Emotional Health

The Benefits of Change: Retiring, Relocating or Reinventing Yourself

Yes, change is difficult, but many worthwhile things are, and the benefits can be profound.

Author Dorie Clark, a teacher at Duke University School of Business, writes in “Reinventing You,” that “broadly speaking. . . the same principles apply whatever your age.” Her particular advice for people over 50 includes urging them to learn and keep up with new technology. For people who may have been out of the job market for many years, it can be intimidating to face all the new ways that technology has come to dominate every area, from submitting resumes to communicating with employers, to signing contracts. But it’s hard to overemphasize how important it is to show that you are adaptable to new trends, despite your age. Most of the new technologies are simple. A child can do it—and many do! And it’s important not to let fear blind you to how user-friendly they are.

Another tip Dr. Clark offers is to not be defensive about being overqualified for entry-level positions. Be open about the issue, and make it clear that you recognize that you are trying something new and are prepared to start slowly. Savvy employers may recognize they are getting a bargain in the end.

Finally, whether starting off on your own or looking for a job, reconnect with old friends who may be able to help or put you in touch with those that can. Social media has made it easy to look up and connect with lost friends. People who are on Facebook, for example, are there partly for that reason. Don’t be afraid: Those who don’t want to be found usually eschew social media. Those that use it are usually glad to reconnect.

Keep in mind that even though change can provoke anxiety, it is usually a good thing. Life never stands still and neither should we—at a cellular level we are constantly replacing and renewing ourselves. Yes, change is difficult, but many worthwhile things are, and the benefits can be profound. Don’t let people put you in a box, and don’t choose to live in one. As a friend said to me once, “I want my tombstone to read she was always going forward!”

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