Q. Like many baby boomers, I plan to continue working after I retire. However, I would like to do something completely different. For example, I recently met a retired executive who found a job working for a boat dealership. He delivers new boats to their owners and demonstrates all the features.
Although starting over will undoubtedly be difficult, I am very energetic and have a lot of useful experience. I’m also prepared to take a significant pay cut. My problem is that I don’t know how to convey all this in a job application. How can I convince potential employers that I would be an asset to their business?
A. With compensation being less important, you are now in the enviable position of doing work for fun. Therefore, the first step is to determine what type of work you find appealing. Start by making a list of all your interests and hobbies and then brainstorm related employment possibilities.
Next, develop a plan for learning about jobs in your desired field. For example, your boat delivery buddy might have done research by attending boat shows, visiting dealerships or chatting with employees at a marina. Eventually, the people you meet along the way will become part of your job search network.
With a radical career change, networking will be your most valuable tool. Randomly submitting applications won’t be helpful because your background has no apparent connection to the jobs you want. On the other hand, a personal conversation will allow you to convey your character, motivation and sincere desire to learn.
Since your ultimate goal is to get hired, be prepared to provide a concise career summary, highlighting any relevant skills and experience. If it’s been awhile since you looked for work, take time to refresh your interviewing skills. And since this is part of your retirement, please remember to relax and enjoy the process.
Q. The co-worker who sits next to me makes huffing noises and says, “Oh, crap,” all day long. This drives me absolutely crazy. Yesterday morning, she actually huffed 35 times in three hours. When I ask if she’s having a bad day, she always replies “No, I’m fine.” Should I tell her how much this bugs me or just let it go?
A. I assume that “huffing” means an exasperated sigh, sort of like a nonverbal “oh, crap.” If so, this is probably just her automatic response to frustration. And I expect you already know that complaining about it won’t be helpful. After all, if saying “your noises drive me crazy” was a comfortable thing to do, you would have already done it.
You may not realize, however, that you are actually exacerbating your own problem. Counting and commenting will only increase your awareness of these sounds, which is the exact opposite of what you want. So instead of resentfully awaiting the next huff, practice shifting your attention. Focus on your work, soft music, white noise or anything that helps. And if moving your desk ever becomes an option, go for it.
Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics.”