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.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mid-Life Careers at the CrossRoads


At some point in your working life you hit a bump. Sometimes the bump is sudden—unexpectedly you lose your job,  you're demoted or somehow you lose your authority or your rank at work diminishes. At other times there’s a warning of a “speed bump” ahead. That’s when the stirring comes from inside of you. It is that feeling when you begin to lose your passion for work. It is when new management comes in and all of a sudden nothing you do is right (even though it was right for a very long time under the former management).

These bumps are what I call the Crossroads.

Sometimes they happen to you; sometimes you initiate it—but at all times ACTION occurs in your career. For one friend, her husband had a lucrative, but unfulfilling career in the financial services industry. For years the stirrings of discontent were in the back of his mind. But, the money was good and they had kids in college. Then, in the same week, he got fired and his best friend died suddenly of a heart attack. Talk about a BUMP. He was thrust into the Crossroads—rethinking everything. It was the catalyst of a career change at 43 years old to become a teacher. Now, seven years later, he’s a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Administration.

Our careers are like "mini-movies" of our lives in general. They take unexpected detours, have ups and downs, interesting people enter/exit and they require adjustments and like life; our careers rarely stay the same. Upon reflection, a career is like the Charles Dicken’s quote, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”  That quote goes on to say, “it was the spring of hope and the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us...”

So many external factors affect our careers now and moving into your 40s, 50s and 60s, careers get redefined—sometimes by us, sometimes for us. In some previous posts, I’ve mentioned the small amount of time we give to personal career planning. We spend more time planning our recent holiday activities and vacations than we do our career contingencies. Your company is not going to develop your career--that's on you now. It is why hitting a bump is so unsettling. It is why standing at the crossroads can be so confusing. Now that we are fresh into a new year, it is a perfect time to update your resume, freshen your LinkedIn profile or start that blog you’ve been thinking about. It may be a good time to reconnect with your former colleagues from a previous company to catch-up and do some networking. Do some thinking about how you want to spend the rest of your working years. What’s your dream? Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now you’ll be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did.” So here’s to the New Year! Explore. Dream. Discover. Take some time to focus on your career. You deserve it!

6 comments:

  1. Very good point to update your profiles and blogs for the new year! In today's environment not many of us will be at the same job we are in now 20 years from now.

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  2. My career didn't hit a speed bump, I feel like I fell into a sinkhole. It has been a long crawl back. After 8 years at age 59, I am finally pulling in more than the salary I was earning when I was part of a mass lay-off (4,500 employees nationawide) in 2004. I have a great job for over a year now. I feel my experience and maturity is valued by the people I work with and for. I never gave up and I think that is what the people reading your blog have to realize. I worked temp jobs, contract work for a 1099, and been on unemployment w/ NO job, had horrible bosses--read your blog post last year-Ha-Ha. You cannot throw in the towel. It just takes one connection. The right phone call or chance meeting. I feel very blessed now, but I have had a lot of rough times. There are still jobs out there for people in their 50s and 60s.

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    1. Talk about the power of perseverence! Your story is a great one and I hope you share it with others of all ages. It's those moments of discomfort and pain that bring out what we are really made of. I suspect and realize that this is a process that takes place as long as we are living. Congratulations and all the best to you!

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  3. I was reading the post about the Fortune magazine article, your most current post, and then ran across this one. I think if the other moves people to action and gets them fired up, then this is kind of the next step. Get yourself into a company or organization where you are appreciated & celebrated, not just tolerated or put up with. It affects your life at home if you spend your workdays where someone doesn't want you or value your professional contributions.

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    1. I completely agree with this comment. Your working life may be longer these days, as referenced in your most recent post, but life is still too short to be somewhere that draws the wind OUT of you, de-motivates you, and doesn't match your desires for growth and purpose. While it is important for many to work, we can all prepare for that better day when the opportunity of a lifetime occurs.

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  4. There is one truth no Baby Boomer should ignore. No One is going to develop our careers for us. Many of us are lucky to even have corporate jobs and there are people waiting for us to retire and move out of the way for them to move out of their cubicles into our offices. It really is up to us to stay current, networked and open to change so we don't get blindsided and kicked out of our corporate jobs.

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