The Career Doctor™

by Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez

Looking for a first job? Thinking of changing careers? Facing a lay-off? The Career Doctor™ is a Larchmont psychologist specializing in career counseling. If you'd like to ask a question of your own, use the anonymous form below, and she might answer you here. Read more about the Career Doctor here. Contact information is here.

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Dear Career Doctor:

I have considered going to the community college to earn an RN (Registered Nurse) Associate Degree or one in Journalism, but they require so much coursework and tuition expense. Also, at 54 I would feel ludicrous in a classroom with 20-year-olds. Do you have any suggestions?


Dear JE:

Yes, I do have several suggestions. First, stop feeling inferior about your age! These days there are lots of adults returning to college to change careers. Even if you are thirty years older than most of your fellow students, at fifty-four you have a lot of rich life-experience to bring to the classroom and share with the kids. Most professors welcome a mix of ages, since both young and “old” learn from each other.

That said, there is age discrimination out in the workplace. Journalism tends to be one of the worst. I think it would be very difficult to get hired as a new reporter in your fifties, unless you bring a lot of high-level experience in some field. If you want to break into journalism, the best way is to volunteer to report on local issues for your hometown newspaper. That way, you will get some “clips” (copies of stories with your byline) that may help you get some paid writing work. But beware, writers are the poorest smart people I know!

As for becoming an RN, I would go to the community college and ask how successful they are at placing older grads in jobs. You can also go to the Human Resources Department at your local hospital and ask what kinds of jobs are open to people like you with no degrees or with an associate degree. Sometimes hospitals hire nurses aides or others with very little advanced education. This is a way of finding out if you want to spend the time and money to get a degree in the field.

The Career Doctor

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The Career Doctor™ is Larchmont psychologist and career counselor, Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez.

Her office is at 90 Beechtree Drive in Larchmont, 914-834-1982.