BY GARRY WALDEN ON MAY 6, 2019
Research shows a major surge in older entrepreneurs growing in the U.S. since 2007.
When I was beginning my professional work career I was doing something completely different from what I am doing today. Today I work as a WordPress web developer and eCommerce consultant, however, back in my early 20’s I was a plumber’s apprentice; in my early 30’s I worked in nonprofit organizational management, and in my early 40’s I transitioned into information technology full-time and subsequently became an entrepreneur.
Each time I transitioned into a new work role I had to learn a new vocabulary and set of work skills, and just like then, it was never easy, at first, but as time went along, I found myself becoming more proficient in performing my new work roles, and ultimately becoming an expert in my newly chosen field of work.
Learning New Job Skills
If your career trajectory looks anything like mine, chances are you have a vast amount of work skills, knowledge, and experiences for sale, but, you don’t have the digital job skills required to wholly participate in this ever-changing, rapidly advancing, digital-centric job market; and as a result, like many us, you are now faced with having to learn an entirely new set of job skills, and ultimately, a new way of thinking in order to survive.
For some, this can be an incredibly frightening proposition, as many of us have led ourselves to believe the old adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” however, the data suggests quite the opposite, as we are seeing the vast majority of new businesses being started today are by entrepreneurs over 50.
This is most intriguing because many of the newly created over 50+ business start-ups that we are seeing popping up today are in technology, or heavily integrate technology into their products and services, and as a result, we have a unique instance where the older worker of yesterday has evolved into the ideal worker hybrid of today.
Bridging the Age Gap
For those workers who learned how to work prior to the advent of the internet, and without the assistance of technology, the majority of the knowledge that we acquired in the work world of the past, and in particular, the job tasks that we had to learn to perform our job duties, resulted in the development of a unique set of skills and accompanying thought processes that are rapidly becoming obsolete as we become more digital techno-logical .
It is quite remarkable, if one were to consider, that what we are seeing in today’s new job market is a repurposing of past work conventions into present-day insights. Jobs that most often in the past required multiple levels of manual analysis, and varying degrees of cross-examination (without the assistance of technology), are often most effectively fulfilled by those who possess the legacy reasoning skills observed in older workers; thus making them an ideal candidate for bridging the gap between past and present working conventions.
New Frontier for Post Career
Simply put, knowledge of past working conventions, informs future performance outcomes more broadly when used to develop a system of best practices, and so one could conclude that there is the potential for a renaissance in the presence of older workers in many of the minor tech fields, such as web design, blogging, coding, and digital media production.
Unfortunately, however, many older workers are often not aware of the fact that their vast experience and unique way of thinking about today’s job market makes them incredibly valuable to the formation of a more broadly informed workforce, however, this often not the case, and in fact, older workers like myself are finding the digital-logical world of work to be incredibly exciting and an opportunity to work in capacities that we have not seen before.