About Me

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Fishers, Indiana, United States
Brenda gained career expertise as a human resources leader at a global company before becoming an HR consultant. Her functional experience includes a variety of sales roles in the health care industry achieving success for over 30 years. She is currently in Consulting & Analytics Business Development for a health care firm. Her passion is participating in, writing about and observing the evolving workforce. For the first time in history four generations work together. It keeps things interesting. Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) are redefining retirement and what it means to age in the workforce. It is not just about money. Okay it plays a role! At 76.4 million members strong, Boomers are leveraging technology to continue their careers and the personal fulfillment working brings. Managing a late-stage career requires a strategy. There is no roadmap or one size fits all answer. This blog is about sharing, networking & finding your own right answer to working later, managing your career, redefining retirement, looking for work in your 50s & 60s and reinventing yourself.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Career Wisdom from the Legacy of Steve Jobs

iPads, iPhones, and iMacs spread the news of the death of Steve Jobs at age 56 on Wednesday. I was at a meeting in Naperville, IL (a Chicago suburb) when an Associated Press alert on my iPhone gave me the news. I shared the information with the people I was with and e-mailed it to two others. Later, we saw candles lit and flowers laid out in front of the Jefferson Street Apple Store in Naperville. Steve Jobs redefined media and the tools we use to access it; that is the legacy he leaves us.

At some point all of us will leave a legacy for our families, friends and work colleagues. I was talking about it with a good friend who said most people don’t care what their legacy will be which began a very spirited debate about why people do the things they do at work. We got into the concept about whether people work to live or live to work. Certainly we know the place “work” had in the life of Steve Jobs. He discussed his career when he gave the 2005 Stanford commencement address and a couple of key concepts came out of that talk that are even more applicable to midlife professionals than newly-minted college graduates.

#1: Careers Make More Sense When You Look Back on Them—
Steve Jobs told the graduating class, “you cannot connect dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.”  How many times have you looked back on a career move and thought, “how did I end up here?” Later we realized we were right where we needed to be all along. We met people we needed to meet; had experiences we needed to have and learned essential things. It is hard sometimes to understand that when we’re in the thick of it. We've all experienced it; taking a backwards glance puts a lot of things (personal and professional) into perspective.

#2: You’ve Got To Find What You Love—
Jobs told the commencement audience, “I was lucky. I found what I loved to do quite early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parent’s garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion dollar company with over 4,000 employees.” Then he talked about getting very publicly fired. Talk about a backwards glance---he started NeXT and Pixar, met a woman he fell in love with and married. As he mentioned in #1 you cannot connect the dots looking forward. Apple purchased NeXT, the company he started and hired him back with a salary of $1 per year (he certainly didn’t need the money) and stock options. The rest, of course, is history.

#3: Living Your Own Life—
He advised the class to follow their hearts. “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” Even if we live much longer than Steve Jobs, life is still too short not to step out and do some of the things you always wanted to do. There’s never a “right time”; you’re never going to have enough saved and the economy will never make you feel comfortable. You have to take that leap of faith. I remember leaving a corporate job with good pay, great benefits and fantastic co-workers to start my own business in 2001. As a  one-income, single Mom with a 10-year-old, people thought I was crazy. I never worked harder or traveled more than I did those four years of entrepreneurial craziness. But the people I met, the experiences I had and the things I learned….Steve Jobs was right.


  1. Thank you Brenda. I read in "O" Magazine about being true to your self, finding your calling, etc. I feel like I get stuck in the full-time job rut (I don't think my calling will provide an income to live on).

  2. These are good ideas and I think as we get older, if you are mature, you do realize it doesn't matter so much what other people think. I know in my 20s & 30s, I spent far too much time trying to impress people. Now in my 40s, I really listen more to my intuition and my "gut" and make decision less based about what others think.

  3. Mike from New HampshireOctober 12, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    My goal is to work to live, and certainly I will never be accused of living my life. In searching for some information about Steve Jobs to settle a bet, I ran across this blog. And, I find it interesting that with a short time to live, Steve Jobs chose to spend that precious time at Apple choosing a successor, planning a new building and launching a new product. I am also 56 and I know given the choice, I'd end my days traveling with my beautiful wife of 32 years and our children and my two beautiful granddaughters, but that is the perspective of an employee not a business owner or inventor. I guess that changes the perspective. Nice blog and great post on Steve Jobs.

  4. Live to work? I did that in my 30s. I'm over it.

  5. Thanks for this post about Steve Jobs and it is ironic that it is posted just after turbocharging your career with social media. It all kind oof flows together. Steve Jobs will be missed but his legacy lives on big here in Northern California.