It is not uncommon to witness someone to be employed by the state (government/PSU jobs) till the age of 60 and then would retire with full benefits and pension. However that was not the end of their career, through their experience, contacts and hard-work they continued to work for another 10 years or more as part-time, consultant, board-member, problem solver, or even as a full time employee. I have also known a businessman/entrepreneur who loved this creation so much that all the 3 generation still come to office. The founder of the enterprise intends to pass on the keys of his empire to the kids of his grandson. (By which time he could be as old as 90 years of age)
However I am also seeing people, who are in their late 40s and early 50s. Many of them have been marginalized in their careers and a couple of them are between jobs. What came as a rude shock to them was that when they sit in a job interview:
1. Most likely than not, the potential boss would be younger and might not have as rich an experience as you would have. In a society like India, where the number of grey hair determines your seniority and respect in the society, this could be quite intimidating. After all bosses would never like to create a situation where their authority could be challenged.
2. You might try to project yourself as the intellectual powerhouse, but all along the company might be skeptical of your ability to adapt to the new job, culture and skills that are needed. They would have doubts on your agility, and might prefer a younger candidate.
I am not saying that there are no jobs available, but all I am saying is that the universe of people looking for someone like you might be smaller than what one might have anticipated. Hence it is important to plan for the greyer years.
1. Financial planning: With soaring undergraduate, postgraduate fees and early retirements, ones career has shrunk dramatically. Hence try to save 1/3 to ¼ of your salary every month. Also try to utilize your second income, bonus etc. into asset building investments. This way you always would have enough to sit out a rainy day.
2. Networking: kick your cocoon away and talk to people. Try to broadcast your abilities and make friends with people outside your company and industry. World is a small place and you never know from where does the next opportunity comes.
3. Be in the good books. People switch careers and jobs so often that it is impossible to truly compute the potential downside of one’s actions. The fresher you hired a couple of years ago might be your new boss (and vice versa), the unlikeliest of the person might be asked to provide a character/professional verification.