“Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don’t do that by sitting around. ”
I have always had a job. I knew babysitting was not my thing and would never be a career option. And I had overheard enough adult conversations about the complaints of working that I knew instinctively that whatever I did I had to like what I was doing. So at twelve I convinced the top 2 beach boys that I would increase their business along Waikiki Beach from the Surf Rider Hotel to the Royal Hawaiian selling surfing lessons, outrigger canoe and catamaran rides to the tourist’s. I was paid per person and I was the number one producing beach girl [I should mention I was the only beach girl] on that stretch of sand for most of my teenage years! How perfect was that. Great job, really groovy benefits and we all made money. The spark had been ignited.
And today all these years later I still have a great job and make money. Of course I’m not working the beach anymore; I have an in-door job now! The point is I really like what I am doing, the spark is still there. Yes, the pressure is immense, the hours are long, but the work is gratifying and speaks to me on most of the levels I am passionate about. In fact I have just taken on more responsibility to build a segment of our business that has incredible potential and will utilize more of my talents to a greater extent. Considering I am the oldest person in the company this was a coup for the Platinum Boomer team. And I want to share with you what the owner of the company said to me, “there is no one in the company, besides you who has the experience and the gravitas to make this work.” I thought what a wonderful thing to hear at any time on your career path, but especially rewarding at a time when most employers would be wondering when you are going to retire.
I was just reading that an average woman will continue to work either full or part time for the next 15 years after the age of 60. Who knew when we were in our 30’s and 40’s and actively building our careers that we would still be the consulting architect for our careers into our 60’s?
It’s a long journey that takes a lot of stamina, determination and passion. And passion seems to be the hardest element in the magic formula to hold onto. A recent Gallup poll finds that Boomers were the least engaged segment of the work force. This disturbing poll means that those of us still working, or looking to return to work, or make avenues into a new career have to pump up the volume on all of our meaningful skills. We have to maintain our professional relationships, which means – network – network – network and leverage all our existing strengths. To win this marathon we need to be in top shape in all aspects of our wellbeing. As women we not only have to break through the glass ceiling challenge, but now, if we choose to stay in the work force, we have to differentiate ourselves, really tap into the well of knowledge and passion that we still possess. We have to know what we excel in, own it and just go for it. We should not make excuses about our age or lie about it. We have to remember that our ‘time share’ of life can be to the company’s advantage, and sell that. In other words….Go Big or Go Home!
The Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College found that staying engaged in our 50s and 60s is directly linked to overall wellbeing. As Christina Matz-Costa, research fellow at Boston College wrote on Next Avenue http://www.nextavenue.org/ people who remain highly engaged in work, continuing education and volunteering had significantly higher scores for life satisfaction and mental health than those who were relatively unengaged.
We are in a new age of work and our biggest challenge and our best asset is to become tech savvy and remain vibrant. If you have continued to work you are well aware of the pressure to keep up with technology, but keep up we must. And we have to change our mindset. We have to be positive about learning something new. Everyday it seems that I am confronted with a new formula, field or source that I have to learn for a project or a spread sheet. [Design/product development is not all ‘color trending.’ There are endless columns that need to be filled in before a product reaches the retail floor.] My mantra is simple. “I can learn this.” Remember, Google is your friend. Ask it any question and it will give you a plethora of answers to select from. Encourage yourself to work through it, figure it out, remember you are a smart woman! Ask someone for help, but be selective of who you ask in the office. And once you get it, you will know it for the next time. Of course it might be a good idea to write it down once you do know it!
I have a few thoughts that have helped me to grow and nurture my career from my first job as “Gidget” to my present incarnation.
Allow yourself to grow organically in your career.
When those new assignments and opportunities come your way, embrace them. Remember you’re smart, you can take it on. Look for what is missing. What would make your department, team or you function on a higher level and stand out. Suggest it! You might get a really big Wow from your boss or the CEO. Rewind your inner voice. Think more positively about the things that irritate you the most. Remember if you “change the way you look at something, the things you look at will change.”
Be your own brand manager
There are so many ways in which to promote ourselves today that if we don’t get the big picture, it becomes a bigger challenge. But if you are smart you can handle it with integrity, humor and a flattering headshot that will keep your name on the network marquee. Keep your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook pages up to date and think about the image you want to project. Are you a grandma or a grand Platinum Boomer? You can be both, just think about the presentation of your personal brand and your message. This is essential if you are looking for work or to change a job.
Take yourself back to School
You have to do it. You have to stay at the top of your game with technology and trends in your field. There are so many on-line classes available in so many fields…all you will want to do is go to class. Ed2Go is an amazing online website with a massive array of classes to select from http://www.ed2go.com/. And the beauty is you will be in the comfort of your home, and all on-line. Do not overlook this; your continuing education is non-negotiable. You CAN find the time.
Be your own guru
You are solely responsible for your wellbeing. We can be in charge of our health and our fitness or we can roll over and play dead. We will be dead soon enough. So why not be your best? Remember the marathon we talked about earlier, who knew we would still be running for the finish line. Lucky us that we are still running! This is what works for me.
- Meditate. It will change your life as you know it. You can learn to quiet your mind. And you will be astonished at what insights you will gain.
- Move your body. Try and do a few things to mix it up. I personally do yoga and qingdong three times a week and walking, which I do every day. Around 10am I put on my walking shoes and I leave my office for 20mintues. On the weekend I walk the dogs. You know what you like, you just have to get out and do it.
- Nourish your body. A diet coke, a snack pack of cookies and frozen lean dinners are not the rocket fuel your body needs. Stop and look at what you are eating, remember you are smart. You know what is good for you. Challenge yourself to remove at least one really bad item from your diet today. Just image how much healthier you would be in one year if you found a healthy substitute for 3 unhealthy items in your diet. Wow, I bet you would even lose weight. We have to keep the Platinum in boomer at its shiny best.
We cannot let this third quarter of our life lie dormant. We cannot be satisfied with the status quo. If the passion has gotten buried under a little urban rubble, dig deep and dig it out. Passion is our life line to happiness. It energizes us, helps us think more clearly and focused on our choices. And most important it helps us to be fearless. Go for that promotion, go for that job interview, go for that volunteer job, or go back to school. Just keep going forward with your life. Be the master of the moment and make all the moments count.
What is your Platinum Boomer 9-5 fashion style?