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I’m 58.5 , was made redundant 3.5 years ago after nearly 30 years in IT. midway i got transitioned to a IT Services company and from then on my career went rapidly downhill.
Like your other friend, i have no choice but to consider a partial or a full career change using my ‘soft skills’ because my technical IT skills are dated. I recently did a 3 week coding course which gave me very very little new knowledge but did inspire me to become a new age bedroom coder which may take me up to a year before i can start to capitalise on it.
My work coach has very kindle encouraged me to capitalise on my soft skills , which is the right thing to do and therefor is implicitly encouraging me to get my career on track with an extra step which will allow me to either get my career on track as i desire with a little breathing space or just give me something to do till i can retire.
At the moment i am on a 5 day training course learning how to be a work coach which will also give me a greater chance of other jobs in the Civil Service. I think i would really hate to be a work coach trying to sell people things i did not agree with. But it would/ may be a short term job till i could get something i could stomach.
The one bit of advice i would give is to start a project plan covering every possible aspect of your job hunt and explore each one as much as possible. It is said that 70% – 80% of jobs are on the hidden job market so setting aside time to explore that is a must. As i write i spend time each week exploring companies on a local business park. Not jys for possible openings but because we have something called mentoring circles which is companies advising us on planning for jobs. So hopefully my research will hold me in good stead there one day.