I am 38 years old, married for 17 years and with two teenage children, aged 14 and 16. My husband and I had made a decision when we got married that I would be full-time mother. This has paid off well because I’m proud to say that both our daughter and son are good children and are doing well in school. We live simply, have simple tastes and are home bound. Our simplicity has been passed on to our children. We are able to send them to good schools on my husband’s modest salary as accounting manager in a consumer marketing company.
They are doing very well in school with the good study habits that I had taught them. I now find myself longing to have a full time job and start a career. My husband supports me on this dream of mine.
At my age, can I still be employed? Will a company get me? I have an AB in Psychology degree but have never got to practice my educational background in a paying corporate job. I’m also good with the computer. So I’m like a college graduate looking for my first job. Where and how do I begin? Please help me.
I congratulate you and your husband for the decision you mutually made to make the rearing of your children your top priority. And God has blessed this decision with the good children you write that you now have and who are doing well in school.
Now you want to have a full-time job and pursue a career. You ask important questions such as, what job and what career? Where and how do I begin? Will a company employ a 38-year old woman like me with no work experience and no relevant corporate skills? Vacant positions advertised always specify an age range which can be very discouraging to job applicants like yourself. However, if an applicant can show that they have very good technical skills, such as various computer applications, have good communication skills, etc., perhaps age can be waived.
The first thing to do is to find out what your career interest is and what skills you have that you enjoy using. The right career for you is one that fits your inclinations, preferences or interests, and requires skills you enjoy using.
On Sunday, March 2, 2008 in the Working People folio of the Sunday Inquirer, I advised a 24-year old lady who was in a sales career which she hated, on how to go about choosing the right career for her. Knowing her orientation is the first step in the process of career planning.
Like her, you now ask yourself: am I data-oriented, thing/object-oriented, idea-oriented or a people oriented person? A data-oriented person is one who enjoys gathering, classifying, analyzing and evaluating data to solve problems. They prefer to work alone rather than with people. Scientific careers such as research jobs, laboratory jobs, etc. are examples.
A thing-oriented person enjoys creating things with their hands and working with tools and objects rather than with people and ideas. Various engineering careers, dentistry and dental aides; people doing repair work, etc. are examples.
An artistic-oriented person is imaginative and creative with ideas. They want to have freedom to do what they like to do, and prefer to work in an unstructured environment. They enjoy activities related to language, art, music, drama and writing, etc. Designers, artists, literary writers, and the like, fall in this category.
A people-oriented person is one who enjoys social interactions, are interested in the problems and concerns of others and like activities that allow them to teach, inform, train, develop, care and help others. Teaching and training, nursing, caregiving are examples.
A people-oriented person may also want to work in careers which enable them to lead or convince others to achieve team/organizational goals, or to have economic gain. People in sales and marketing, politics, insurance, law, etc. are examples.
A person who wants to pursue Psychology as a career can be either data-oriented or people-oriented, or both. A data orientation means you enjoy administering psychometric and psychological tests, and analyzing and evaluating the results and writing reports about the subjects who had taken these tests. People orientation means that you enjoy interacting with people for the purpose of knowing, understanding, and helping them with their coping and adjustment concerns. Counseling and psychotherapy are examples of careers in psychology that require both people and data orientations. However, these careers require higher educational degrees such as masteral and doctoral, and broad exposure to people in clinical settings.
In addition, even a psychologist with an MA or doctoral degree can not conduct or teach counseling. The new Guidance Law requires a specialization in guidance and counseling and passing a government examination for licensure given by the Professional Regulations Commission. If you are interested in pursuing higher degrees in psychology, you may need to enroll in a reputable school with a good curriculum in psychology in the graduate level. For information on this, please contact the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
Teaching psychology requires both people and data-orientation. If you don’t want to take formal courses in psychology, you can apply in a private school to teach psychology, if it will accept an undergraduate major. The application process will do you good as you will learn what the requirements are for you to teach.
The second step is to look for jobs in companies which specify psychology as a required educational background. Scan the help-wanted positions advertised in newspapers, if you have not been doing this.
The third step is to prepare a good resume. Since you don’t have formal work experience, you can list down the skills you have as a home manager: planning (budgeting, forecasting, programming); leading (motivating, coaching, etc.). You are probably smiling as you read these. I suggest you look up books on home management skills that can be transferred into a corporate setting. Your computer skills are definitely an asset in a corporate job.
The fourth step is to look at other career options. Don’t be fixated on a corporate job or an academic career that would take you outside your home. Long travel time can drain you and heavy work load can stress you, thus affecting the quality of personal and family life that you have worked so hard to establish and enjoy. Explore your God-given talents and other non-corporate skills.
You could look into a self-employment career with your home as base. Many specialty restaurants, bakeshops, house and garden ornamental plants nurseries, to name a few, were started by housewives as hobbies to delight their families and friends and eventually becoming successful business ventures. What home skills do you enjoy using? Cooking what specialties? Baking what specialties?
You could hone your skills by taking short courses so that your products are marketable and sales sustainable. Look up TRC (Technology Resource Center) www.tlrc.gov.ph/trainingcourses.html for a broad range of courses ranging from business operation/management, to food business, to agri-business, to chemical business, to crafts and others.
What are the needs in your community? If you are very good with computers, you could start a small business center; or perhaps operate a laundry shop, a day care and nursery school, etc.
There are many possibilities open for your. The fifth step is to write down as many possibilities you can go into as you brainstorm with your husband and children, and with your close friends. Narrow down the list until you have 2-3 options. Decide on the best option and formulate a career goal that is SMART, i.e., Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant (to your needs and values) and Time-Bound. This is the sixth step.
Examples of career goals are:
- By July 30, 2008, I am employed by a medium-sized Filipino company as Human Resource Assistant doing recruitment and testing and receiving a basic monthly salary of no less than P10,000.00
- By June 30, 2008, orders for my special apple pie and chicken empanada amount to a minimum of P3,000.00/week.
I hope the above has answered your questions.