Dear Katie – I need a change!

Q:
Hello – this year I turn 50 and would like to check out of my corporate cubicle. I would like to work part time – but living in Southern California is very expensive. I am not eligible for full retirement for another 12 years. I have worked for the same company for 20 years – and will need to continue to produce income – but the daily grind is starting to take its toll. Appreciate any ideas or suggestions. Thank you. G.G. [note: this is a question I’ve gotten in many times in various forms, this one(seen on AARP board) is consise & specific, I wanted to expand on my response and have posted both here]

A:
First of all good for you!! I can totally understand how you feel, you’ve every right to consider other options and now is the perfect time for, let’s call it a new adventure! 50 that’s young – not too young to quit – young to start something new. Statistics say most of us Boomers will work into our 70’s – that’s another 20 years! I said start, you’ll make that time you’re spending in the cubicle alot easier if you are looking forward to something and planning! Yes, it does take research & work, you’re working hard now and unhappy.

Start with a nice journal, start remembering the things you liked to do, dreams you had. Just start writing notes to yourself, you’ll be surprized what you learn. As you get into it, start a page that lists your values, then one for your strengths (no weaknesses – now is not the time for any discouraging words). Keep this private, the world(friends family) at large can be too quick to tell you what’s wrong, why it’s dumb. So, be sure if you do tell anyone, they are not a negative-nick.

If, changing jobs or going part-time might impact your finances, so be it! Then prepare, if you had to, where would you cut back, what would you do without? Make notes in the journal. Weigh it against the payoff, if, there were a disaster you’d have to do just that. Why wait for a negative reason to be made to adjust & adapt. You do have choices! Oh, there would be consequences but the choice belongs to you!

Yet, I would encourage you NOT to go it alone, you don’t have to. You’re in California , the land of the Career &Life Coach. So there are lots around, yes be careful, start with Google, check out their websites, read their articles they’ll give you a good feel for what they’re like, don’t jump into a relationship with one! Are they willing to answer questions, tell you how they work? Before you talk to one, have 2 others lined up too, so you don’t let the excitment that can come with the first call get you carried away, choose objectively. Look for one that has ideas for, what I call our “third stage.”

Ok, so I’m biased toward the profession but you do have to be a savvy shopper. A Coach should help keep you focused and be an encourager, they can also help you look objectively at where you are now, all your skills, the company your in(more options there then you might be aware of) your goals the lifestyle you want. There are certifications from various organizations, though it’s no guarantee. Some of us have been coaching since long before there were certifications. You want to work with someone who connects to you, who you are.

I’m just saying the investment in a Coach is be much, much less than the cost of the Drs. & drugs you’d need when you wear yourself out. Doing things you love even like, goes a very long way in keeping you, not just happy, but healthy! Two of my favorite books is Max Lucado’s – CURE for the COMMON LIFE, and TOO YOUNG TOO RETIRE by Marika & Howard Stone. Guess I better get off my soap box. Make the most of your day.

Do you identify with our friend? Let’s hear from you.

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