As I looked down, I realized the confusion. Next to my feet was my tote bag, a messenger bag with my laptop, a wipe off board, and a small cooler for my water bottles and snacks. To many, I must have looked like a homeless woman standing with all of my personal belongings.
As we waited, I noticed that men and women in business suits walked passed us but didn’t return eye contact. If we were at a networking meeting, this never would have happened. I was the same person but they didn’t see me.
During the course of the week-long class, the term “invisible” came up on more than one occasion. Some of these women once held high-paying positions. Others were laid-off from a job that they held for years and thought was secure. Having lost jobs, I know the humility that these ladies felt. They were part of society, they had a purpose, and now they felt invisible.
A Pervasive Dilemma
Across town are women who don’t have the same economic issues but who also feel invisible. Who are these women? They are middle-aged gals who stayed home to raise their kids but are wondering “Now what?”
They traded the fast-track for the “Mommy track”. They may have volunteered or worked part-time but to potential employers, they are almost invisible. I remember this phase as well. Fortunately, I did start 2 part-time businesses when I was home with the kids but this almost went against me. I also did some teaching.
The fact remained that I hadn’t worked in an office for more than 2 decades. All I was offered were entry-level positions with ridiculously low salaries or sales positions for straight commission. I was being interviewed along with recent college grads more than half my age.
Clearly, it was time to create my own plot twist and for these women to do the same.
Whether I’m teaching week-long career development classes at non-profits, working with private clients, or helping entrepreneurs get unstuck, what’s need is a change in mindset. You have to let go of the past and start thinking about your future.
You also have to replace “I can’t” with “Why not?”
Both populations of women have more to offer than they ever imagined. It’s very obvious once they start talking about their interests. They get really excited when they finally realize that they can take those talents and skills and convert them into a career or business right now!
In order to do that, you will have to push past your comfort zone. Once you do, however, you may discover something so amazing you’ll wonder why you waited so long.
Dori Staehle is the owner and Chief Encouragement Officer at Rock the Next Stage. She helps people who are 40+ create businesses that rock and lives that they love. She has a holistic approach to business and success coaching that gets people on track fast!
For a complimentary, 30-min. consult, click here. You can also fill out the form on the right for a free E-book and weekly newsletter!