A career change has the power to reawaken your passions.
“I can honestly say that I learn something new every day — a new fact, a new way of doing things, a new way of looking at an old situation," says Jane Moyer. "I had no idea this new career would be that enlightening, but it is amazing."
Like many baby boomers, Jane thought she would be retired and living on a beach at age 60 but instead, she and her husband of 40-plus years, John Moyer, Sr., decided to start a new business.
There's a saying that we work the first half of our lives to make a living and the second half of our lives to make a difference, and Jane has found that to be profoundly true.
When John’s father and step-mother began to need extra care as they aged, Jane focused her attention on helping them stay as independent as possible for as long as possible. And after John’s step-mother died, they moved his father into their home. For 11 months they took care of him, watching his dementia progress, and hired an in-home care service when they needed to be away. But the service didn't provide the quality of care they expected.
They then realized the value of helping John’s father remain as independent as possible and, equally as important, the joy it brought them. So Jane and John signed on to be one of the first franchisees for FirstLight HomeCare, part of a national network of in-home, non-medical care businesses, in August 2010. Since then they have expanded to four locations and were awarded the “Franchisee of the Year” from FirstLight HomeCare.
Jane, who has a very positive outlook on life, found her passion for this new business unlike anything she has done in the past. She says making a difference in the lives of others has become first and foremost on her “To Do” list.
But starting over isn’t an easy task — and neither is finding your passion, like Jane did.
According to 20-year veteran career coach Dana Glasgo (aka “The Cincinnati Career Coach”) about 25 percent of her clients are in the 55-plus age group, all seeking employment after retirement or as a result of losing their jobs.
“Many times when people change careers, out of necessity or choice, they begin to have feelings of fear. 'Did I do the right thing? Can I make this adjustment?' These feelings are normal,” says Glasgo. “People are going in a direction, possibly, that they have never traveled. It’s a fear of the unknown. They have to realize that they can do it. It can be a very emotional time.”
Even Jane still finds challenges with owning her own company — more than once she has dreamed about getting a paycheck from someone else instead of being the one making sure there is enough money to pay the payroll.
So whether you are seeking new employment from a company or venturing out on your own, you need to realize there will be challenges and frustrations, as well as thrills in your new career. As Glasgo says, a career transition is a journey, and not an overnight trip.
For those thinking of starting a new career, Glasgo has a checklist of advice to read before making the decision:
- Make sure you are financially secure before retiring, leaving a job (on your own) or starting a new venture. The rule of thumb: Six months to one year of savings to cover all your living expenses. This goes double if you're starting a new business. It generally takes anywhere from six months to several years for a new business to become profitable.
- Look at your skill set. Pick out the things you love to do and the things you never want to do again. An honest list will help you figure out what you're passionate about.
- List the tasks, non-negotiables and other qualities that would be included in a dream job.
- Develop a “target” list of companies, organizations or nonprofits who employ people with your talents and skills.
- Begin to branch out and network with other people who have similar likes and interests. Let them know you are looking for a new path. Networking gives you the opportunity of multiple eyes looking for a position that is right for you.