I am tired of bad news. The anchors on my favorite business channel seem delighted to report our retirement accounts are plummeting. Violence rings out around the globe from riots in
London to shocking hate crimes in . And, the weather? It’s just weird—the snowiest of winters, the wettest of springs and now the hottest of summers. Mississippi
Aging in the workforce? I know millions of experienced people struggling to find work and even more mature workers are exhausted trying to stay relevant in their careers. Others, isolated, depressed and discouraged, have simply dropped out of the job market. What is going to happen to them long-term? It is frightening.
Where is the coming labor shortage that is supposed to make Corporate America lure Baby Boomers back to work with high salaries and workplace flexibility to save the economy? While we wait, there is a silver lining and it is the late bloomers, comeback stories and reinventions by ordinary and extraordinary people. I’ll focus on names you know well. However, for each of the celebrities, there are 10 ordinary people in communities everywhere being resilient. We can all make the choice to either sit on the sidelines or just run with what life has given us and see where we end up.
The most famous late-bloomer and comeback story is Harlan Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. After many careers, some more successful than others; he franchised his first KFC at age 65 years old. Nine years later (in 1964) he sold it for $2 million dollars. Sanders pioneered branding. At age 70 he began only going out in public with the white suit & string tie. He did public appearances for a fee well into his 80s. He died at 90 years old.
Clara Peller was “discovered” at age 80 by an ad agency. The next year, she delivered the iconic line, “Where’s the Beef” in the famous 1984 Wendy’s commercial. Before her death she appeared in movies, made more commercials, managed to get sued by Wendy’s and appeared on Wrestlemania.
Betty White at age 89 years old is everywhere! Many people remember her in the Golden Girls. Maybe you are like me and remember her from the Mary Tyler Moore show. Her May 2010 appearance on Saturday Night Live (with musical guest, Jay-Z) garnered the show’s highest ratings since November 2008.
Diane Rehm is a 75-year-old NPR host with an internationally syndicated radio show reaching 2.2 million listeners a week including Armed Forces Radio and Sirius satellite. Despite an illness that sidelined her career in 1998 when she was diagnosed with a voice disorder, she persevered to win a 2009 Peabody Award.
A few other notables include the U.S. Senator from
, where I live, Richard Lugar. He’s 79 years old and is the state’s longest serving senator. Actress, Writer and activist, Ruby Dee won a Grammy for Best Spoken Word album when she was 83-years old in 2007 and she still books speaking engagements. Actor Morgan Freeman, 72, was honored with the AFI, Lifetime Achievement Award this summer. This year, Suzanne Somers turns 65, along with Dolly Parton, Donald Trump, former President Clinton and Indiana Cher—they are all keeping busy in their own right. So What’s Your Next Chapter?
Remember, there is plenty of time to find your passion and bloom, to reinvent yourself or even to make a comeback. This week—Smile and Stay Encouraged.