looking for a job, job search, long hours, work-life balance, old habits, growth phase, maintenance phase, career strategyIf you are over 40 and looking for a job, it could be because of your old habits.

What I mean by old habits is you are looking for a job the way you used to, the way you did when you were 20.

To put it simply, are you in a “growth” phase of your career or in a “maintenance” phase?

Being in a growth phase means:

1. You go in early and come home late.

2. You put your hand up for extra projects.

3. You go in on your days off.

4. If the fire alarm goes off, you take the call at 4:00 am.

5. You will do anything to get that next promotion.

Being in a maintenance phase means:

1. You enjoy your definition of work/life balance.

2. You enjoy the company you work for and like going to work.

3. You contribute you experience and knowledge when required.

4. You have a manageable level of responsibility. You only work extra hours when needed.

5. You do what is needed within scheduled hours of work.

I speak with a lot of people who are over 40 and looking for a job and when I ask them where they are in their career they tell me they are trying to “grow” their career. Then in the next breath they tell me how they love coaching their kid’s sports teams, spending time with the family, traveling, going away on weekend. It doesn’t line up. This disconnect will send up red flags to a hiring manager and is the main reason you’re not getting job offers. Making a mistake that is keeping you unemployed over and over can lead to job search depression.

If you get the job you described to me, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy any of the things you love in your personal life. You’ll end up with a bad job with a bad employer.

Sometime being #2 is YOUR #1!

Approaching a new job as the best #2 on the planet might send a better message. You want to give a hiring manager you are there to “push up” and not “push out.” Let them know you want to use your experience to help and not take over. Your leadership will assist in training and building knowledge and not in a hostile takeover.

As a #2 you will get to lead, train and mentor. You will be appreciate and respected for your experience and years of experience.

But you won’t have to work all the long hours, your boss will do that. When things blow up, you have a buffer and will not be the first point of contact. You’ll get to maintain the lifestyle you love and a job you love.

Remember, “push up” and not out! You’re there to help, not take over. You want a great job and a great lifestyle not a big job with no lifestyle.

I can already hear people out there saying, “I just need a job.” Being honest, focused and telling hiring managers what you want them to hear is the most effective way to get hired.