projects are doled out, so being reliable and responsible at work is essential. Finally, the ability to work well with bosses, coworkers, and subordinates cannot be underestimated; attitude is just as important (sometimes even more important!) as aptitude.

Staying Up-To-Date

In many careers, employees who hope to maintain a competitive edge must continually reeducate themselves to keep up with the latest advancements and developments. Ongoing education can be one of the most important factors for middle aged employees who are in competition with younger coworkers who are likely to have just completed their schooling and are comfortable with the latest technologies. Some midlife workers may feel intimidated by the constantly changing technological aspects of their work, but the only way to remain competitive is to keep abreast of the latest advancements.

Continuing education for adults can often be scheduled on a part time basis, typically by attending evening or weekend classes every year or two, depending on the industry. Attending career related workshops and seminars can also be beneficial, and these types of events are usually less time consuming than ongoing classes, often being completed in a single day or weekend. Expressing an interest in keeping up-to-date puts employees in a good light at work; some employers are even willing to reimburse their employees for class expenses when the classes are directly related to the work that they do.

Keeping a Balance

Career is important to most people -- we've all got bills to pay - but it's important to keep a healthy perspective about the role of work in a well-balanced life. The luckiest amongst us are able to make a living doing something we find meaningful, but even those who have their dream jobs need more than just success at work to have happy lives. Taking time to relax, play, and spend time with friends and loved ones is important, too.

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