Podcast #158 – Against popular wisdom, your best or most satisfying days are ahead of you. Jonathan Rauch delves into the science and the data of happiness in this discussion.
Jonathan Rauch, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute in Washington, is the author of six books and many articles on public policy, culture, and government. He is the contributing editor of The Atlantic, and recipient of the 2005 National Magazine Award, the magazine industry’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. His latest book is The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50.
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Welcome to episode 158 of the repurpose your career podcast. My name is Marc Miller and I will be your host every Monday for a discussion on what it is like to repurpose your career. If you are new to the Repurpose Your Career podcast, I want to welcome you to the show.
We are back on a weekly publication schedule and I have many great episodes scheduled in the coming months.
Next week, I will be interviewing Alexandra Gordon who is the owner of HouseSitMexico.com. Alexandra retired with her husband 10 years ago in Mexico, but a few years ago she had the opportunity to buy the domain “housesitMexico.com” and is now working on turning it into a thriving business. It is a fascinating story of someone in the 2nd half of life turning on their entrepreneurial juices.
Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for the 2nd Half of Life 3rd edition is available on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Powells.com, BooksaMillion.com and many other fine online retailers. I am working on the audio version of the book but this is taking longer than planned. Look for this to be out in February of 2020.
Now on to the podcast…
Marc gives an introduction for Jonathan Rauch and welcomes him to the podcast. How do you measure happiness? How satisfied are you with your life?
Since the 1950s, millions of people in virtually every country have been surveyed about how contented they are with what’s going on in their lives. People are reliable in gauging their happiness. There is amazingly good data on life satisfaction.
What is the U-shaped happiness curve? Jonathan explains what the data means. As we age, our outlook changes. We cope with stress better. We focus more on family relationships. We feel more contented.
What is the difference between a mid-life reboot and a mid-life crisis? Jonathan tells a personal story about his own dissatisfaction in his mid-forties. In his book, Jonathan shares stories from many people he interviewed. The experience is normal but it is not something to confront alone.
Marc refers to Episode #075, with Dr. Joel Dobbs, who climbed the ladder of success only to find it was leaning against the wrong building.
Jonathan talks about the mid-life feedback trap. Find out where your unhappiness originates before making a change you won’t like. (It might not be the building that makes you unhappy.)
Jonathan endorses the idea of a career pivot for the second half of life. We should expect to want change. As we get older, we age out of “standard ambition” and into mentorship and giving back. Jonathan likes the CareerPivot concept. You keep one foot on the ground.
Marc looks back at his seven career changes by half-steps. Society is not prepared to adapt to our 20 additional years of active life on the upswing of the U-Curve. There needs to be social and institutional change. Marc has no intention of retiring.
What everybody wants is freedom. They all know they need to keep working, but it’s probably not punching in and out for a paycheck. Jonathan suggests institutional and intellectual changes that would help, such as different workplace roles not working toward advancement. People don’t want to retire, become pathetic, and then die. We need to change the way we think of elders.
Marc talks about an interview he had last year where the discussion turned to the kinds of work we will do in our 70s, and how we need to start preparing for those roles in our 50s.
Jonathan’s book looks at the Transition Network of professional women, age 50 and up, who help women coming along behind them to prepare for repurposing their lives. It’s so much easier to transition with a support network.
What about people who want to have everything continue as is? Portfolio careers are becoming normal. Many jobs are going away. There is not a job that is not affected by technological changes of the present and future. If you’re a highly-successful, achievement-oriented person; life has been good to you, you’ve hit mid-life and you can’t figure out why you’re dissatisfied, don’t be alarmed or ashamed. There is nothing wrong with you. You are preparing for more satisfaction than you have known before. The best thing to do is wait it out. This is a ‘we’ issue, not just a ‘me’ issue. There is likely somebody in your life right now who is going through the trough of the U-Curve. Be the support for someone going through it.
Marc really enjoyed this book and learned a lot about his own life. Marc highly recommends this book to you. Click here to purchase The Happiness Curve.
The Career Pivot Membership Community continues to help the approximately 50 members who are participating in the Beta phase of this project to grow and thrive. This is a community where everyone is there to help everyone else. Marc is recruiting new members for the next cohort. If you are interested in the Career Pivot Membership Community and would like to be put on a waiting list, please go to CareerPivot.com/Community.
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