Older adult waiting for job interviewI am grateful to have found a job that I actually want to go to everyday.  Let me rephrase that:  I am thankful that I have been afforded the opportunity to enjoy what I do to earn a living.

During these past several months, I have been advised to take whatever job is offered, apply for anything that becomes available, take every exam/test that opens—just get myself on a list, any list, and of course, my favorite smack down reminder, “Your Cadillac salary days are over. Just get something that pays something, anything.”

These individuals all meant well.  They are all in their 50s and some in their early 60s; they understand the daunting challenge I was facing trying to find employment in an ageist society and recession-induced economy.

I don’t want to live a life of workplace disappointment, bitterness, resentment and that’s-not-my-job job-hating existence.  I want my work life to be more than just a paycheck.  That was my attitude at the beginning of my working career.  I hope to be spared reverting to that mindset at the twilight of my public sector career.

At the end of the day, I am the only one who has to live with the way I choose to earn a living.

Yes.  I am truly grateful that this circus of circumstances has taught me that I still have what employers want; that I can still, at 57, get job offers and actually get hired—and offered a decent and livable salary.

Yes.  After 43 years in the workforce, I am thankful to be still enjoying going to work!

The New Kid…At 57

business man

But, they forgot to factor in one reality; this is my work life challenge, not theirs.

It hasn’t been easy being the “new kid” in my new job/work assignment.  I have been humbled in so many ways that have left my work persona/ego bruised, battered and blistered.

But you know what?  I’ll get over it.  I will get through it.  You don’t get to be 57 on this planet in this day and age (economy) without having cultivated some survival skills. My emotional and mental state of mind, of feeling like ET during the IT-driven job hunting process and just wanting to go home (old job) are slowly ebbing away.

Some work/career lessons I learned decades ago prove to be still relevant and useful strategies for my workplace survival kit. 

I don’t have to be popular, but I do have to be civil.  Regard others the way I want to be regarded.
It’s rarely about me. When necessary, I try to remind myself that there is usually history (politics) at play in a new work culture that I have absolutely no clue about. So why take a difficult or unpleasant situation personally—especially when I know I had nothing to do with creating it?
No matter what culture/work environment philosophy is preached or promoted, understand that the real work culture that is actually practiced by my new coworkers is what I must learn to navigate without compromising my work ethic.
Is it about the work or is it about the money?  As long as it’s about the work, I will be okay; but if I focus on dollars and decimal digits, I won’t thrive or survive in such a work environment.

Retirement is still winking ever closer.  In the meantime, I’m enjoying my new public sector career journey!