APPRENTICE star and West Ham United vice-chair Karren Brady answers your careers questions and meets an inspirational CEO.
Here she gives a reader advice on how to find the perfect job in her fifties and how to go about changing professions.
Q) I’m 50 and have always worked in retail. I went part-time after I had children, but when my ex and I divorced and the kids were a bit older, I went back to working full-time.
I know I still have almost 20 years of work ahead of me before I can retire, and I just can’t imagine still doing this job in 10 years’ time – I’m not sure my poor feet will cope with running around the shop floor all day!
It feels like it’s now or never when it comes to changing jobs, but I’m not sure what other roles I could do, especially given my age, which I know will go against me. What do you think?
Jan, via email
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A) You’re younger than I am, and I never let my age go against me, so neither should you! I know it’s a cliché that with age comes wisdom and experience, but it really does.
I completely understand why the thought of spending all day on your feet for the next 20 years doesn’t appeal, so now is the time to start exploring options.
Have you considered other roles within retail? Perhaps as a customer service representative – with all your experience, you would no doubt know how a customer’s experience can be improved and deal with complaints in a polite and fair way.
If you want to leave retail altogether, spend some time researching companies and positions that interest you, and look into whether you need to upskill.
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You have time to do some online courses before you start applying – check out the National Careers Service Skills Toolkit, which offers a vast number of free courses. Most importantly, don’t sell yourself short. You have years of experience and a strong work ethic, both of which are invaluable. Best of luck.
- Got a careers question for Karren? Email [email protected]
A Day In The Life Of…
Cara MacGregor, 43, is the co-founder of online wine business Wine @ Heart. She lives in south-west London with her engineer husband Thomas, 43, and their children Noah, 12, Sevan, 10, and Effie, eight.
I wake up at…
7am. I have a coffee while Noah gets ready, before he cycles off to school at 7.45am. While the other two get dressed, I have a shower, then make some porridge, before walking them to school for 8.45am. I’m ready to start work by 9am.
A normal day involves…
Many mornings involve a dash from the school gate to catch a train to central London. But when I’m working from our home office, I place orders for wines, which are delivered to our local storage unit.
My business partner Tilly Walters and I attach bespoke labels featuring three words and symbols to describe each wine, plus a line about why we love it, for example: “It goes great with roast chicken.”
It’s easy to be intimidated by the wine industry, because it’s quite stuffy and old-fashioned, so we try to teach people about what they’re drinking in a simple way. Our virtual and in-person tastings are a great way of doing that.
Social media is important to the business, but neither Tilly nor I like taking pictures of ourselves, so we need to improve on that! We’re both working mums, so flexibility is key. Once a week, I work in the evening to fit in a three-hour bike ride. Exercise is good for clearing my mind.
I stop working when my youngest two finish school at 3.30pm, then after ferrying them to and from after-school clubs, everybody’s home by 6pm. I’ll either eat with Thomas once the kids are in bed, or earlier if I have an evening spin class.
The best part of my job is…
Getting positive feedback from people who’ve loved wines they wouldn’t normally choose, who then ask: “What else can I try?”
And the worst…
Struggling to find time for admin, like processing invoices.
I wind down by…
Going for an evening walk with our labrador puppy Ash, then watching Billions or something on Netflix with a nice glass of wine – I’m lucky to have access to some fabulous wine! On school nights, I’m always in bed by 11pm.
- Visit Wineatheart: https://www.wineatheart.co.uk/.
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