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Why Can’t We Be (B)Older?

Written by Debra Olshan Cooper,
President and Founder of Your Career Design lab

I am 65 years old. I say that loud and proud.

When I began Your Career Design Lab, it was to help today’s young adults find their path. As I say in my pitch: I architect, design, and curate young adults so that are able to find their dream careers. What I have found is that my older clients need and want the same attention.

Owning your (B)oldness

Recently, a woman in her 60’s contacted me about not understanding why her resume was looked over. Why the 30-year-old hiring managers could not relate to her or her background. This woman, I will call her Susan, was a hugely accomplished person who was the visual merchandiser for the Ralph Lauren Store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. An interior designer that had worked with celebrity types in her day and most recently had one of the most highly regarded upscale boutique retail store in Santa Monica. All to say, she was accomplished. Yet, no one could see it.

Why? Because Susan didn’t see it. Why? Because Susan didn’t see it.

She didn’t see herself in that way. So when she interviewed for positions with 30-year-olds they saw an older woman, not a (B)older woman who had value. After about one month of working together, Susan found a huge interior design job in Malibu. We were able to craft a resume even with her 15-year absence worthy of review and thus garner her three interviews in one month for visual merchandising positions!

I soon received an email that read:

“When I started working with Debra I had very low self-esteem and felt I couldn’t turn my life around and nor had the ability to reinvent myself. She brought me out of a dark and negative place and helped me find the person I had lost.

Debra helped me rewrite my resume and cover letter which allowed me to apply for a number of jobs and got immediate callbacks. She is magical in her writing and I’m sure it was her touch on my resume that got me the interview.

I found a great friend in her and could not have gotten to this positive space without her help!”

Can someone who had gone through his life supporting his family, finally support his passion?

Recently, I worked with John. John had several positions throughout his life including being a copy editor, copywriter, creative director, and finally as a private plane aviation broker. At this stage and age, his childhood passions flared up like a burning house, and his desire to produce women empowerment films and television series became his mission.

Can someone who had gone through his life supporting his family, finally support his passion? Within a few weeks of John bringing to me his script idea, I was able to put him in touch with some entertainment industry people who could help him get his feet wet and help him to grow his idea and concept into a reality. To watch this man, become a boy with dreams was exhilarating. Watching him put his passions into practice has been a spiritual journey.

When we learn to attune ourselves to our inner compass, we follow a map that only we can see, our own path. Whether you are 20 or 60 reading this blog, remember that we all take roads to find our path. Some find it earlier, some find it later in life. The maps and travelogues that we presume will be our life’s destiny are often a detour. No one can take the journey but ourselves.

Strange weather patterns, closed roads, we are ostensibly on our own path and at any moment are encouraged to pivot change direction, and follow a different road. By doing so our perspective changes, our lenses get wider, to continue forward instead of staying in our past. We can find a new viewpoint and advantage that help us transform and make our own. 

Tuning into our inner compass following a road that we haven’t traveled before can only make us see that our unknown territory is our way to enlightenment. It is there where we become BOLDER, never older, but way wiser. 

“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth”

Pema Chödron

Every day I get to work with young adults, 19-30 years old, and never see an age gap. I connect from my inner child. The one that through hard work, sweat and tears have healed. I am able to draw upon that feeling of self-doubt, imposter syndrome, not-good-enough, not a smart-enough self that dominated my life throughout my 20’s and bring to my clients a sense of knowing.

My goal is to help my clients free themselves from the chains that we are either born with or have allowed people to put on us from a young age. It is a cathartic moment when someone I work with comes to know themselves in a way they never dreamed and now they are allowed the freedom to be (B)older!

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