Dear Friends and Clients,

I was interviewed recently by journalist Kerry Hannon, who writes a regular feature for U.S. News & World Report called ďSecond Acts.Ē Kerry has flown around the country meeting people from all walks of life, ranging in age from early 40ís to 70's, who have taken up a new career path.

Kerry said that this is an important, appealing and timely topic because the bulging boomer population is moving into the second phase of their lives and asking themselves: What should I be doing? What matters to me? What is my legacy? Boomers are working longer, living longer and seeking new challenges in ways unlike any other generation.

Kerryís website is rich with information about retirement, as well as about forging a new career path later in life. When we spoke, Kerry asked about the practical steps that may help us to launch a successful second career. Since our conversation, Iíve been thinking that it is never too early for you to start planning for the career after this one. And in this issue Iíll share some thoughts about preparing for your next act.

Warm Wishes, Bev

Start Planning Now For
Your Next Career Path

May 5th, 2009 * Number 103

Long before the economic crisis threatened the retirement dreams of many boomers, researchers were reporting that most Americans plan to keep working after retiring from their primary jobs.

Aside from financial considerations, longevity experts have been documenting the benefits of staying engaged in productive activity. They suggest that if you want a long, happy life there are many reasons to incorporate meaningful work into your later years.

If you are thinking about starting over after you complete your traditional career, consider these suggestions:
  • Notice the best of todayís job. When we think about what we would rather be doing, we may ignore the things we love in our current careers. For example, Stella was a marketing executive who for years dreamed about working full time in her organic garden. But when Stella retired to her farm she found that working by herself made her lonely. And she missed aspects of her old role that she hadnít fully appreciated, like the sense of community, staff support and personal recognition.

  • See the whole picture. Donít expect your career to bring you everything that you want. As you contemplate your next phase, think about all the activities and values you want your life to encompass. Once you have your broad vision, you may decide to seek some joys through your career, and look elsewhere for others. Stella, for example, continued her second act as an organic farmer, but she restructured her new life to include lots of social and community activities.

  • Work out. Your second act will play out more smoothly if youíre in great physical shape. One reason is that it takes a lot of energy to start a whole new life. Beyond that, if you look fit and energetic others are less likely to dis you because of your age.

  • Polish your business skills. In many cases, a second act means downsizing from a large business or organization. But if you move from corporate life to become a sole practitioner, it is not enough to become proficient in the art or craft youíve always dreamed of pursuing. If youíre going out on your own or joining a small outfit, youíll probably need to understand marketing and other business concepts, as well.

  • Build your network. When youíre ready to shift directions it is great to be able to call upon others for suggestions and referrals. Youíll find it easier to ask for help if you have routinely offered it along the way. And a broad network can translate into a long list of potential clients or customers.

  • Try it out. You may need to explore a few choices before you can shift to your ideal career. If you think far ahead, you can test several options in a small way, without risking your safety net. Look for opportunities to practice your new profession, before you commit to it fulltime.

  • Attack barriers. Are you dreaming about entering a new field but overwhelmed by all the obstacles? Once you have a vision of your next act, make a list of all the reasons why it wonít be easy. Then reframe each problem into a barrier that can be overcome with the right strategy. For example, if you need a new skill set, explore training and education options and plan the first steps.

Want more ideas for energizing or changing your career? In addition to providing executive coaching, Bev is available to speak about a broad range of issues related to your work life. Visit her website at www.ClearWaysConsulting.com or email to Bev directly. Bev is associated with Executive Coaching & Consulting Associates.

Bev’s Tips for a Better Work Life is published on the first and third Tuesday of each month by Beverly E. Jones of ClearWays Consulting, LLC.   Bev is a lawyer and former executive who now coaches accomplished executives and other professionals to bring new direction, energy and enjoyment to their work lives.

Copyright ©2009, ClearWays Consulting, LLC  & Beverly E. Jones

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