By Craig Nathanson - The Vocational Coach™
Myth One: Work leads to retirement
This is the biggest myth of all. First of all, most people
simply can no longer afford to stop working. Even for those
who do stop working soon they find their lives are filled with
too much leisure time. Not too long after a feeling of wanting
to make a greater difference in the world will emerge. For most
of us it is the question how can I keep working? It seems now
organizations are hiring the youngest workers at the lowest
price they can get. Just looking around it seems those over
40 seem to get pushed out sooner than later.
After 40, it is mandatory to take control of one’s life
and work. First, only those who truly don’t love their
work want to retire. Otherwise why would anyone want to stop
doing what they love? Our society sends a strong message for
planning for retirement. Despite this it is mandatory to take
responsibility for finding work which last a lifetime.
Just this month Money magazine stressed that now was the time
to increase the retirement saving. Sure, so others can make
money at your expense. This advice is very misleading and irresponsible
I can add. This is like telling people they should save more
for when they die. When you do what you love there is no reason
to ever stop working. So why save for death?
Our education system
Our education system throughout high school, college, and later
adult education rarely teaches us how to discover and do the
work you love forever. What can be more important?
What happens when you don't retire?
You start to place a new emphasis on living, especially in
the present. You are able to make more choices, take more risks
and have more courage with your life and work. Don’t fall
for the retirement message, its outdated and no longer useful.
Myth Two: Do work which you are good at
After 40, for many people the work we are good at in many cases
no longer brings the same joy as 15 or 20 years ago. You are
not same person at 40 or 50 as you were at 20 or 30. Much has
changed. In many cases this same work no longer provides passion,
meaning and fulfillment.
However, there is a tendency to continue to do work which we
are good at even if we are no longer interested. This is a strategy
to retirement and quick death. The best way to prolong life
is to live fully each and every day doing work which makes a
difference to you. That will impact others in a good way as
well. After 40 it is much better to focus around your deep interests
and then learn how to do it. I hear stories all the time from
clients, I would love to do this but I don’t have the
skills. But it turns out that what you are interested in the
most you can learn quickly and can be good at. Do you find yourself
working in areas which others are proud of and you are good
at but no longer interested in? It is time to change.
Myth Three: Work is not something to be enjoyed
The historical view of work is that work should be hard, not
enjoyed, and not even something one might be good at. This notion
has stayed with us. Even career counselors today will nudge
people into jobs and careers which the market wants. This is
the wrong approach. First you must start with work which you
enjoy and then build a market around you. I had a client once
who loved to build model airplanes. For sure, the world didn’t
rush to his doorstep. Also, he had a family to support and bills
to pay. Fast forward 3 years later he owns a model airplane
hobby store, rents out the store to Boy Scout groups for adventure
days, and many related activities which bring in income he needs.
Is he rich by society standards? Probably not, but he pays his
bills and he might live longer. Are you working in an area you
don’t enjoy? It is time to change - no excuses!
Myth Four: Work is for only making money
I hear this one all the time. Work after forty has nothing
to do with making money at a deep level. Work has to do with
feelings of self worth, contribution, deep happiness, and a
sense that your life matters. Also, work has the opportunity
to pay your bills and living expenses. It is a nice combination.
One should never confuse work and money. The best work is when
it feels voluntary and the worse work is when it feels obligatory.
Of course, one needs to make money but the question is how to
make money and live a life which feels fulfilling. There are
many ways to make money. The more important question is what
will you make money at and where will it lead you? If the answer
is retirement, time to change direction.
Myth Five: A resume is necessary and sufficient
It is necessary only because the shallow way we have approached
work in our education and thinking. The resume covers only an
external view of what you have done. This form doesn’t
cover your dreams, plans, goals, and deep desires when it comes
to work. At least the Vita (usually reserved for college professors)
gives one the opportunity to discuss what they are most proud
of along with current and planned activities. More important
is to develop another document. This is your future biography.
I suggest that you write in second person describing the life
you wish to live focused around the work you want to do. 2-3
years is a good timeframe. Then you will see the gap and the
way how to close it. At least now by the time you write a resume,
it will truly reflect the direction you most want to take. The
resume is necessary but it is not sufficient.
I'll do anything!
Recently a man in the audience of a recent talk said with arms
crossed, "I have been out of work for several years and
at this point I’ll do anything".
This is not a good strategy for work. Better to take down time
and figure out your life’s plan around work and then pursue
it vs. wasting away time applying for just jobs. Don’t
fall into the top 5 myths for yourself.
As a result your life will be fuller, happier, and more coherent.
I’ll be cheering you on as you go!
Craig Nathanson is the author of "How
to find the RIGHT work during challenging times: A new approach
to your life and work after 40" and is
a coaching expert who works with people over forty.
Visit Craig’s online community at http://www.thevocationalcoach.com
where you can take a class, get more ideas through Craig Nathanson’s
books and CD’s, get some private coaching over the phone
or using skype and webcam and in Craig’s office, or read
other stories of mid-life change and renewal.
Craig lives and works in Petaluma, California. His office
is located at P.O Box 2823, Petaluma Ca, 94953. You can reach
him at 707-775-4020 or at email@example.com.
Craig's Vocational Passion Newsletters are edited by Anita
Flegg at The Sharp Quill. The Sharp Quill -- www.sharpquill.com
-- specializes in writing and editing for small business. You
can see Anita's vocational story at http://www.thevocationalcoach.com/_vocational_community/_real_stories/story_anita.html
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