Episode #194 – Cleo Parker Returns to Higher Education to Find the Stability She Needs in the 2nd Half of Life
Cleo Parker is a graduate of the Career Pivot community. I want you to hear about her pivot to working for a large university in a role she did much earlier in her career. She even got hired in the middle of the lockdown.
Cleo made some very conscious decisions about her job and life that I want you to hear.
This episode is sponsored by Career Pivot. Check out the Career Pivot Community.
Now on to the podcast…
Cleo’s First Half Career
After graduating from college Celo went to work for a market research company in Cinncinatti but was completely miserable. She returned to Michigan where she grew up to take a position at the University of Michigan as a research specialist. She loved the job and the people but it did not pay very well. However, it did have great benefits with lots of time off.
Cleo has an expensive hobby of showing dogs. The job at U of M would support her lifestyle. She decided to go back to school to get a Masters’s degree in advertising.
She went to work for an advertising agency that did work for Chrysler. She stayed there for over 20 years as that agency was bought and sold multiple times.
In 2006, Chrysler made major cuts in their marketing and advertising budget and Cleo lost her job.
Over the next 5 years, Cleo had 6 different jobs and was miserable at all of them. She finally landed a contract position at Chrysler where she once again worked with people who appreciated what she did. This lasted 8 months.
She got a call for a contract position at Pet Supplies Plus. This contract position lasted 5 years and was laid off in 2018 at the age of 60 years old.
Age discrimination is horrible in the advertising world.
Cleo Joins the Career Pivot Community
Cleo finds the community via an AARP magazine article.
Cleo continues to look for a job.
The idea to her that returning to the university setting where she had been so happy in her career would be a good idea. Cleo and her husband are further away from being Medicare eligible. The university does not pay well but has great benefits.
The University of Michigan has a temporary work pool and they advertise that 30% of temporary workers get hired full time. Cleo applied and was hired into the Engineering School. The job was part-time and was only supposed to last 3 months. They liked her so much that they extended the position.
Cleo’s husband was laid off months after she was. They went to apply for the ACA and were told they were making so little money that they qualified for Medicaid expansion plan in the state of Michigan. It is not the greatest but it cost next to nothing.
Cleo was extremely grateful for having the availability of the Medicaid expansion program.
New York Times Article
Cleo was interviewed for in the New York Times article Why Working Till Whenever Is a Risky Retirement Strategy.
She landed several freelance gigs for an agency that found her from the NY Times article. It was a very positive experience even though she had some trepidation at first being interviewed for being unemployed.
Russ Eanes, another Career Pivot community member was written up in AARP magazine article 5 Retirees Find Purpose in Their Second Act Careers.
Cleo was working as a temp and the shutdown starts in early March.
She started working at home. Everyone thought it would last a short while. Every day her team met on Zoom. Her job was winding down.
Cleo was applying for jobs but then a hiring freeze is put in place. She was sure that she would not get hired. One week after the hiring freeze went into effect she was interviewed for a job at the school of nursing. She started on June 1st without having ever met anyone in her new department.
She is a business intelligence analyst in the office of admissions and records. It is a very complicated job but Cleo is learning all of the systems.
Cleo realized that she is creative but needs the work structure. She is ’employee’ material.
Being Part of the Career Pivot Community
Cleo got a lot of support from the community and loved knowing she was not alone.
She was inspired by many because of their successes. She saw the changes in people who worked through the book Positive Intelligence and went through the accompanying program.
Cleo picked up the audio version of Positive Intelligence and found it very valuable.
She found a lot of people that she could bounce ideas off of.
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