Older Workers Feel the Heat

In spy thrillers on television, the characters always seem to be young and beautiful or handsome. But in the real world of security intelligence, age has the edge, says Mark Cosenzo.

“We may be beautiful or handsome, but we don’t look that young,” jokes Mr. Cosenzo, 53, assistant director for human resources for the Canadian Security Intelligence Services, or CSIS, an Ottawa-based federal agency dedicated to national security. “You have to have experience. In the real espionage industry, it can be a life-or-death thing when you have to make the call.”

. . . .Age 40 is often a career crisis point, when professionals re-evaluate their careers and personal lives, says Alan Kearns, founder of Career Joy, a national career coaching firm. It’s the age when people most often seek him out for help.

“Employees over 40 often reach a frustrated plateau in their careers and wonder what’s next,” says Mr. Kearns. “They may question the work they’re doing and want a change. It’s a complex time. There may be disappointment or disillusionment, personal issues such as divorce, or a disease like cancer to complicate life. There are a lot of changes for many people as they grow older that pull them in different directions.”

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