When I left a career in academia to pursue humor writing, there were plenty of outspoken and silent skeptics questioning my motives. Why would a 40-something woman with a Ph.D. (and a clinical psychologist at that) walk away from a steady paycheck? What kind of woman, after years of training and building a résumé in science, would shift gears and pursue a future in comedy? The answers were simple.
Opening a hit restaurant has got to be one of our most enduring reinvention fantasies. Paul Giannone is one notable boomer who has actually done it. His Paulie Gee's in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York opened in 2010, and has gone on to be one of the top-reviewed and most beloved new pizzerias in the New York area.
So many things had me start a business after turning fifty. I must have had something powerful hit me to work as hard as I did and want more. I am a college counselor and had an interest in everything college admissions, but it was more than that. I wanted to prove something to myself and the timing was right.
Over a century ago, a Parisian lawyer named Paul Gauguin chucked everything in the name of freedom and moved to Tahiti to become an artist. I don't know if Arnie Cogan is also an artist (he does list himself as a photographer...) but he is definitely a Boomer whose reinvention expresses the same quest for freedom.
Before taking the leap into retirement, we need to give a lot of thought to how prepared we are for 20 or more years without a paycheck. The most important question, of course, involves income and expenditures, those we can anticipate and those that are harder to predict, such as long-term care. And will there be enough left over to pay for some of the fun things we have been looking forward to?
Want to find work fast? Even more, do you want to land a position that pays well and you will actually enjoy? You're likely thinking that achieving the above is next to impossible. After all, older job-seekers hear more than their share of discouraging news. But the statistics cited in these pieces are generalities. In truth, there's a lot you can do to maximize your own chances for success.
Work sharing has obvious benefits for the workers who would otherwise have been laid off: they aren't forced to look for work in a weak labor market; they maintain their skills; and they suffer relatively little lost income. They might even use their downtime to acquire new skills. Employers benefit, too.
Are you over 50 and working for a company that pays you a solid full-time wage, plus benefits? If so, I probably don't know you. Certainly, you're not one of my LinkedIn contacts. Because when I scroll down that list, it turns out that almost every 50-plus person I know is self-employed, a consultant or a 'freelance professional.'