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How Boosting Confidence Can Build Job Opportunities 

Shark Tank’s Daymond John offers tips on how older workers can overcome age bias

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For older workers, lack of confidence — in their place in today’s workforce, their skills and their ability to overcome obstacles — can be problematic. But by thinking about using their skills in new ways and making sure to learn from other age groups, experienced workers can build self-esteem and success, according to Daymond John.

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For example, John, an entrepreneur who launched the $6 billion fashion brand FUBU and stars on the television show Shark Tank, shared the story of a magazine photo shoot he recently posed for. During the session, the photographer — who had worked in the industry for more than three decades — told John about his frustrations with how smartphones and other new technologies were changing his profession.

“He took his camera and said, ‘You know, I used to get paid so much, but look at all these kids around here. Everyone has a camera,’ ” John recalls. With his eye for an opportunity and more than a decade of offering advice to hopeful entrepreneurs, John instantly spotted the possibilities. 

“I said, ‘You have a whole new business area. If everyone has a camera, then everybody wants to learn from you. You’ve been doing it for 30 years. What if there were 10,000 kids giving you $5 a month to subscribe to you showing them how to take wildlife shots or food shots or use the proper filters? Think about that business right there.’

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“People have to find ways to change, and it builds confidence once you start,” John says.

That’s not always easy, as John recognizes. Older adults can find themselves looking for new jobs or careers after they have been laid off because of changes in their professions, often due to technology. And others experience age discrimination — either in the workplace or on the job hunt — that can undermine their self-esteem and determination. According to AARP research, 76 percent of older workers list age discrimination as a reason they would not be confident they could get another job within three months if their job was eliminated. 

When he launched his fashion brand FUBU over 30 years ago, John certainly faced his own share of difficulties. He said he had to close the fledgling fashion line three separate times before he and his partners figured out how to make the business work.

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AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.

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Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.