Career reinvention is a messy business. It is usually not a one-step transition. Sometimes, it can take a few pivots to work out the kinks and make the necessary mistakes to find one's true calling. What we think we want to do, or should do, may not necessarily be the best thing for us to do, or the right thing for us to do.
When we think 'reinvention,' we tend to panic at the enormity of that prospect. Maybe we've been downsized from a job that we've held for a long time, or (less stressful) we realize it is time to move on and we know we need to find something else, or maybe our retirement savings won't be providing what we had hoped for, and we need to keep working.
Baby Boomers are often caught in a difficult bind. Many of us are still in the process of launching our kids out into the real world after high school or college, while also confronting the health care needs of our aging parents. Some of us not only rise to these challenges, but go a few steps further to turn our experience into an opportunity to help others.
Many of us are increasingly aware of the countdown clock as we hit our 50s and then our 60s. What once seemed like a future full of opportunity, and time to take advantage of it, is increasingly looking like a looming deadline, and we feel like we'd better get our act together before we run out of time.
When we think about mid-life career changes, I'm sure many of us have daydreamed about pursuing something that was lucrative, stimulating, and did some good in the process. If that dream isn't good enough, how about adding something that totally supports our health and fitness -- AND we can partner with our spouse?
Let's assume that we're all going to hit a wall in our careers sooner or later. If we're 50 or over, and it hasn't already happened, be on the lookout. This installment is a personal story about a longstanding friend of mine, a New York lawyer named Janet Scully who worked for 22 years as an attorney for Travelers Insurance.
Personal reinvention can be achieved through service to others. This is Susan Burton's experience, and hers is an inspiring story of determination and dedication. As an African-American woman from South Central Los Angeles, Burton was incarcerated six times over 20 years for drug-related offenses. Her young son had died accidentally, and the system seemed to be working against her at every turn.
The adage that 'all politics is local' might also apply to social entrepreneurship. Bhagwati (B.P.) Agrawal is a social entrepreneur with a stellar corporate track record who decided to pivot into the non-profit world to address dire circumstances 7,000 miles away in his home state of Rajasthan in India.
John's resume is notable for the range of his experience. He was a career military man, and retired medically from the Army as a 71L, Clerk-Typist; an 11B, Infantryman; and 05C, SCUBA Diver. He had endured physical challenges, including losing the sight in his right eye, and had problems with his knees.