One day, when my daughter was apprehensive about her career future and mine, she asked me, “What happens when you grow old and you don’t have enough money for retirement? Do you work as a Greeter at Walmart?” I said, “Yes. If you need a survival job upon retirement, then you do what you have to do”. Of course, it goes without saying that most senior workers do continue employment not for financial reasons but also for the emotional satisfaction of being productive and useful.
Mid-career is a time for reinvention for some people. There are a number of reasons why people need to remake their careers: job loss, burnout, new interest, family event, relocation, immigration, etc. Given the last economic downturn, the biggest casualty is the baby boomer generation. In as much as the net gen is already pushing them out of the workplace, the loss of value in their retirement investments has made the matter worse. Thus, it is inspiring to see how late career people have reinvented themselves successfully in the face of odds.
Some people in mid-career or late career decide to move out of employment to take a chance at entrepreneurship or self-employment. We hear about inspiring stories of entrepreneurial success. Not surprisingly, a large percentage of professional people I speak with verbalize that desire to “start my own business”. This is the scariest kind of reinvention, not only for the potential loss of regular monthly income, but also of the potential loss of money you put in. True, you may find fulfillment in trailblazing or pursuing the area of your passion but money doesn’t always follow, at least, right away.
Nevertheless, late career reinvention is not for the faint of heart. It’s for the strong and the brave. These people recognize the different perspectives on career management – how change, chance, and serendipity could influence your career development. Even if you’re content just doing what you do day in and day out, things can happen beyond your control that can throw you off your comfort zone – unemployment, change in family status, or change at work that renders it untenable.
It is amazing how chance, fortuitous events, or coincidences, influence career development to a greater degree than we care to admit. It is our nature to try to control our environment and our future, including our careers. To some extent, we believe that we do. However, it is not always the case. Nassim Taleb, in his book Antifragile, presents the idea that we should not worry if we are not completely in control. In fact, he argues against stability, including careers, as he presents the example of twin brothers John and George on their diverging careers. It is an interesting perspective and that which I am inclined to support.
Current realities in the global market call for a new career management paradigm. You may be employed and not looking right now. However, this is a good time as any to revisit your career plan and reassess where you are going. Are you able to take a candid look at where you are at this moment and how you got there? Will you have the courage to reexamine your career goals and try something different? Are you willing to take charge of your career and put your future in your own hands? How brave are you to explore the possibility of reinventing yourself? Consider the steps to makeover, revitalize, or change the course of your career through creative thinking and new possibilities.
If you are ready for this challenge, you may reach me at 416-907-4691 or firstname.lastname@example.org.