Q: I’m 42 and want a career in commercial property management. I’ve been an administrative assistant for 25 years, and need something more exciting and challenging in my life. I’m willing to work part-time for free to get the experience. Do you think there is a chance for an old black woman to be successful in this area?
–B. Washington, Shreveport, Louisiana
A: It’s never too late to pursue a new challenge, though many don’t think so. “Just as there is a fear of a career change in my adult clients,” writes career-change counselor Helen Harkness in her book, Don’t Stop the Career Clock: Rejecting the Myths of Aging for a New Way to Work in the 21st Century (Davies-Black Publishing, $17.95), “aging is a companion fear of equal or perhaps even greater weight that blocks our quest for meaningful work at midlife.”
The first thing you need to do, then, is rid your mind of any notions that you won’t succeed because you are “an old black woman.” If you think you can’t reach your goal-for whatever reason-you won’t. View your age as an asset, not a liability. Consider the numerous experiences you have had over the years that, when combined with the requisite training, would help you excel at your new career choice. There’s no question that you can make a new start in your professional life. You just have to believe you can.
Mail your self-empowerment questions to In The Know, black enterprise, 130 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10011, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.