Reader feels behind in career trajectory
Dear Harriette: I constantly feel like I am behind the eight ball. I had a robust career that ended some years ago when my industry began to tank. I have worked independently since then on a variety of projects. From the outside, I look successful, but my bank account tells a different story. Plus, I keep seeing people in my field who seem to be prosperous trying out new technology or aligning with big brands while I seem to be scrambling for crumbs. I am beginning to feel like there’s no more room for me and my talents and creativity. But I’m still in my 50s and have a family. I have to keep working, but I’m not sure what to do to reinvent myself. I don’t want to give up, but I need some guidance. — Second Act
Dear Second Act: Do not despair. You are not alone. In fact, statistics show that there are more seniors than 18-year-olds in the United States. This is a time when our mature population should be valued more, and there are organizations out there that are trying to make that happen. Open your eyes to the possibilities for people in your age group with your skills. Polish your resume, and highlight the things that you have excelled at over the years. Stop worrying about your contemporaries, and look for opportunities that feel right for you.
You must also work on your mindset. If you are feeling down, you will not attract the bounty that you want and deserve. To change your attitude, you can exercise more, drink a lot of water, choose to think positive thoughts, surround yourself with people you love who are supportive of you, and seek professional help if you need it.
When you look for jobs, you can go to various online job boards, but be sure to narrow your search based on your skills and abilities. Look for sites that specialize in your field, or go to jobs.aarp.org to check out a job board for older people that might have leads for you. For ideas on how to reinvent yourself, go to bit.ly/REINVENTSS.
Dear Harriette: I have been making many friends recently. A couple of days ago, I befriended a guy, and we hit it off. We had many things in common, and we talked for hours. However, there were some red flags that were going off when I was around him. He would make me uncomfortable and touch me in places I didn’t want to be touched. I told him to keep his hands off, and he would comply but eventually continue anyway. My biggest mistake was giving him my contact information. He texts me every day, from morning to evening, asking me too many personal questions. I don’t want to be mean to him, but whenever I tell him to leave me alone, he persists. I am scared, and I don’t know what to do. — Always Followed
Dear Always Followed: Block this person from your social media and your phone. Refuse to respond to his texts. Silence may work to make him realize you really are no longer interested in him. If it escalates, you may need to report him to the police to get this incident on the record.
Dear Harriette: I have four nieces and one nephew. In my eyes, they are my babies, and I can’t bear the idea of them growing up. Recently, my older sister was stationed in Seoul, South Korea, since she works in the Air Force. Now that my family is over a thousand miles across the world, I am worried that the kids will forget me. I love them so much, and I am worried that I am losing touch with them. It has been a few months since they moved to Seoul, and I miss them dearly. I do not want to lose our connection as a family. What can I do to strengthen our bonds even though we are miles apart? — Forgotten Family
Dear Forgotten Family: Do not despair. The great news is that you can use modern technology to stay in close touch with your family. You will need to set this up with your sister — unless the children are old enough to do it themselves. You can use WhatsApp to talk to one another for free. You can see each other using the video feature or just talk through the phone feature. You can leave each other voice messages if it’s tough to talk directly due to the time differences.
You may want to establish a set time each week when you talk to the family. Since you have to coordinate your schedules to deal with the time difference, set it up with your sister, and be vigilant about touching base — even if your engagement is for only a few minutes.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@ harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.