Have you ever lost your job later in life or simply wanted to change or shift careers in your late 40’s, early 50’s…or for that matter any time after the age of 50?
It’s not easy, right!? Finding professional jobs to replace one’s that have been lost, reinventing or morphing one’s skills into a new career or simply following a latent passion can be extremely complicated and difficult. As those of us who work with career transitioning adults know, the process of change is rich with challenge – maybe even daunting – even when the individual is extremely driven/motivated.
At the end of the summer, I passed along what I learned during an interview with a former work associate, Angela Bruskotter. By identifying and igniting the fire within, Angie was able to tap into and apply tools, skills and lessons learned during her years in business and college – blending them with her incredible artistic talent – to evolve and develop a new career – even if it wasn’t in the exact same field. What she shared about her career transition, her work, and the passion she brings to her work was inspirational. As a writer, I can definitely relate to and embrace the description of her day-to-day activities and how and where she draws inspiration.
As time progressed, this topic – especially the arena of what’s referred to as the Third Age – continued to capture my interest…so, I did a bit more research.
In 2010, a U.S. Education System event was held. The session began with the statement that we needed to start “thinking differently about how people learn.” (Michael Crow, President of University of Arizona). Also, as part of that event, Glenn Cummings (advance to 54.16 on video) (then Assistant Deputy Educational Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education for the U.S. Department of Education) shared that the “biggest thing keeping him up at night” included:
- The U.S. is approximately 4-5 million degrees behind.
- Adult education is central and critical.
- A way needs to be devised to bring adults back into the pipeline (re-enter).
- The current U.S. culture is not particularly welcoming to adults.
- Adults must be able to feel comfortable; have a cohort or group, etc
- Older students need fluid course schedules that accommodate working schedules and financial aid packages.
- More attention needs to be given to how to credit adults for things they’ve already experienced.
Mr. Cummings also spoke about a program model that might be “replicated across the country.” The Maine College Transitions Program which involves working with adult education directors to funnel older students into higher education. This Program has helped move 6,500 adult education students into higher education.
For me, though, questions still remain. How does one actually find their passion and the strength to make the leap – a leap that would ultimately allow them to follow that passion? In my questioning, I wondered what one had to undergo mentally and emotionally to allow them to reveal or unfold their passion – and then turn that passion into productive, beneficial work – work that would allow them to contribute, pay their bills, and still enjoy life? What did their initial and on-going process – and next steps that led to a fulfilling enriching career, career transition or even just daily work look and feel like?
So, I reached out into my network and found someone who had taken on that challenge. Professor Slinkard was willing to speak with me about his experience and offer insights encountered along the way. Check back next week to read my interview with him…
Crafted, researched and written by: LIZ CARLOCK
The Write Resources, LLC™
© 2014 EM Carlock