Positively Midlife Podcast

Adapting Your Career at Midlife to Outrun a Recession - Ep. 38

February 22, 2023 Ellen and Tish Season 2 Episode 38
Adapting Your Career at Midlife to Outrun a Recession - Ep. 38
Positively Midlife Podcast
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Positively Midlife Podcast
Adapting Your Career at Midlife to Outrun a Recession - Ep. 38
Feb 22, 2023 Season 2 Episode 38
Ellen and Tish

On this week's episode of The Positively Midlife podcast, Ellen and Tish talk about eight ways at midlife to adapt or recession-proof your career to outrun a recession.  With the slew of layoffs in recent months in technology and now spreading across to other industries and the current economic outlook - we know that at midlife we've got to be even more prepared!  And the stats show that  56% of employees in the US over the age of 50 were laid off at least once, or they leave their jobs under financially damaging circumstances - that means that more than half of us will be laid off or have been laid off at midlife.

Ellen and Tish discuss their layoffs and share 8 proactive and practical strategies that could give you an advantage in keeping your job in this tough job market. 

Things we talked about in this episode:  Personal brand building, networking, industry groups, Thai sticky coconut and mango rice, Tony Robbins, saving photos from your iPhone, layoffs, LinkedIn, soft skills, transferable skills, resumes,  annual tune-up, ProPublica, and AARP. 

Support us with a monthly subscription and get a quarterly live  Q&A with Ellen and Tish.

Obsessions
Tish: Thai sticky mango rice.  Tish loves this dessert at the end of a Thai dinner!
Ellen:  save your photos from your iPhone with the ScanDisk Xpand 256 GB flash drive

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Show Notes Transcript

On this week's episode of The Positively Midlife podcast, Ellen and Tish talk about eight ways at midlife to adapt or recession-proof your career to outrun a recession.  With the slew of layoffs in recent months in technology and now spreading across to other industries and the current economic outlook - we know that at midlife we've got to be even more prepared!  And the stats show that  56% of employees in the US over the age of 50 were laid off at least once, or they leave their jobs under financially damaging circumstances - that means that more than half of us will be laid off or have been laid off at midlife.

Ellen and Tish discuss their layoffs and share 8 proactive and practical strategies that could give you an advantage in keeping your job in this tough job market. 

Things we talked about in this episode:  Personal brand building, networking, industry groups, Thai sticky coconut and mango rice, Tony Robbins, saving photos from your iPhone, layoffs, LinkedIn, soft skills, transferable skills, resumes,  annual tune-up, ProPublica, and AARP. 

Support us with a monthly subscription and get a quarterly live  Q&A with Ellen and Tish.

Obsessions
Tish: Thai sticky mango rice.  Tish loves this dessert at the end of a Thai dinner!
Ellen:  save your photos from your iPhone with the ScanDisk Xpand 256 GB flash drive

Give us a review...
Click here

Want to start podcasting?  Click here to let Buzzsprout know we sent you, this gets you a $20 Amazon gift card if you sign up for a paid plan, and help support our show

Support the Show.

Website: www.thepositivelymidlifepodcast.com
Email: postivelymidlifepod@gmail.com

Tish Woods:

On this week's episode of The positively midlife podcast, we're going to talk about eight ways at midlife to recession proof your career. So based on a recent NPR poll, about two thirds of Americans believe we are entering a recession. And we want to share some proactive strategies that could give you an advantage in keeping your job. So, Ellen, you've been laid off before, right?

Ellen Gustafson:

Yes, I have. And it was frightening. It was here in midlife during the pandemic, with a kid in college. So it was definitely something I did not see coming. But it is a way of life out here in technology. And it was a huge hit to me. Tish in so many ways, but especially my bank account, really, it took me a while to find a new job. And right now, the layoffs keep coming not just in tech. I mean, I'm hearing about it all the time across the country, in all sorts of companies. What about you, Tish?

Tish Woods:

Well, I was in commercial lending, doing community redevelopment loans in 2008. And I was in that first wave of casualties of the banking crash. And I never saw it coming either. Wow, I

Ellen Gustafson:

think you know, now from 2008 to today, I think almost everyone I know has been laid off at least once. And some, many more times than that. But for us women it mid life, it can be a harsh reality. So with this economic uncertainty happening right now out in the market, I love the idea of us being as prepared as we can be to keep our jobs here at midlife to be ready when those layoffs happen. It's like this boom cyclones from the weather we've been having. They're on their way. And I want to make sure we have what we need to weather the storm.

Tish Woods:

Okay, so there's no guarantees that you're going to keep your job during a recession. But we want to share with you some tips that the experts say can give you your best odds of escaping the dreaded pink slip.

Ellen Gustafson:

Ooh, I love the dreaded pink slip. I don't think our younger listeners may know about the pink slip, but it's true. Let's avoid that if we can. But before we get to this serious and timely topic around strategies to recession proof your job let's talk about our weekly obsessions. Tish What do you got for me this week?

Tish Woods:

Okay, my weekly obsession this week is sticky. Mango rice.

Ellen Gustafson:

Oh, I love it. Tell me more.

Tish Woods:

So if you've never had this before, it is a Thai dish and a desert. It is just I went to one of my favorite Thai restaurants down in Rock Hill called Sila. And it is and I brought so two friends with me and we had the sticky mango rice to finish our meal. And it was fabulous. It's just a rice, a white rice that's done. I'd had little, I guess black sesame seeds in it. And it was just just a tiny sweet. It wasn't like crazy, you know, sweet. And then just these delicious slices of mango that went with it. A perfect end to a meal. And if you've never tried the dish before, it is a must have.

Ellen Gustafson:

Well, it has coconut milk in it too. Right? Yes. Nice. Sweet. I'd love everything with coconut milk, honestly. So definitely going to try some of that.

Tish Woods:

What about you, Ellen? What is your obsession this week?

Ellen Gustafson:

Well, I I know we've talked about doing an episode around photo storage and and all of that. And we've got to get to it because I'm somebody who's I got very nervous about all the photos on my phone. And I got this great little product by scan disk. And it looks like one of those things you used to put into your computer to do some backups. But it fits in my iPhone. And I was able to save all of my photos on my iPhone onto this disk including videos and all sorts of things and it gave me some peace of mind. And during that I cleaned off a whole lot of garbage that I had on there to probably got rid of 300 photos that were up in my foot or blurry as what they were from so I'm just going to recommend this screen on disk, it was called the Expand flash drive for your iPhone.

Tish Woods:

Log that, you know, I had heard somebody recently had lost a lot of their photos that were on their phone. And let's face it, most of us don't have cameras anymore. Their phone is our camera. And so we lose those. That's it, they're gone. So I love that idea. Yes, we need to do a whole episode around photos, photo storage, how do we preserve them? What do they look like? I love it. So let's go to our topic at hand, this is kind of some serious stuff here. And we want people to be prepared. So you know, I'm a huge Tony Robbins fan. And he has this quote that says, everybody's life is either a warning, or an example. You got to decide what you're going to be. And then you have to draw a line in the sand. And with all the indicators showing right now that we are entering into recession, and there are things that we can start to do right now. That could allow us to be one of Tony Robbins success examples. And not just some recession roadkill.

Ellen Gustafson:

You know, I do not want to be recession roadkill Tish,

Tish Woods:

I don't either.

Ellen Gustafson:

I know, you know, I have not always been a big Tony Robbins fan. But our friend of the show, Ellen Howard gave me this book by him called the life force. It's amazing. It's about health and wellness. And I really became a Tony Robbins fan after reading that book. And I see he has some seminars, some things coming up around preparing for a recession. And hey, if the economy stays strong, we still will have strengthened our skills and stay relevant in the workplace. So there's really no downside to this right? Tish.

Tish Woods:

Absolutely everything we're going to suggest that the experts have told us can only enhance your career no matter what the economy is going to be. But one of the main things and I think why we really wanted to have this as a topic on our podcast for mid you know, our mid lifers is there's this thing with ageism, right. And it just makes maintaining a job harder. So pro publica and did an analysis. And they found that between 1992 and 2016, that 56% of employees over the age of 50 were laid off at least once, or they leave their jobs under such financial damaging circumstances, that it was really likely they were pushed out.

Ellen Gustafson:

Those are crazy stats, right for us women at midlife to think about. And that means that more than half of us will be laid off or have been laid off at midlife. And I know we don't like to admit that we may be part of the double A RP or AARP. But a good stat here is they reported that when you're laid off over the age of 55, the rehire rate of people at midlife, older adults is slower. So it just takes you longer to find a new job.

Tish Woods:

You know, it's just a double whammy for us, right? So we're more likely to get laid off at midlife. And then it's probably going to take us longer to find our next position. So the average time for anyone to find a new job after being laid off is two to six months. So we've got to add some time on to that for us being in midlife. So that's a little scary.

Ellen Gustafson:

It is and that's why we need some real skills and strategies to deal with this.

Tish Woods:

Yes. Now, there are some industries that are going to be fairly recession proof.

Ellen Gustafson:

Yeah, you know, like the legal professions, medical, I think a lot of times teachers, social workers, those type of professions,

Tish Woods:

right, elder care, auditors, actuaries, pharmacies, those types of things. So yeah, so they're kind of safe. But so now, if you're not already in those careers, moving to them at midlife, you gotta make you gotta be a little strategic about it. Are you going to be in the workforce long enough to make the retraining to get there worth it? So, you know, if you're on if you're closer to retirement, probably not. If you're early, maybe in your 40s it might be worth it. So you've got to look At that, when you think about should I transition into one of these more recession proof jobs?

Ellen Gustafson:

Yeah, I think for a lot of us, the answer's no. So the good news, though, is there are three skill sets that women as women we can learn, that can make us more valuable to any company and lessen the risk of layoffs.

Tish Woods:

That's right. So keeping our skills fresh is key in growing our careers, and becoming a little recession proof, both during economics, success times, and economic uncertainty.

Ellen Gustafson:

You know, I have to say, as a busy single mom of three here in the past, it's been hard to really focus on improving my skills, I would say for you, Tish, that's probably the same, but there are three skills, transferable skills, soft skills, and technology skills. I'm going to start by just chatting a little bit about transferable skills, these skills are more important, really than your job title A lot of times because they show that you can get a job done, or problem solved, even if you've never encountered it before, the exact situation. So I think these are pretty much at the sweet spot of recession proof skills.

Tish Woods:

Though, if you're not understanding what transferable skills are, these would be like the ability to clearly communicate ideas to others, the ability to solve unexpected problems, or to work well in teams, these are transferable skills.

Ellen Gustafson:

That's right, playing nice in the sandbox, as they say, working well in a team, I think is great. So the the second one, the second skills are soft skills. And I've heard that only 15% of your professional success is related to your technical proficiency and knowledge. The other 85 is of your success is based on your soft skills. And these are non technical skills on how you relate at work.

Tish Woods:

So great examples of soft skills, these would include really your interpersonal skills, communication skills, your social skills, your ability to negotiate, and your ability as a leader. Yeah,

Ellen Gustafson:

some other soft skills or creativity, creative thinking, time management, and networking.

Tish Woods:

You know, in the past, Elon, I think, I never put enough importance on these soft skills, I really kind of put all my eggs into the I'm so good at my job, the technical part of it, that I neglected my Soft Skills. And I've learned as I've gotten older how important they really are. So sharpening these, at any point in your career, whether young or old is super, super important.

Ellen Gustafson:

I agree. So in regards to networking, 85% of people have found their jobs through networking. And according to a survey conducted by performance based hiring learning systems, so I would have to say number one thing is establishing this solid network and equally as important is staying connected to the network. And that skill is relevant throughout every economic situation. So when you have a strong network, professional network, your odds of securing a job are going up and up and up.

Tish Woods:

You know, you always hear networking networking, but again, here is one of those very under estimated skills that you really need to have. So here's where we should have the advantage, though, we at midlife have been able to accumulate a large network of people. And we should be learning how to leverage all of those connections.

Ellen Gustafson:

I have to say, again, this is where you know, you can't ignore them in good times, right? You need to keep up that network and build it no matter what. And I think that's what some of us do is we panic when we need them and want to go there. But lastly, we want to talk about technology skills. keeping up to date with the latest technology is so important to stay relevant in the job market, especially at midlife. You want to be seen as someone who knows the technology isn't afraid of the technology and tackles it head on. So doing this during a recession. It'll help you show your value to your current employer that you and maybe make you more marketable to others.

Tish Woods:

So it's funny so we start off with telling you how important though because, you know, all like technology is only 15% is important. But here's where we are going to tell you, even though it might not be as important as soft skills in the big picture. But if it comes down to you and someone else, and you've got equal soft skills, this is the area that may tip you over into them keeping you and not getting rid of you. So don't underestimate the need to always be working on these. Are you up to date on everything in technology that your company uses? Are you expanding? Are you taking those advanced classes, so many companies have additional learning, be taking those things now? Because the technic, the technology skills may be actually the part that actually saved you.

Ellen Gustafson:

You know, Tish, I so agree with you. And I'm just going to put it this way you don't want to be seen or perceived as a dinosaur in your company. At midlife, you definitely want to be seen as somebody who's keeping up. So to me, and I think to you also Tish, the most important thing here is to have strategies in place well before a layoff to really be working on it. So we have eight strategies that we found to be I think, the top ones, for women at midlife to consider. So why don't I take the first one? One, focus on your work. And this might sound silly, but you know, when things are dicey out there, it's easy to get thrown off and be talking to people or layoffs coming what's happening. Just go do your job and do a great job all day long focus on your work and let that shine

Tish Woods:

with a positive attitude. Right? Agreed. Nobody wants to work with Miss Miserable. Yeah, so but number two is. So it's funny, I just read this New York Times article that talked about recession, proofing, adding included what they refer to as an annual career checkup. And this had to do with updating your resume and your LinkedIn profile. So that's suggestion number two, let's get your resume updated. And make sure some top top performing, you've added all your new skills to it, and you've updated that LinkedIn profile.

Ellen Gustafson:

I think that is such a good idea. I have to say what happens is we get into a job and we don't touch any of that for one or two or three years, right. And then we're in a panic. So I say it's like getting your car serviced. We should be thinking about it all the time. But make sure your resume is up to date with your latest accomplishments in the PA are the problem Action Result format. I think recruiters are really looking for that versus just listing kind of your tasks that you've done your areas, and you want to be ready to respond to new openings or opportunities or things you hear about. So you can tailor your resume for each job using keywords from the job description. I think it's really important. I've heard that a lot of recruiters run them through, you know, different types of systems, and they're really looking for those

Tish Woods:

keywords. Absolutely. You have to be using the keywords for the industries that you are in. Also rewrite that LinkedIn profile, hiring managers and search firms. They are scouring LinkedIn for viable candidates, they want to be able to present that best candidate and this is one of the areas that they're going to look in very heavily. So you want to make sure that your information again with those keywords, recent accomplishments and the awards, publications, your in any skills that you've been using need to be updated on that LinkedIn profile. Also, you need to be using LinkedIn to search your alumni. You know, somebody who went to the same school as you, if you're looking to work for our company, see if there's any other people from your college that go there. And you can network and hopefully make a connection to help you at least get that interview.

Ellen Gustafson:

I'd love that. Those are great suggestions. Tish. I think LinkedIn is an amazing space, not just when you're looking for a job but as we said to continue to grow your network. I'm going to take number three. This is develop your personal brand and And I was lucky enough to go through a personal brand workshop with an organization called advancing women executives a few years ago, and it was invaluable. I know that there's a lot of information out here about your brand. But I'd say write a blog, post it on LinkedIn or on your website, really doing things like congratulating colleagues, speaking at events on panels, even looking at TED X and Ted events, right? Really putting yourself out there in the market to let people know you who you are blogging, writing byline articles, right? All of these things, they help people understand who you are, and the value you can bring to an organization.

Tish Woods:

You know, I think, again, this is really underutilized, his personal brand. And I want to challenge you and I to do a whole episode on how do you build your own personal brand, because I think it's important. I agree, I definitely have to follow up with that. But I'm gonna go back to number four. Yep. Let's go back and talk about new technic technology skills. So your interviews will likely be virtual. Okay, this is, especially since the pandemic is pretty standard. So if you're unfamiliar with how to do these type of online learning, you want to make sure that you're checking UTube checking Coursca, Udemy. And looking for these free tutorials that can help you become familiar with Zoom, Google rooms, Microsoft Teams, Slack, all these things, everything is moving to sort of this collaborative applications for team projects. So not just during the interview process, but they're going to want to make sure that you're comfortable on these type of forums, no matter what. So this is, this is an area, get in there, sharpen your skills, do a zoom meeting with your friends, if you've never been on a zoom before, so you can become familiar with it.

Ellen Gustafson:

So so true. That's so true. You can practice all of these and you just don't know, zoom, Google meet ups team slack, it seems like I got to do all of these all the time and bounce between them. So it's good for folks to know, definitely how to do that. So I'm going to take number five, join industry groups, both online and in person. I think this is really important. I had belonged to a Product Marketing Association. For a while I loved being part of that when I was in Product Marketing. And I met a lot of people, they would have networking events in person a few times a year. And it really helped me to one get out of the office but to to, you know, again, expand and build my network of folks that would be willing to vouch for me for a job or, or share a job that might be open. And I'd say reconnect with former colleagues or classmates to deepen those relationships, and find out about opportunities. Again, this goes back to network network network.

Tish Woods:

Well, I'm going to use number six as talking, again, a little bit more about networking. But I also want you to kind of open yourself up in these networks. Think about networking with younger employees, as well as your peers. Keep in mind that 85% of job offers are going to come from referrals. So if you've been furloughed or laid off, take the time to add new skills or enhance your existing ones. There are so many even free podcasts out there and webinars that can help. Some library systems have free online courses as well, such as Lynda and LinkedIn learning. So but keep in mind that your next boss could be considerably younger than you are. And I want you to to be comfortable with networking with somebody younger, and be comfortable with that role that you know somebody younger could be your boss. That's an okay thing. There's nothing wrong with that.

Ellen Gustafson:

Well, and I think for most of us, that is the future, right? And yes, again, this is where another episode we did Tish which is mentoring, you know, a lot of the folks we could be mentoring that are younger than us could end up being folks that could hire us here in the future, depending upon how long we're in the workforce. So I thought this one was really interesting. I'm taking this one away that I need to network more With the younger, younger peers at my company, I love this one. All right, I'm on number seven. And I know that we all know this one. But if you think a layoff is coming and you know, tough times, save, save, save, we all know that we need to have three to six months, but here at midlife, it can take even longer than that, to find the right position. So I would have to say recessions tend to last 10 months or longer. And you know, you just don't want to be caught without a little money in the bank.

Tish Woods:

Absolutely. Well, I'm going to finish it off with kind of a kind of a left hand turn here. I love it's not so much, you know, recession proofing your job, but kind of recession proofing your life a little bit. Okay, yep, have a side gig, you know, have another form of income that can take some of the pressure off. You know, Ellen, you have your Airbnb, I'm trying to get into starting possibly doing a business about reselling helping people resell things that they have. Think about other forms. We have our podcast, think about other things that you can do on the side, that maybe that's the money that you put aside to build up that three to six months. Have a side gig, have a side gig? I'd like this

Ellen Gustafson:

one. I know a lot of women at midlife, they're doing a few things, right. And I think this really will help you weather a recession and actually could become a full time job. Right? It's an opportunity to have that, you know, we all know that layoffs are the norm moving forward and that we are more vulnerable at midlife. So if a layoff has happened, I just want to offer a few really quick tips here. One file for unemployment as quickly as possible, do not have pride and say you don't need it. I think it's really important, right? Number two, at midlife, we have a little bit longer to sign any separation paperwork. So really take your time and consider that I also think, go and renegotiate any kind of severance package that you may have been given, try and get a little bit more than that. And then finally, create a spending plan, figure out where you're gonna get the money from, don't spend that, that money just like it still is coming in. So I think there are a few things that we can do that Sanford's money, be careful with it, make a spending plan. And the New York Times just wrote an article exactly about this, they offer a lot of other advice. But you know, there are a number of things that we've put here that you can do if you feel that that layoffs are coming. And then some if you've been laid off,

Tish Woods:

absolutely get your finances in order going into it. If you know you have a lot of credit card bills, start paying them off, you know, get yourself in a good position. So now we've given you these eight point plan. And what we're what we're challenging you all is to be a little proactive. And we want we want you to start doing some of these steps. It is going to make you feel so empowered, and more confident in the workplace. And if a layoff comes, you're going to be ready. But you're also going to have a better attitude at work, you're not going to be running around afraid you're gonna be that positive beacon in the workplace, that may just save you from that layoff. So again, we don't want to be recession roadkill. So be proactive. That's our best advice.

Ellen Gustafson:

I agree. Tish, and I think there were a lot of tips here that I didn't really think of before we put this episode together. And I have to say the one of doing that annual checkup on your LinkedIn and your resume and networking with younger peers younger folks at your office. Two things I'm taking away from this episode. So good learning here. And we do know that layoffs at midlife can be rough and we know we will all get through them. And hopefully, we would hear from some of you on some of our socials about some experiences you've had or some of the tips. We've given on today's podcast so till next time mid lifers Till next time