Sitting in a waiting room this morning captive to the pre-selected TV channel (thank God not Jerry Springer), I saw a piece that could inspire many of us. The “Today Show” was featuring several interns doing work in NYC. The difference was they were not bright faced 20 year olds, but instead “women of a certain age” as a fellow blogger Karen Knott might call them. They were all very capable journalists facing a changing workplace and needing updated skills. Sure, it took a lot of guts and they were offering their services for free, but really, ingenious.

Think about it this weekend-who could you call upon to pitch this idea? It should be well thought out and approached in the same way any business proposal would be presented. Great exchange though-you offer your enthusiastic work ethic in exchange for exposure to new skills, an elimination of the dreaded resume gap and an opportunity to make some amazing new contacts. In this tough economy, you might be exactly who someone could use right now!

Let’s get going…….

today-show

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Enough already…. Okay, I’ve moaned a bit about poor me. Aren’t there 5 stages of something? So I spent some time in shock. Apparently the Big World did not hold its breath for 20 years eagerly anticipating my return. I’m over it and ready to take matters into my own hands!

Having spent time on these boards I know I am not alone-you might either be right along with me or a few steps ahead. So how about we pool our resources and come up with some things we can do on our own, rather than whining about what the world is saying we can’t do . 

I am determined that I can switch careers. I’ve been told my whole life that I’m a PR natural. I just need to get some wind beneath my wings so to speak.

My friends who have been most successful at re-emergence have gone big by going back to school. I just don’t want to do that. I still have haunting nightmares of trying to pound my way into mysteriously locked buildings for finals. 

Instead I’ve put together my own graduate degree which I hope has set me on the right path. I have invested a bit in myself  to attain my MBF-Masters in Becoming Fabulous!

I’ve taken an amazing series of online courses at  MediaBistro.com all taught by sharp PR pros and walked away with an extensive working portfolio. I’ve also attended advanced seminars from  Sponsorship.com and The Donors Forum.

I have found all of this just put a more formal spin on much of what I’ve been doing on my own for two decades. But now I am more current with buzz words and trends. I’m shaving rings off my tree trunk circles.

I got over any trepidation about newer computer skills-lifelong PC girl went out and bought myself a Mac-and it’s mind blowing. Roamed around Borders a bit and brought home “Powerpoint in 24 Easy Lessons”. Guess what-I’m pretty darn good at it!

Then there’s this whole Blog thing-a world of people out there have no idea how to set this up-I plan to find them and offer my most proficient services. Of course there’s my LinkedIn page and now I am somehow Twitting from the Tweetdeck as well!

In other words I have replaced the hours I was spending staring at online applications and turned them into actual experiences to show for myself. Later we’ll talk about actually putting it into use.

I’d love to hear from you on what you have done to get yourself ready. Let’s go the party together!party-11

Regardless of the fabulous single process color of my hair, the graduation date on my resume is the elephant in any interview room. “I thought she was a lot younger than that” is the best I can hope for as they do the math, hopefully comparing me to their age and not their mother’s!

You see, it’s a Catch-22. I’ve spent some years out of the corporate loop. So, of course it’s important to fill those dreaded gaps with impacting action phrases describing my successful, if unconventional ventures. Which all of a sudden makes me both overqualified and dramatically unproven at the same time.

I have applied for some positions only to be either rejected as it’s deemed below my qualifications or promoted to interview for a senior position where other candidates more seamlessly fit the mold. Would I sound lacking in confidence (or the desperado I sense I am becoming) to admit, “Hey, just bring me on at any level. I know I can do it and the clock is ticking!”

You see, I wasn’t expecting to keep pace with my peers that toiled these past 20 years in a conventional job. But it is becoming shockingly clear that there was an expiration date on the value of my original corporate experience-and some view my date should land me in the spoiled bin!

Matt Youngquist, author of Career Horizons: The Blog! offers an insightful punch list of issues for those of us engaged in the post 40 job search. It is spot on in assessing these silent but deadly misgivings the guy across the table might be having. I plan on working my way down the list to be better prepared for my next fabulous opportunity.

How’s that for optimism? What are your secrets for keeping the faith?

1982ld