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Interviewing for a less challenging job

Hello, AARP people

 

I'm an epidemiologist with a PhD. I've always taken challenging jobs and worked hard at them. At 56 I find myself in unmistakable cognitive decline. My memory is spotty, recall is not what it was, and complexity of thought is substantially reduced. I can no longer do the job I was hired for. I can still work, but it's time to find something less demanding.

 

I have a practical concern about the search. Employers are used to applicants who are climbing up the career ladder, not downsizing. If I apply for a position that suits where I am today, I'll seem overqualified, and I will be asked why I'm applying. It's hard to know what explanation to give without selling myself short. If it were a physical problem, there'd be no question about why one might go from work that required strength and endurance to a desk job. This is a more delicate matter. 

 

Any ideas? Thanks.

Conversationalist

Perhaps you might say something along the lines of that you're reached a point in your life where you've achieved and fulfilled career and professional goals and are looking to focus on different areas going forward. 

 

I think I know what you're trying to convey but it's difficult to get that across without, as you say, selling yourself short or sending up unnecessary "red flags." I would presume the cognitive decline you mention would not affect your ability in the sort of jobs you may be considering now. I think there's a way to state that you're still capable (and employed) at your current vocation, but looking to take things a bit easier — without using those words. 

 

Or it may be as simple as to say that in those terms — something along the lines of "I'm an intelligent, accomplished person. I've enjoyed my time working at XYZ, but while I still want a fulfilling job, at this point in my life, I've earned something a little less intense."  (Or a better word than intense.)

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Thank you. That's something I can communicate. I appreciate your thoughtful answer. 

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