Monday, February 15, 2010

Re-inventing yourself: Starting a new career

I came across an adage often voiced by Bonnie Price of, which rings so true to me "... we don't retire, we re-invent ourselves". I am 79 years old and have been re-inventing myself my whole life. I have never faded into the woodwork! I have approached each phase of my life pro-actively and made sure it was the best phase yet. I have learned how to leverage my past and present experiences and passions to design a present that is fulfilling.

I have had two very fulfilling long-term careers, and am in the process of embarking on the third.I've had so many different jobs, taken so many classes, engaged in so many activities, that I would have lost count, if it weren't for the fact that each one was, and still is, intrinsically enmeshed with all the others. Along the way, some folks said I was scattered in too many directions. But. I never understood why time spent taking classes that weren't totally related to one's chosen profession, or traveling, or experiencing life's various and engaging activities was a waste of time.

Everything you do prepares you for the future. It depends on how you look at it and what you do with it, whether or not it turns out to be a waste of time.Try looking at your past in a little different way. Sit down and make a list of all the major experiences and jobs (big and small), training in school and at home, and travel experiences you've had in your life. Next to them, write what you learned from each one (e. g. landscaping, photography, air travel, pottery, cooking, etc). You certainly have been exposed to a variety of occupations and interesting activities in your life. All of these can be turned into careers.

Now, write down the major negative experiences and disappointments you had. Next to those, write what positive things you might have learned from these situations . Don't focus on the negative. For example, having cancer and having to go for radiation every day for 8 weeks, taught me how dedicated many of the care-takers at the treatment center were. I observed the work they did, the activities they engaged in, the hospital set up,A divorce can introduce you to the fields of law, counseling, and social work. The loss of a job can start you looking in different directions. Everywhere you look, there are possibilities for careers.

If this doesn't reveal something to you, tap into your hobbies, interests and, especially, what you might be passionate about (e. g. butterflies, golf, gardening, etc) . Be creative. Make extensive lists of what you find interesting. Get on the web and research types of careers available and educational institutions. Check out workshops and classes at your local community college, or YMCA. Keep and open mind, then make an appointment with a career counselor.

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  1. What neat advice—especially if you're feeling stuck in a rut. I'm in the middle of embarking on a slightly new career myself. I've been managing editor of a magazine for a while, but now I'm branching out into freelance writing. I hope to get more into writing for Web sites and editing novels.

    One thing that's helped prepare me for the latter is, I'm also an actress and have learned lots about screenplay writing over the years. Aspects of that bleed over into novel writing. As you suggested, you just never know where life will take you.

  2. What a fabulous story. Sounds like you're on the right track. Taking skills that you already have, enhancing them and adding something new is a good way to start. Do you have a blog? It's a good way to start writing on a regular basis. And will keep you writing, even when you're taking a break from more serious projects. Have you joined any writer's sites. They have been very helpful to me.