31 Jul Who Will I Be Next?
These hard economic times are affecting my age group more than any other age group out there. I have an architect friend who, in his 60s, will probably never have the chance to be an architect again. I have another friend who has worked for a large media company all her life. At her age and salary level she has little or no chance of finding another comparable job in her industry.
I am 58 and in advertising. In this business, it’s customary for an advertising/marketing person to age out by 40. Most burn out, most hit a ceiling, some resist changing with the times. Some days it seems almost stupid to think that I can get back into the mainstream of the business I love.
While in New York I had the opportunity to meet several people who had re-invented themselves. I met one woman in Chelsea Market who was a big producer on Wall Street until 3-4 years ago. She now has a bustling bakery business called Fat Witch. She LOVES her new life.
Trisha, another woman I met while on this trip, lost her job in corporate real estate and started volunteering in a non-profit. She now has a full-time job with the organization and couldn’t be happier. Although she makes considerably less money than she did before, she finds much more pleasure in her days at work.
My landlord, a Swiss woman of 52, had been a graphic designer like me. When the economy tanked her business fell off dramatically. She bought her first fixer-upper in Harlem, renovated it, then flipped it for a profit. She bought another place, did the same thing for an even larger profit. Currently she is putting the finishing touches on a multi-unit condo building that she designed and built herself from the ground up!
With the skills I’ve learned over the last year, and especially the last month, I find myself wondering which road my life will take from here on out. With my last child leaving the nest, do I go back to a full-time, structured 9-5 job, working for someone else? It would certainly be good to surround myself with people every day. Or do I re-package my talents into a communications field instead of design which I’ve done for 30+ years? I’ve always wanted to make changes in how we teach our children, so do I follow a passion, start at the bottom and head into the field of education?
Think I’ll sleep on that one. Maybe a good night’s rest will show me the way.