From Business Owner to Employee After 50

We’ve often heard how people over 50 go into business for themselves after losing their jobs. While some always wanted to own their own businesses, many are frustrated by the lack of job opportunities and difficulty getting a job at a certain age.

What we don’t hear about so much is an example of someone who goes from owning a business to becoming an employee after 50. It’s challenging enough to go from business owner to employee at any age — but after 50, the job market is even tougher.

One member of our mermaid community, Betsy Silverfine, of Delray Beach, FL, did just that. After owning a business for 10 years while her children were young, she decided, after 50, that she wanted to shift gears and become an employee.

I interviewed Betsy to learn how she went about getting her job. These tips might be useful to other 50+ mermaids looking to make a career change.

Margie Zable Fisher: Betsy, tell us about your new position.

Betsy Silverfine: I am the Annual Giving Officer for Hadassah Medical Organization covering the state of FL (except the Panhandle). My responsibilities include increasing annual giving in the various regions in FL and sustaining Hadassah with giving that continues each year When someone becomes an Annual Giver, they join a vast group of women and men across the country that together ensure continuity of Jewish values, provide support for tomorrow’s medical miracles and secure a bright future for the next generation.

Margie Zable Fisher: You owned your own consulting and communications business for the last 10 years. What made you decide to go back to being an employee?

Betsy Silverfine: After I had my second child, I decided to start my own business, which offered me the flexibility I needed at that time. I had been employed in the past and had enjoyed those experiences. Recently, as my children have gotten older, I began looking for a new challenge, where I could work for one organization and focus all my efforts there.

Margie Zable Fisher: Many people would like to make a career change after 50, but it can be daunting. What did you do to make that transition?

Betsy Silverfine: I took several steps:

  • I got free job search help from my local Jewish Family Services’ Comeback Career Program. The program provided help with resumes, interview tips, and more. There are programs for all kinds of job seekers, it’s free and available to anyone in the community.
  • I updated my resume with help from the Comeback Career Program and friends whose opinion I respected.  
  • I networked every day. Each day I would have a goal to talk to people and get several referrals from them. I attended many networking events and “got out there” even when I didn’t feel like it.
  • I made sure my LinkedIn profile was up-to-date.
  • I got a new headshot.
  • I never gave up!

Margie Zable Fisher: How did you find this job?

Betsy Silverfine: A recruiter found me on LinkedIn. I had the skills and background that the organization was looking for.

Margie Zable Fisher: What do you like most about your job?

Betsy Silverfine: I work for a non-profit and truly believe in the cause. At this point in my life, with two children at home, family flexibility is most important.

I could not have a 9-5 office job. I work at night and weekends at times as that is when a lot of meetings take place, but I don’t mind that at all. If I work a weekend day, I can switch it for a weekday. Luckily, I have a very helpful husband! And I enjoy the travel around the state — a little bit of different scenery never hurts!

While this wasn’t the reason I took the position, it was nice to get health insurance for the family. My husband has his own business, and when he carried the insurance for the family, it was a big expense, so this has been helpful. And after years of working for myself, it’s nice to get a steady paycheck.

Margie Zable Fisher: What other tips would you suggest for people over 50 looking to make a work change?

Betsy Silverfine: Don’t give up. It’s important to make a great first impression. Follow up on every job lead. Most people don’t, and opportunities present themselves in all kinds of places. That’s why it’s important to talk about your job goals to everyone you meet — at events with friends or family, even strangers. You never know what door will open for you!