Meet Louise - she recently landed a new job at an age-friendly employer
Age-friendly Employer: FSCS
Current role: Project Manager (Scrum Master)
Age at time of interview: 57
Length of time at FSCS: 6 months
Some people might be daunted by searching for a new job aged 57. But not Louise. She took a positive, proactive approach and found a project manager role at the FSCS that suits her perfectly. Her advice to others? Keep learning and moving forward. You owe it to yourself to feel as alive and fulfilled as possible every day.
It wasn’t all plain sailing when I was looking for this job. I’d had a successful career at Lloyds Banking Group, which ended with a tough redundancy, followed by a new career at Essex County Council, which ended with a much more positive experience of redundancy.
When I first left Essex County Council, I did wonder who was going to employ me next, and it shook my confidence when organisations told me I was over-qualified, when really I think they meant I was too old.
The power of taking a leap
However, I’ve always embraced change, whether it’s making the leap from the private to the public sector, learning new Scrum Master project management skills or starting to mentor in schools.
So I decided to be much more proactive in my job hunt and target a hybrid organisation that married the public and private sector. That’s how I came across the FSCS.
Seizing new opportunities
It’s early days here, but I love the variety of my job and the chance to do so much training and self-development work. I’ve always purposely thrown myself into new opportunities, because I think it’s so important to learn new skills. That’s what keeps me fresh and vibrant. And in terms of employment, it differentiates me from my peer group.
Tapping into older workers’ experience
As an age-friendly employer, the FSCS has a huge amount to gain, especially as older people will continue to represent a growing proportion of the working population.
One clear benefit is that the organisation can tap into the experience of older workers. Many of our customers are of a similar age group to myself. So people my age often have a greater natural empathy with our customers, and understand how they might be feeling.
And from a staff point of view, when you’ve been through many chapters in your life, you’re in a good position to help out younger colleagues. For example, I’ve had conversations with women who are concerned about going on maternity leave and with people who are stressed about looking after elderly parents. Hopefully, my life experience means I’ve been able to offer some support.
What older people can learn from younger generations
There’s been such a shift in working patterns that I think the older generation also has a lot to learn from younger members of staff. When I started my career, you very much had a job for life, with maybe one or two roles within that. Now, though, there’s an expectation that you will develop a portfolio career. I find that quite refreshing and it’s helpful to work alongside younger people who can help me think about what I might want to do next.
So what do I want to happen next? I’ve only been at the FSCS for six months and am enjoying it, so I’d like that to continue. I want to carry on working in the project management space, continuing to deliver change to the best of my ability. And, of course, I want to carry on learning new skills.
Outside work, I’m keen to help my teenage daughters as they move into new phases of their studies and I’m considering setting up a rental holiday home business in Norfolk. I’d also like to put more emphasis on my physical health and recently completed the ‘Couch to 5k’ challenge and now I’m looking for the next step in terms of pushing myself further.
What's Great About The FSCS?
Your opinion counts, whatever your age
It’s so important to me that the FSCS is an age-friendly employer. That was the key reason why I took on this role. Even so, I’ve been surprised about the individual contribution I can make. I’ve only been here six months, but just in that short space of time, people have been very receptive to my ideas. In other organisations, I’ve often felt that because I was a certain age, people were less inclined to listen and reflect on my contribution.
Flexible working helps me balance my life
The FSCS recognises that people have caring responsibilities and supports flexible working wherever possible. I work from home two days a week, which makes it easier for me to be there for my two teenage daughters and my partner’s elderly parents who have mobility issues. I certainly wouldn’t be able to do my job without flexible working.
It’s a very supportive working environment
Even though we’re in the City of London, which is usually a very competitive place to work, I don’t get the impression that people at the FSCS are in competition with each other. It’s very much a community and a team effort. This makes it a much more invigorating and refreshing working environment and enables me to perform at my very best.
“The FSCS has a very extensive on-boarding programme so from the very beginning I felt part of a team”
Project Manager, FSCS
Louise's career journey
Louise's advice to others
Made redundant? Ask people what your strengths are
My second redundancy was voluntary, so I felt more empowered during the process. But my previous (and first) redundancy really knocked my confidence. In that situation, it made all the difference having a network of friends and colleagues around who were able to give me an honest, supportive appraisal of my strengths while keeping an eye out for potential job opportunities for me. They told me what my talents were, from their perspective, and that enabled me to focus on selling those strengths to potential new employers. That’s how I landed the job with Essex County Council.
Never stop learning!
If you’re 50 plus, I’d say always keep learning and moving forward with your career. It’s important to set yourself challenges, stretch yourself and break new ground. When you learn new skills, you often surprise yourself with how much you can achieve. You enjoy it, it makes you feel more alive and it leads to a more fulfilling life overall.
Trust your transferable skills
Even at the beginning of my career, I often put myself in situations where, technically, I didn’t know the job but knew I had the capability and enthusiasm to learn it. That’s put me in a position of strength. Potential employers can see that you may not necessarily have experience in a certain area, but that you have a track record of success in working in a multitude of different environments.
Twin town committee member, fundraising activities via murder mysteries and quiz nights. Member of a book club and enjoys gardening.
Just some of Louise’s interests and side hustles
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