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I have just accepted an early retirement package after 25 years of working as an engineer in a high-tech company.
I enjoyed my work but always daydreamed of doing outdoor work, immersing myself in nature and playing a role in preserving our environment. I have been a lifelong birder. I am 55 years old, in good health, my wife continues to work and our kids are grown and on their own. I can afford to take a pay cut but still need to have an income.
Is this ‘daydream’ a flight of fancy or something I should really consider?
I value our thoughts on this.
—Brian the bird lover engineer
What would the world be without our daydreams! Some of the best inventions, innovative ideas and remarkable people have started with their dreams!
But does that mean to throw caution to the wind and look to hug trees for a living??? Not necessarily.
I’ve had several clients in your situation and the prudent thing to do is to make a transition and exploration plan.
Identify the key values and work style preferences that drive you. Reflect on the actually skills and strengths you bring to a work environment.
Then begin your research. Look for organizations that support the outdoors and the environment. Set up informational interviews with staff members there. Informational interviews are typically 30 min sessions where you ask to get the inside scoop on a job or profession.
You are not there to ask for a job. You are to prepare some thoughtful questions so you can learn more about what it’s really like to do a job for an organization you are attracted to. Also, assess what your financial income needs will be. Perhaps you might set up a lifestyle where you work part time as an engineer and part time as a volunteer, outdoors, supporting a cause you love. Brian, this is the time for careful planning, exploration and discovery.
It is often the time people come to see a coach to help build and execute on a transition plan that includes accountability and structure. Most folks need that.
Good luck and may your dreams take flight!
I’m a lawyer and I’ve always loved my work. I’ve been at the same firm for 8 years and was on track toward being partner within the next couple of years. I’ve earned consistently glowing reviews and pride myself in using good, careful judgement in all of my business dealings and I have a robust and growing client base. The problem started three months ago when I was assigned to work for a new partner in the firm. He is the most controlling manager I have ever had. I can’t make any decisions without him looking over my shoulder.
In fact, he asks me to review, in advance, any and all client communication. It is counterproductive, demoralizing and frankly, I have never been this frustrated and unhappy in my work before. My wife can’t stand to see me this miserable. Should I just quit and look for a new job?
—Larry, who at present is a very unhappy lawyer
I feel for you. This sounds like a very uncomfortable and difficult situation and unfortunately, one that is not that uncommon.
You and your manager have a style clash. You tend to be an independent worker and he is very high on control. I suggest that you consider not taking his behavior too personally. Why? He either has been treated this way himself and is modeling familiar behavior or, more likely, he has probably been burned before by subordinates who acted impulsively or improperly and the consequences fell to him.
My suggestion is that you ask to talk to him about the style situation, and how you really want to earn his trust.
Suggest that for the next say 3-week period, you meet with him on a daily basis, and discuss not only your current workload, but communicate your strategies and your thinking in full. Let him get to know you and become comfortable with your judgement and decision making style. Additionally, send him a detailed full status report twice a week with any special concerns, red flags or questions. After that 3-week period, ask for feedback, and if it’s positive, ask him if you can meet less frequently but continue to do weekly detailed status reports.
Larry, I have seen this strategy work, a systematic process of earning trust toward more independence.
Best of luck to you and onward to earning your partnership in the firm.
—Joan, the career coach
An easy, eight-step guide to self-discovery that lets you make the most of your later years.
We are living longer and healthier lives than ever before. Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are heading into retirement in droves (about 10,000 a day, in fact). Joan Tabb is on a mission to bring the best of them to this new stage of life—one she terms as “Revitalment.” Her new book, Building Blocks for the New Retirement: An Easy, Interactive 8-Step Guide for a Retirement with Meaning, Purpose and Fun (Great In 8 Coaching, 2018) reinvigorates the retirement paradigm for Baby Boomers age 55+ and shows us how to channel our energy into opportunities for meaning, purpose and fun. She answers the key question: How do you best use your gifts of time, energy and experience?
Tabb takes readers from confused and worried to confident and energized. In her interactive “seminar in a book,” she walks them step-by-step through eight areas of exploration, prompting readers to examine goals and aspirations around their abilities, relationships, community, legacy and more. Her process hones in on what will bring the most satisfaction through this next stage of life.
Not long ago, many women, after the first blush of their youthful beauty and the beyond their child-rearing days, felt their lives no longer had meaning or purpose.
Those days are gone.
Women now are empowered in their later years and adept at directing their energies and talents in significant ways. They’re living their lives as they want them to unfold—instead of as old, repressive and sexist social norms directed them.
Women looking toward their later decades have opened their eyes to new opportunities and new ways to make an impact with purpose and meaning. Yes, they can still enjoy creating and checking off a bucket list of fun experiences, but they’re seeing how much more they can do.
Baby Boomers are heading into retirement in droves. Each day, about 10,000 close the doors to their offices for the last time. But, unlike generations before them, they can now look forward to potentially decades of vital life ahead of them. They represent the healthiest and longest living generation ever—translating to endless prospects for vivacity and opportunities in their next phase of life.
In this new era, it’s time to retire the word “retirement.” Its connotation of removing ourselves from the mainstream and biding time with card playing and porch sitting is a throwback. A better term for this stage of life is “ReVitalment”—reflecting a time of meaning, purpose and fun, and for activating the best part of you.
However, many in the 55-plus age range are daunted by the thought of 24-7 freedom. They can’t fathom how to replace the purpose and structure their careers offer. For these people who are about to exit the workforce, a process of self-inquiry and investigation can help in defining what will bring them the most satisfaction in this coming stage of life.
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, with distribution throughout Sonoma County, has asked Joan to be a columnist focusing on providing career advice to the readership.
Her online blog will be called:
DEAR COACH JOAN: CAREER ADVICE
Readers will be asked to submit their career and job related questions directly to Joan (firstname.lastname@example.org) and in each weekly column she will select 2-3 questions to focus on. She will also inform the community about new trends, strategies and insights in the dynamic world of career development and management.
Stay tuned for the launch date and link to the site.
More and more I find clients coming to me after many years of a career that was all consuming but not necessarily all inspiring. And for a myriad of reasons they are now faced with choices to make. Livelihood, though typically important, is sometimes not the only driver in their decision making. Many people are waking up to the idea that they are not going to live forever, and if they don’t get around to the things that made up their dreams and underlying interests and curiosity, they might be sorry.
A current client of mine is in a very uncomfortable situation in her career. She just received her performance review and it wasn’t what she was expecting. Not at all. She’d been at the company for over two years and had had stellar reviews from her past two managers. And she thought her performance, this time, was at the same level. And the self-assessment she wrote up for her manager was equivalent to the ones she had submitted to her first two managers.
Yet the outcome was entirely different. And the review, though reflective of the work she did, put emphasis on what she considers the small areas of challenges that she faces yet some of her most important accomplishments were missing or given passing notice.
1) Define Your Strengths: It’s important to take some time to identify your key strengths, skills and accomplishments. Especially if you were laid off, it is vital that you recognize that the parting of ways from your last employer is only one small piece of your career history. Take time to enumerate at least three key areas of strength and for each one, write out an anecdote complete with specifics to make it come alive and become memorable. Practice discussing those capabilities. Feel free contact me for a complimentary career tool called CONFIDENCE CARDS, a powerful card-set where you write out your strengths and supporting information and they can be used to articulate, affirm and practice winning and unique positioning. Contact me at email@example.com for a complimentary phone consultation including the CONFIDENCE CARDS.
Here are eight ways to increase your power and standing as a woman in the workplace:
1. Have your emotional expression match your content.
When you are delivering serious, factual information state it with authority, not with a smile. You are not delivering a happy birthday cake; you are delivering serious business information. No need to soften the message. Yes, you can use your smile socially for meeting and greeting in the business environment, and for delivering positive news, but don’t use the smile as a nervous gesture or a fallback expression of subordination.
2. React thoughtfully, not emotionally.
Slower reactors are perceived as more powerful and more in-control. Be aware and conscious of when a comment triggers your emotions. Practice pausing. Think, reflect and choose to respond. Or choose to respond later. Most situations do not require an immediate reaction. Whenever you feel anger or hurt rising inside, take a break—separate from the emotion, especially in business settings. Reactive types are viewed as weak.