Encore Careers: How to Be Empowered by Career Change
You can do more than survive: you can thrive.
Posted March 26, 2012
You might not like change, but like it or not, everything changes all the time. There’s the kind of change you choose, like retiring from your current work life to pursue the encore career of your dreams. There’s also the kind that’s thrust upon you that you would never choose for yourself, like being downsized from work that you love.
What’s important, in either case, is how you make the journey from where you were to where you choose to be. You can dig in your heels and resist change, or open to the opportunities that change offers. You can look frantically to others for what to do next, or you can trust your own inner knowing. You can throw yourself a pity party, or alter your attitude.
Choose wisely and you’ll discover you have the courage to not only survive, but to actually thrive as you move through your transition.
Jean Shula is an expert on navigating change. She left teaching behind when her youngest child started school, getting a Master’s degree and becoming a therapist—her choice. Getting a divorce just as her three kids were emptying the nest was not her choice. It was on a year-long, post-divorce trip around the US in a camper by herself (her choice) that the idea of writing for a living first sparked.
Once back at home, Jean worked as a therapist for three years before retiring—again, her choice. A year in Austria and a second Master’s degree followed, and finally she jumped into writing full-time, an encore career that she chose wholeheartedly.
In the middle of writing her first book, The Coming of Aging: Learning to Live from the Inside Out, Jean was diagnosed with breast cancer. Derailed? Definitely! But here’s the thing. Jean didn’t waste time battling against the fact of her disease, or blaming or feeling sorry for herself. She took care of business.
One surgery turned into three. Then there was the post-surgery protocol. Then the months of getting her energy and stamina back. Sure, Jean researched her options and got all the information she needed to make a well-informed choice about how to proceed. But, she trusted her instincts and made good decisions for herself.
While the book was on hold, she never lost her excitement about the project or her hope for the future. She saw this derailment as an opportunity to take better care of herself physically, and as a wake-up call to stay focused on the things in life that are most important to her.
Jean uses change to fuel her forward in life. Today, five years after her diagnosis, The Coming of Aging is published, her second book is being shopped to publishers, and a third book is in the works. This dream encore writing career also includes traveling around the country speaking and leading workshops and retreats, and Jean’s having the time of her life.
Once you decide to embrace change rather than resisting it, your encore life and encore career choices become much clearer to you.
Lin Schreiber, PCC, is a Retirement Revolutionary who loves helping self-reliant women reinvent themselves in the next stage of life, formerly known as “retirement.” Lin is featured on the PBS series Boomers: Redefining Life After Fifty, and is the author of The ABC’s of Retiring Retirement. A Professional Certified Coach, Certified Retirement Coach, and founder of Revolutionize Retirement, Lin combines her contagious enthusiasm, nonstop energy, and passion for her subject to create a fun, dynamic learning environment that energizes and inspires her audiences.