By Robert L. Dilenschneider
You might feel more like you’re having an easy conversation with Robert L. Dilenschneider than reading his newest book. The genial tone of 50 Plus! Critical Career Decisions for the Rest of Your Life draws you in quickly, as if the author had his arm around your shoulder and was walking with you to a business meeting, giving you mini-MBA advice you didn’t even know you needed.
As a CEO himself who has consulted for other CEOs for many years, Dilenschneider has earned the right to dispense counsel and guidance to the 50+ audience—a group that he says “includes people who are highly accomplished and economically secure, but intellectually bored or emotionally dissatisfied.” He has written many seminal books for career professionals on leadership, power and influence. This is a man who knows what he’s talking about.
With 32 percent of the population now over the age of 50, Dilenschneider offers ideas on how to activate your network to look for a new job if your present position is no longer fulfilling. He also urges older workers to become comfortable with technology and have a well-thought-out financial plan for the future. Furthermore, Dilenschneider recommends making a list of 50 things you want to accomplish in your life—and then get out there and achieve them.
What other CEO do you know who takes issue with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s claim that there are no second-acts in American life, on top of quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson to consultants as well? Dilenschneider cuts to the stressful core of finding work after 50, giving first-hand accounts of people losing jobs. There are actual conversations, presented in dialogue form, on the economy vis-à-vis politics; losing a job over 50; and how clothing defines image in the business world (male and female versions of the latter).
So why do you need another business self-help book? Because, quite simply, Dilenschneider has been there and done that, and he’s a very affable writer who seems to care about this demographic and has seen its collective pain up close. Moreover, he wants to do something about it. One chapter called “Be Technologically Able” makes you realize how aware the author is of changes in government, technology and US job-market history. “Understand that we have moved from an economy of investing to an economy of trading,” he writes, and goes on to add financial guidance that is easy to grasp for anyone.
This is overall charm of the book: it feels like you know the person, yet he is not afraid to express some stark realities of working over 50. Nevertheless, 50 Plus! Critical Career Decisions for the Rest of Your Life still provides advice that feels real and useful. It comes from the heart and experience of a CEO who knows what he’s talking about. In the end he just about proves Fitzgerald wrong—second acts are very much alive.
By Mark Damon Puckett