Stop Applying and Work the Relationships Rant

Stop Applying

stop_applyingPlease stop applying online for positions! I have said this at least a dozen times in the last couple of weeks.

It makes me want to pull out what little hair I have left in my follicle-challenged scalp.

Let me explain my frustration.

Contract Recruiter

Last week, I had coffee with a financial recruiter. She works for one of the national recruiting companies and recruits for small to medium businesses. She primarily  places accountants, financial controllers, and an occasional CFO.

She told me that she gets great resumes across her desk—resumes with 30 plus years of experience. She said,  “I can’t get interviews for any of them. The clients are just not interested.”

I had to mutter under my breath, “Why are they coming to you?”

Someone with 30 plus years of experience is over 50 years of age. The only way they will get in front of the hiring manager is through a referral.

Passing a resume through a recruiting service will get you nowhere!

ARGH!! Stop applying and start building relationships to get a referral.

Work the relationships! Work the relationships!……

Resume Writer

I received an e-mail from a resume writer who was looking for advice. His question was, “What strategies can a career changer who is in mid-career use to compete against younger, more experienced veterans?”

WOW!!

When making a career change—a career pivot—your resume is not what will get you that next position. It will be a relationship. Most of the time, someone will take a chance and hire you.

In my six career changes, all have been half step career changes. I had one foot in the old world and one foot in the new world. It was always a relationship that helped me across.

ARGH!! Stop working on your resume and stop applying. Go build the relationships that will take you across into your new role!

Account Manager

I have been working with a gentleman who is closer to 60 than 50 years of age. He was let go from his account management position near the beginning of the year. I have had him working his weak ties dutifully. He has been reaching out to people he worked with over the last 20 years. He has been asking for A-I-R (Advise, Insights and Recommendations).

Last week, he interviewed with a company and an offer should be coming shortly. He did not fill out a single application in the past three months. He had multiple interviews during that time. A personal referral got him every interview.

He has a strong internal advocate helping him at the company where we are expecting an offer.

If you follow his lead, you will stop applying for jobs and work your relationships. Boy, did he work the relationships! It was amazing how many people were willing to help him.

YEAH!!! (More on his story in a later blog post)

Over 50

If you are over 50 years of age and are looking for a job, you need to stop applying and work the relationships. If you wait for a position to be posted online, you are too late!

Waiting is not a job search strategy!

RANT OVER!

I feel better now.

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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You Have a Job Offer – Now What?

Job Offer

job_offerYou just received a verbal job offer from the recruiter. What are your next steps?

If you have been following the Negotiator Job Search Series, you know the following:

  • Keep your emotions in check – a lot of things can go wrong from here.
  • The real decision maker – who are you really going to be negotiating the final details with?
  • The hiring manager’s pain points – why do they want you and how badly do they need you?
  • Why you want this position – are you really being offered the job you interviewed for? Does this position meet the criteria of your mission and purpose statement?

Verbal Job Offer

Now, the verbal job offer has arrived. Because of this, you need to put your negotiator hat back on. Listen carefully to the details and ask probing questions about them.

However, agree to nothing. Do not get excited. Keep your emotions in check. Tell them that you want to evaluate the entire offer once you have it as a job formal offer on paper.

Ask the hiring manager how long should it take to get a formal offer. I had one client who waited two months to receive the formal offer. This was exceptionally painful because my client was unemployed. (By the way, this was from a large, sexy tech company that has an aura of a great company to work for. It is just an aura!)

Formal Job Offer

Finally, the formal job offer arrives via FedEx or UPS. You are all excited. Remember: keep your emotions in check!

  • Health insurance, vacation or paid time off(PTO) policy, retirement/401(k) and any other benefit should be read carefully.
  • Evaluate the base pay, bonus structure, sign on bonus, stock options, and other forms of compensation.

How do these compare to your expectations?

Get very clear about what you want in benefits and financial compensation.

Negotiations

I always believe to start with vacation or PTO. If you have a vacation planned in the next year, put that on the table first. This is particularly true if you have incurred airfare, hotel, or any other non-refundable expenses.

Ask how vacation or PTO is accrued. It may be possible to have your vacation or PTO account filled with one or two weeks credit before you start. Yes, I have seen this happen.

What do you want that is not in the job offer?

Do you want to bring your dog to work?

Do you want to work from home?

Will you be reimbursed for cell phone use or will they provide a cell phone?

Do you want a standing or walking desk?

Get all of these issues out of the way before you start negotiating compensation. You will find if they really want you, they will honor most of these requests.

Salary and Other Compensation

This is where I am a contrarian. Determine what you want in base salary, bonus, and any other form of compensation. If the offer is low in any area, ask them to sweeten the deal. They will almost always ask you:

How much do you want?

Your response will be:

I want to be compensated fairly.

DO NOT give them a number.

You know their pain points. It is time to pull out what you have learned and explain to them why they need you.

What is you BATNA?

Best Alternative To No Agreement (BATNA). What if they will not give you what you want. Be ready with a plan. Do you walk away? Do you take the less than optimal offer?

By the time they have made the effort to send you a formal job offer, they have determined they want you. You are in the driver’s seat. They will not want to watch you walk away.

Negotiations Start before You Start Your Job Search

If you go back to the beginning of the Negotiator Job Search Series, I told you that negotiations start when you create your mission and purpose statement. You write the mission and purpose statement before you even start the job search. Everything you have accomplished in the job search has prepared you for negotiating the final job offer.

Are you ready to act like a negotiator in your next job search?

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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BoomerJobTips – Curated Content for July 4

BoomerJobTips Update

BoomerJobTipsWelcome to this weeks BoomerJobTips Update the central point to get current career information for the Baby Boomer Generation!

Check BoomerJobTips Daily for the latest curated career content. Content is curated from hundreds of the leading career websites with a focus on baby boomer career issues.

Most Popular

Baby Boomers

Social Media

Career

Job Search

Career Pivot

Another way to look at the same links AND MORE from BoomerJobTips.

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The Best and Worst Parts of Freelancing

Best and Worst Parts of Freelancing

freelancingYou’ve been an office worker for ages, dutifully trudging into your job every single day. But now, you’re ready to become the master of your own (work) destiny and forge a new career as a freelancer. And why shouldn’t you, since you’ve acquired numerous skills and experience over the course of your career. Before you advertise yourself as a freelancer, there are some things you should know about this style of work. Here are the best (and worst) parts of freelancing.

The Best Parts of Freelancing

You can customize your schedule.
When you worked in an office, you were basically told what to do, when to do it, and, unless you had a telecommuting job (in which case, you were able to work anywhere in the world), where to do it. As a freelancer, you are the boss, deciding when you want to work, where you want to work, how you want to work, and with which companies. So if you don’t feel like working for a few days so that you can spend some time with your kids, or if you feel like working from your local coffee shop, or if there’s a particular company that you’d like to work for, all of this is determined by you.

There are an abundance of well-paying freelance jobs.

Currently, there are about 53 million independent workers in the U.S., and that number is expected to rise to over 60 million by the year 2020. While you might think that you’ll have a lot of competition based on those stats, think again. There are a plethora of freelance jobs to be found, which is why four in 10 (42 percent) of freelancers have found (and completed) a freelance gig entirely online! And a whopping 77 percent of freelance workers claim to make the same (or more!) money than they did before they started freelancing, which shows that freelancing can be an excellent way of earning a living.

You can do what you love.

Typically, freelancers work in an industry that they truly love. As such, you get to pick and choose the projects that have the most meaning to you. This makes freelancing fun since you’re doing what you love—and getting paid for it.

The Worst Parts of Freelancing

It can be feast or famine.
By far, one of the biggest negatives to a freelancing life is the unsteady source of income. Some months, you might be overwhelmed with work, and other times, you might not have a project lined up for months. So you’ll need to be prepared for those times, both financially and emotionally. You should always have a few months’ income saved up to get you through the leaner times, and don’t dip into it. And you also need to remind yourself that not having any work to do is not a reflection of you or your skills. There are simply ebbs and flows in freelancing, and before you know it, your work calendar will be full again.

You need to think and act like a business owner.

When you worked in an office, you didn’t think twice about keeping track of your expenses. When you have a freelance career, though, you’re essentially operating as your own independent business. That’s why you’ll need to keep exact records of all of your earnings as a freelancer. You’ll also have to do your own taxes (or hire an accountant to do them for you), and keep track of your business expenses—right down to the copier paper and pens that you use in your home office.

You’ll need to be an expert networker.

Completing projects is only one small part of a freelancer’s life. The bigger bulk of your time will be spent trying to land those new clients and assignments. And the way to do that is by networking, networking, and networking. For most people, networking is something that they simply don’t love doing. But in order for you to keep your client list strong (and the projects pouring in), you’ll need to feel comfortable talking to potential clients about your skills, success stories, and previous work in order to garner new assignments.

Just like anything else, being a freelancer has its own pros and cons. But once you know the ins and outs of freelancing life, you can make it work for you, earning a living and scoring some serious work-life balance in the process.
Jennifer ParrisThis post was written by Jennifer Parris, career writer at FlexJobs, the award-winning site for telecommuting and flexible job listings. FlexJobs lists thousands of pre-screened, legitimate, and professional-level work-from-home jobs and other types of flexibility like part-time positions, freelancing, and flexible schedules. Jennifer provides career and job search advice through the FlexJobs Blog and social media. Learn more at www.FlexJobs.com.

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Passion for Career or Hobbies or No Passion at All

Passion for Career or Hobbies or No Passion at All

PassionPassion is a term that is thrown around a lot these days:

  • Some of you have passion for your career
  • Some of you have a passion for the arts, literature or music which is fulfilled outside of work
  • Some are searching for passion and cannot seem to find it

When I wrote the post What If You Are Not Passionate About Anything? back in 2012, I did not know it would be one of the most found posts on the Career Pivot blog. It is found through Google Search hundreds of times each month.

Passion for your Career

When I left home, I was not expected to follow my passion. I was expected to get an education and then get a good paying job. Did I know what I was passionate about when I was 18—or even 21—years of age?

Heck no!

It took me many years to get out of the box and start to explore my passions. For me, it was a near fatal bicycle accident shook me to the core.

I know I am not all that unusual. A lot of my clients are searching for their passion, too.

Passion for the Arts, Music, or Literature

Over the last three years, I have met many who had a passion for the arts, music, or literature. Many of them dropped those passions because they could not make enough money and have success by pursuing them as a career.

Some dropped them completely and, in the process, made themselves miserable. Others pursued their passions as a hobby—singing or playing in church, drawing, or reading all of the time.

I have helped a few clients reignite their passion by encouraging them to just do it. I wrote about Susan in The Arts and Your Career. Susan had been a photographer early in her working career, but eventually gave it up. Since then, she has taken it up again and now it feeds her soul.

No Passion at All

I wrote the post What If You Are Not Passionate About Anything? based on my Birkman assessment. I have a lot of varied interests and I switch jobs frequently. I have no one single passion that drives me and my career. It is a combination of interests that drives me.

I have discovered 10-20% of the population are just like me. Society tells us that we should have a single driving passion. Well, that is just not true for some of us.

As many of us approach retirement age, a new concept has arisen—an encore career! A new opportunity to pursue our passion.

Where do you fall in this continuum of passion?

Are you interested in figuring out your passion and make a pivot to a new encore career?

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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Repurpose Your Career – 5 Steps to Your Next Career Pivot

Your Next Career Pivot

Repurpose your careerWhether you are a Baby Boomer, Gen Xer, or Millennial, retirement like your parents had is no longer a possibility for most. Just about everyone will have to go through career changes—career pivots—sometime in their life. It’s time to learn how to repurpose your career.

Let me lay out five steps for you to follow that will help you repurpose your career and make a successful career change.

Step 1 – Know thyself.

Take time to understand your core needs, like autonomy, creativity, and your own definition of a good team. Reflect back on your career when you were the happiest. Use my Career Reflection Worksheet to guide you through seven areas of job satisfaction.

Many of you have morphed into altered versions of yourselves in order to fit comfortably in corporate America. You may not really know yourself anymore. I use the Birkman Method® assessment to dissect your personality and find those areas where you are no longer in line with your authentic self. Most of us who have worked over 20 years have done this to ourselves!

(More: Career Reflection – A Twice a Year Duty )

Step 2 – Build your tribe.

Who can you count on for help and support during this transition? Who is going to lift your spirits when you slip and fall?

Your next career move will almost always come through a relationship! Strategically build relationships within industries and at companies that can help you make your next career pivot.

Build a team around you…and keep in touch with them!

(More: Strategic Networking – Building Your Tribe )

Step 3 – Act on facts, not assumptions.

We often think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, but when we get there, we find out it’s AstroTurf.

In 2003, I left the high tech industry to teach high school math. I made two flawed assumptions:

  • As an engineer who had taught adults all over the world for 20 years, I assumed that school districts would want me to teach math. They did not! They did not want any guy over 40 years of age (likely because we don’t do what we are told)!
  • I would be able to get reasonable health insurance for my wife, son, and myself from the school district. NOPE! My out-of-pocket expenses were double my COBRA payment. I stayed with COBRA until I could find another alternative.

You need to turn off assumptions and really research new opportunities.

(More: Assumptions – Be Careful when making a Career Pivot)

Step 4 – Learn how to network strategically.

By using social media tools like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, you can target individuals who you need to meet and develop relationships.

Sometimes your best connections will come from people who do not know you from work. When I was looking for a teaching position, my best connector was my chiropractor. She knew a lot of people outside of my normal sphere of contacts.

If you have children, your children’s friends’ parents can be a goldmine of connections. When making a career pivot, you will want to be creative in finding new connections.

(More: Networking Strategically to Your Next Position)

Step 5 – Learn to ask for help.

Yes, I am a guy. I do not like asking for directions. But you’re heading into new territory and no one succeeds at a career pivot without others’ help. Set aside your claims to status and your pride in order to reach for something new where you may now be the rookie. This is hard at first, but it gets easier.

When I went off to teach high school math, I was a total novice. I needed to suck it up, admit that I did not know what I was doing, and ask for help. I found a teacher across the hall who would share her lesson plans with me. For an entire year, I stayed two days behind her teaching schedule.

If you follow these five steps, you will have a good chance of being successful when you repurpose your career.

(More: The Key to a Successful Career Shift: Asking for Help

Special Announcement

As part of the 100 Days on Jobs for Career Changers, FlexJobs.com and Career Pivot are excited to host a webinar on “5 Steps to Repurpose Your Career.” If you’re wondering how to transition your ideas for career change into action, this webinar will be a great resource! For more information and how to register Click Here!
Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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This post originally was published on FlexJobs.com.

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Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

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7 Steps to a Successful Military Transition

Military Transition

MilitaryTransitioning from the military can be overwhelming but there are steps that you can take to make the process easier and more enjoyable.

The key is to begin the process earlier rather then later. I assisted many service members with their transitions over the years and when it was my turn, I was able to have a stress free transition with several job offers. I started my planning process two years before my retirement date retiring stress and debt free.   You can do the same thing.

Start by attending your local transition assistance program, and try to attend two years prior to your separation/retirement date. In doing so you will learn what is expected of you during the transition process and you will meet key players that can assist you. Then begin to do the following:

  •  Take an honest look at yourself – Before you start drafting your resume, spend time reflecting over your career, to include the time before you came in the military.   What did you enjoy most about your career? What are your strengths, weaknesses, and skills? Take time to review the skills, education and certifications you have acquired and earned. What kind of work do you want to do?
  • Research the careers you are considering – The Internet is the most powerful research tool available today. You can find information on the industry, position, companies, salary, etc. that interest you all at the push of a few computer keys. If you know someone who is currently or has been in the position, give him a call. People love to talk about what they know.
  • Assess Your Skills – In conducting the research did you identify any skills that you were missing? Your employment prospects may improve if you get some additional education and training. Are you willing to go back to school to acquire the certification or degree required? You may be able to do so before you leave the military. Many graduate schools have evening programs to accommodate working adults. Leading universities now offer online programs you can take anywhere. Join associations; do volunteer work in the area.
  • Make a Financial Plan – Make sure you write down your financial plan to include a budget and list of ALL of your current expenses. What will change when you leave the military? Estimate that your retirement pay will be and remember o include items such as medical, dental, and housing expenses you are not accustomed to paying. Most importantly start saving money and work to become debt free before you leave the service. Choosing to save will give you more control over your career path.
  • Network – Effective networking is still the number one way people find out about jobs and secure a position. See if you can join the local chapter of the business association you’re interested in, or at least visit some functions as an observer. Don’t underestimate using social media as a tool for networking. Many employers now advertise positions and look for candidates on social media platforms. Set up your LinkedIn profile and start making connections before you separate or retire.
  • Get a mentor – A mentor is someone who can serve a role model who has “been there and done that”. A mentor has a similar experience as the mentored and shows them the ropes. Ken Williams, author of Mentoring the Next Generation of Non-Profit Leaders, says, “Mentors can do a number of things for your career. They can help you build your resume, guide you on a project, and help you identify resources, including referring you to other mentors and important people in your field.”
  • Write a draft resume or hire someone to. Don’t wait until the day before the transition class or just before you separate/retire. Gather your prior evaluations and awards and look to see if there is information you can use in your resume. Focus on transferable skills that are applicable to any work setting, such as being organized or working as part of a team. Keep in mind this is a draft. When you begin your actual job search you will need to update your resume for every job you apply for using key words for the job description.

There are other steps that you can include in your job search but these are key steps to get you started. Realize that change causes stress. Therefore to minimize the stress, identify what you can control and what you cannot, and take steps to minimize what you can.

Include your family in the process and don’t be afraid to ask for help and in turn help others who follow. For more precise guidance and support, you may want to hire a career coach. To help evaluate possible coaches, look for relevant experience, like work in human resources, and ask for references from people in situations comparable to your own. If not, spend some time looking over these suggestions and get started on your preparations.

The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be enjoying your new career.

Carolyns CowensCarolyn R. Owens, a retired Navy Commander, is a Career, Transition and Life Coach and the Chairwoman/CEO of Infinity Coaching, Inc. (www.infinitycoaching.net). Connect with Carolyn via email at cowens@infinitycoaching.net or on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/cowensinfinitycoaching/en

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College Degree After 50 – Worth It?

College Degree After 50

College Degree After 50Is attaining a college degree after 50 years of age worth the effort and expense?

There is a lot of conversation about whether higher education is worth the money.

Robert Reich recently wrote a piece for Salon.com titled:

Robert Reich: College gets you nowhere

The Author writes:

This is the time of year when high school seniors apply to college, and when I get lots of mail about whether college is worth the cost.

The answer is unequivocally yes, but with one big qualification.

A college degree no longer guarantees a good job. The main reason it pays better than the job of someone without a degree is the latter’s wages are dropping.

If this applies to a high school senior what about a 50+ year old who has seen their industry or profession disappear?

It all comes down to what you expect to gain from attaining the degree.

Preservation or Reinvention

Are you trying to preserve or re-invent your career?

I have heard of many going back to school and getting a masters degree in their chosen profession. As long as their current employer supports and/or funds the degree program, it proves to be successful. A good example is getting a Masters in Education, for those in the K-12 education field.

It is used to be that attaining an MBA was a sure fire way to spark your career. I am not sure that is true anymore. Especially, if you are going to invest $100K of your own money. I have one client who received her MBA from a prestigious executive MBA program, and it has done nothing for her. Of course, she received it during the great recession.

In my research for writing this post, I have found nothing that says getting an MBA after 50 makes sense financially.

If you think differently, please comment below.

If you are reinventing your career, my experience is that getting a bachelors or masters degree after 50 is not a good investment, especially, if you are taking out student loans!

I have talked to dozens of individuals over the last couple of years who obtained their college degree after 50. Almost all of them told me it did not give them the competitive edge they needed.

If you are entering a new field after 50 years of age, you will be competing with others much younger than you. The same issues of age discrimination that you found in your old field will likely apply in the new one.

My conclusion is that getting a college degree after 50 works for preserving your career.

It does not make sense most of the time getting a college degree after 50 works to reinvent your career.

Either way, you must do your research. Find others who have successfully forged the trail before you embark on getting your college degree after 50.

Certificate Programs

Certificate programs offered at many community colleges are much less expensive and time consuming.  For example, Austin Community College offers certificate programs in non-profit management. If want to make the leap from for profit to non-profit, this a cost effective means of gaining skills and will give you some street cred in your new field.

I recently talked with Christine Jensen, who I found through her article on PBS NextAvenue website called RIF’d at 59: The Lessons She Learned.

Christine is now a freelance writer. She is considering going to her local community college for a photography certificate. It is affordable and she can pick and choose what to take. She may not even pursue a certificate if she obtains the skills she needs without completing the program.

It all comes down to — do your research!

Have you pursued your college degree after 50? Was it worth it?

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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3rd Anniversary of Career Pivot

3rd Anniversary of Career Pivot

3rd AnniversaryFebruary marks the 3rd anniversary of Career Pivot, which is dedicated to helping baby boomers and others make career transitions.

The Career Pivot website now attracts over 15,000 visitors a month. I wanted to chronicle some of the history behind Career Pivot.

In the Beginning

I was deep in developing curriculum for designing routers and switches using network processors in 2002. The dot com bust was in full bloom. I was traveling back and forth to Asia to train major networking equipment companies. It was then that my world was turned upside down.

On July 11th of 2002, I was riding my bike alongside a local bicycle club. I came down a hill and slammed head-on into a Toyota Corolla. I spent five days in the trauma center, broke a lot of bones, and dislocated a shoulder, but had no internal or brain injuries—that I am willing to admit to! You can read a lot more about his here.

Following Your Passion

In 2003, I decided to volunteer for a layoff and pursue my Texas High School Math teaching certificate. I have a lot of funny stories from this experience.

I taught Algebra I and II for two years in a inner city high school in Austin. Although I felt extremely successful, no one in the administration noticed. After two years, I was exhausted and needed to leave for my own preservation.

Following your passion is not enough.

Launch Pad Job Club

After leaving teaching, I was lost. I did a short contract for the State of Texas as a trainer for a failing project. NOT FUN!

I found myself in a Launch Pad Job Club meeting in April or May of 2006. I saw many others who had been spit out of large technology companies and found themselves…lost. Despite how I felt, I was determined not to return to the world of high tech. I joined the board of directors of Launch Pad later that year.

I pivoted into the non-profit world for a year, only to learn I could not deal with the dysfunctional nature of the industry.

The Great Recession

I was found by a another tech startup in late 2007. What I did not know at the time (and neither did most of you) was that the great recession was just around the corner.

In 2009, the concept of Career Pivot was born. I looked around and found few were addressing the upcoming plight of the baby boomer generation. Every few months, I would attend a Launch Pad meeting—and they were huge!

I left high tech for the second time in 2011 after my boss put me in a highly unethical position.

In 2011, I hired a college intern to do some research on the plight of baby boomers. The numbers he came back with were not just bad, they were awful!

Career Pivot Launch in 2012

The Career Pivot brand and website were launched in February 2012.

Repurpose Your Career – A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers was published in January 2013 and has now sold over 1,200 copies worldwide.

Career Pivot made the Forbes Top 100 Career Website list in September of 2013. Career Pivot has been featured on multiple lists since.

What is very disappointing is that very few other websites have followed. I created my own list this year but….

I am now celebrating the 3rd anniversary of Career Pivot.

What has changed?

  • I see a lot of older Gen Xers with the same issues
  • The economy has improved, but not enough to make a significant difference in most of your lives

What has not changed?

  • Age discrimination is alive and well
  • Retirement is still not attainable for most baby boomers

What has changed for you? What change would you like to see?

Leave a comment below

The momentum for Career Pivot continues to build in 2015.

Thank you for all of your support!

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

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You can also download my whitepaperDon’t Retire Even If you Can and What to do Instead – A Baby Boomer Manifesto

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest curated content relating to baby boomers or join us on the BoomerJobTips LinkedIn Group

Baby Boomer Walkabout – A Moment of Clarity

Baby Boomer Walkabout

walkaboutWikipedia defines a walkabout as the following:

Walkabout refers to a rite of passage during which male Australian Aborigines would undergo a journey during adolescence and live in the wilderness for a period as long as six months.

I have a client who just completed a baby boomer walkabout.

Bill (not his real name) was laid off from his job in the fall of 2014. It came as a complete surprise to him. Bill is in his late 50s and has always worried about money. He has been fanatical about saving his money for retirement.

One Month Walkabout

Bill decided to wait until the next year to start his job search. He also decided to buy a Rail Pass and travel the US for an entire month. What he did not realize was that this would turn out to be a baby boomer walkabout.

He spent the month sleeping on friends’ couches, park benches (illegally), in a rental car, and other odd places. He spent a lot of time by himself.

He met many people who were living a very minimalist lifestyle. What he noticed about them was that they were happy!

He spent a month in utter simplicity. He found that all he needed was healthy food, a place to sleep, a place to exercise, and good coffee.

His walkabout was a true moment of clarity!

My Walkabout 35 Years Ago

In 1980, I was working for IBM…and was very unhappy. I decided to take my own walkabout! I had two weeks vacation, and asked for 12 more weeks off without pay.

The reaction from management was, “You want what?”

My request was turned down.

My boss did some research and discovered he could give me two weeks off without pay without needing to get approval from upper level management.

He granted my request, and I spent four weeks hiking through Colorado, Utah and Arizona. The last excursion of the trip was to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and camp.

It took two weeks into the trip to wind down and relax. By the third week, I did not know what day of the week it was, and didn’t care. I spent most of the month by myself. I met a lot of fascinating people.

When I got back, I was a changed person: I now saw life through a different, relaxed lens. Like Bill, I realized I needed very little to make me happy.

One week after my return, I met my lovely wife. Hmm…I’m sure this was no coincidence!

I considered selling all of my worldly possessions and joining the Peace Corps.

Did I? NO!

I went back to work, got married, had a child…but I did know myself a whole lot better. I still believe I missed a valuable opportunity. I had my moment of clarity but I let it pass!

Bill and His Walkabout

Before Bill’s trip, I sent him a link to an article in the Huffington Post about Tim and Lynne Martin called, “How We Downsized 2,000 Sq. Ft. Into Two Rolling Duffles To See The World.” Tim and Lynne sold all of their possessions and traveled the world. They chronicled their adventures on their Home Free Adventures website.

Bill has since returned home and is interviewing for a new job, however, with a very different perspective on life. He is thinking of selling his big house, disposing of many material possessions, and following a similar path of Tim and Lynne Martin.

Bill has a level of contentment and peace that he has rarely experienced in his life. His walkabout experience was truly life changing—but now what?

Bill is giving himself two years to prepare AND two years to negotiate with his spouse on what is next.

Have you taken a walkabout? If you did, what did you learn? What did you change?

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

————————————————

Like what you just read? Share it with your friends using the buttons below?

Subscribe

When you subscribe to this blog you get full access to Career Pivot’s Whitepaper Library

————————————————

Check out my book which is available on Amazon.com!

Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

————————————————

You can also download my whitepaperDon’t Retire Even If you Can and What to do Instead – A Baby Boomer Manifesto

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest curated content relating to baby boomers or join us on the BoomerJobTips LinkedIn Group