Episode 73 – Marc guests on Next Avenue, where Richard Eisenberg interviews him about career pivots after 50.
In this episode, Marc is the guest and answers a variety of career questions by Richard Eisenberg on Next Avenue. Richard asks Marc about his pivots, his advice for potential first-time pivoters, and his future plans.
[1:06] Marc welcomes you to episode 73 of the Repurpose Your Career podcast and invites you to share this episode with like-minded souls. Please subscribe wherever you listen to this podcast, share it on social media, and tell your neighbors and colleagues.
[1:36] Next week, Marc will discuss some issues of being an introvert and a square peg and how they relate to his current experiences in Mexico. A lot of Marc’s experiences in Mexico directly relate to some of the challenges we all face in managing our careers in the second half of life.
[1:55] This week, Marc plays an interview from the Next Avenue podcast. NextAvenue.org is the PBS website for the Baby Boomer generation, where grownups keep growing. Marc was interviewed on episode 3 about making career pivots after 50.
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[2:15] Richard Eisenberg of Next Avenue introduces Marc Miller and asks Marc what a career pivot is. Marc talks about the need to maintain an income into the sixties. Marc is on his seventh career. He calls changing careers by half steps pivoting. In each new change he has carried something forward from an earlier job, including a relationship.
[3:18] The idea is to make incremental changes to get to where you want. It’s much easier to make planned incremental changes. It’s really difficult to maintain that smoothness of income when you make radical changes. Most of us like incremental changes.
[4:00] Marc talks about his pivots, starting at IBM in the late 1970s. He lists the variety of jobs he held at IBM. He left IBM in 2000 to work for a successful tech startup. Meanwhile, he was still consulting, and could go back to IBM if he wanted.
[5:04] Richard comments that having a Plan B is a good idea for most people, in case the career pivot doesn’t work out as planned. Marc made three or four pivots within IBM.
[5:22] On July 11, 2002, Marc had a near-fatal bicycle accident. In his recovery time he made the decision to go teach high school math. He considered that training engineers for 20 years in 40 countries had prepared him to teach math in an inner-city high school. After two years teaching two years, he needed to move on to another pivot.
[6:16] After teaching, Marc felt lost. He wanted to do nonprofit fundraising. He ended up at the Jewish Community Center of Austin. What he learned was he can’t work for a nonprofit.
[7:04] Marc went back to a tech startup in December of 2007. It was financially a good decision but personally a bad decision. He also served on the board of Launchpad Job Club. In 2009 he saw many people wiped out by the Great Recession, while his tech startup was fine. That’s when Marc started his research on career pivots.
[7:46] Marc talks about his experiences with career pivoting. When he started CareerPivot it took him 18 months to stop waking up in the night worried about income. He kept reminding himself that being an entrepreneur is a marathon, not a sprint.
[8:32] Marc discusses “Why Three Career Failures Were Good for Me,” a column he contributed to Next Avenue. Boomers were raised believing that failure was not an option. Millennials embrace failure, as long as they learn something from every failure.
[9:12] Richard asks how to plan a career pivot. Marc says to first know thyself. Start talking to trusted advisors about what you think you might want to do. Get feedback from others about who you are and what you’re good at. Check with work associates and personal friends. There will be some words that will surprise you.
[11:35] What are some of the biggest mistakes people make when they try to switch fields in the second half of life? Marc gives an example.
[12:44] What if your current field is a disaster area? You are branded in your career both by your business acumen and by your industry. Career pivots come primarily by repurposing one of those areas. Marc discusses episode 20 for an example.
[14:04] Figure out what your transferable skills are. Make incremental steps, using your network of support.
[15:30] Marc explains weak ties and cultivating your tribe. People who know you socially also know people you don’t know. Ask for referrals. Marc mentions your kids’ friends parents. Marc shares a case study where a client landed a new job at age 59 through an old work associate after being laid off.
[16:44] Marc describes your tribe as being up to 150 people that you can go to and expect a positive result when you ask for a favor. Make it an easy favor. If you want something, you need to ask for it.
[17:28] Marc advises how to get the most from LinkedIn and other social media. You want to construct your LinkedIn profile so you are found. The more people you connect to, the better. Facebook lets people know how you are doing.
[18:59] Marc and his wife are planning to move out of Austin, Texas to Mexico. He is being very methodical in his planning. He explains how he is doing it. Relocation and pivoting are inter-related. Marc is moving his business to an online model.
[20:34] Marc talks about his partnership with NextAvenue.org, and invites you to visit their site and listen to their podcast.
[46:03] Marc’s final thoughts: Look at yourself. Make sure you really know who you are. Get out of your own head. Work with a coach, spouse, or friend.
Mentioned in This Episode:
Jewish Community Center Austin
Why Three Career Failures Were Good for Me
Repurpose Your Career/Episode 20 with Elizabeth Rabaey
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