I recently ran a workshop for a client on the topic of "Networking." This workshop was for a group of people whose jobs will be impacted by an organizational reorganization and who, therefore, need to be adept at identifying future work opportunities.
One topic that we discussed was the upside of having to look for a new job after fifteen or twenty years in the current job.
For people in the Baby Boomer age bracket, the upside here can be a sense of excitement about doing something new and, perhaps, something that they have wanted to do for a long time. It could be a new career in the arts. It could be a new career in giving back to others. It could be pursuing a long-appreciated skill. It could be finding a refreshing way to utilize transferable skills from one's previous career.
Along with this excitement comes the challenge of identifying what they want to be doing as an alternative to their current career and doing some reality testing to ensure that this new opportunity is a path that can provide the necessary financial support.
Another important challenge is for people not to see themselves solely in the context of what they have been doing. What one has been doing is a kind of limitation. However great the experience may be of the current job or career, it does represent a focused path to which one has been willing to limit oneself over a (long) period of time. In some cases, a person can end up shrinking his or her sense of possibilities in order to remain a fit for their current job or career. There may even be a perception of the inescapability of that job or career. The challenge here becomes opening up oneself to a whole new set of external possibilities and inner potentials and beginning to define one's identity by the future rather than the past.
I left the workshop with a visceral feeling of the power that finding a new opportunity or career at age 50 or so had for people.
Serendipitously, I recently came across a blog entitled "Retirement As You Want It" which is authored by Life Coach, Karma Kitaj. Karma writes about the experience of embarking upon a career in retirement or returning from retirement to work. She talks about the excitement and passion that can be part of this new phase of one's life. She provides ideas, reviews books, and identifies resources. I recommend her blog. I was impacted by the positive message in Karma's blog which is applicable as well to mid-career change. In one post she quotes Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot who describes people as wanting to find an outlet for their inquisitive nature and describes them as people who "spread our wings and take flight, to sing a new song."
I resonate with this because of my own belief in the excitement that people at any age can have when they allow themselves to pursue what they are passionate about as they seek to fulfill their potential. I previously wrote about the power of curiosity in human life and work in "The Cultivation Of Curiosity." For me, it is this ongoing stance of curiosity about oneself, about what life has to offer, about what others have accomplished and about what one can accomplish in the world that is at the core of life. This curiosity can certainly add vitality to one's current career. This curiosity motivates an interest in whatever is around the corner - the next job, career, adventure, or phase of life. It propels one forward on this adventure where new satisfactions and joys can result. It fuels the passion that one can then have for the next adventure in life.
A passion of mine is opera. This passion arises out of my ongoing curiosity about music and the dramas of life. I attend as many performances as I can and listen to countless recordings. I have recently taken an extensive distance learning course on opera. I started an opera page on this blog which I thoroughly enjoy writing. I am looking forward to what new adventure this opens up.
When you are open to your own curiosity, passion and potential, you will naturally be more open to knowledge in your environment as well as your own internal knowledge. This will facilitate and enhance your personal career investigations and your work. You will be more open to your own individual vitality, professional development and fulfillment at work. You will be more open to the wonderful opportunities that life presents.
My question to those of you who are reading this blog is: What are you passionate about?
How can you chase it, leverage it, make it happen?