Would you’ve the courage to alter your career and return to school if you were in your early or late 50’s? Could you study for and pass a college exam? Both Jack and Sam, who are within their 50’s, chose to create major career changes by becoming teachers, one of senior school science, one other of elementary age children.
Layoffs and business decline led to thoughts of “what do I actually do now with my entire life?” Jack had worked as a chemist in his first career, and even has a master’s degree in chemistry. During his years of employment at one company, Jack took on more and more computer duties and eventually transitioned out of chemistry into IS. Years later he was laid off from another company as the top of the IS department. The notion of teaching never crossed his mind until a buddy suggested he apply for a six-week position teaching chemistry. “Twenty-five years ago I might have laughed at the suggestion of learning to be a teacher. The biggest surprise is that I like teaching “.
How easy is it to come to a decision of this magnitude? Sam, who’s currently 59 years of age, wishes he had done it 10 years sooner. ” I wish someone had blown within my ear what’you find a way try this’and maybe I might have considered it earlier “.Although he owned his own business for many years, it hadn’t been very satisfying. Finally, economics helped him decide to close the business and search for a thing that had more meaning. As a former captain in the Air Force, Sam found a program for veterans that helped him with the price of his education for his new career.
Jack had the help of a career coach who helped him see possibilities and stretch out of his comfort zone. “I can’t emphasize a lot of that without my coach I would be sitting in the home, sending out resumes.”
For both men, money was not the only real motivator within their decision to show to teaching. Rather, a search for meaning and purpose led the choice.’Teaching is definitely different and challenging” said Sam, “The elementary kids are fun, interesting and always smiling. Money was no problem, so my motivation is how do I help them in certain form-by asking questions, offering guidance, giving answers. This certainly is not boring and very self-satisfying for me teach to one. No day is the same even if I’m teaching the same thing.” Sam went on to say that he found teaching a lot more important than selling a product. His job provides an opportunity to be innovative as he makes great efforts to keep his classes interesting and not repetitious.
Both men started their exploration by doing some substitute teaching to see if this is truly a choice within their career path. Sam also taught business courses at a nearby community college. He found, however, that he preferred working together with elementary children in place of adults and had more patience with the kids.
Although both men are happy with their decision to return to school, this method hasn’t been without challenges. “The initial semester was rough,” stated Jack. ” It had been 26 years since college. I had to learn how to study and organize myself and it took some time to get involved with a plan, it didn’t keep coming back most of a sudden. I had to get through the original confusion and the classes were not easy. Another students had just come out of senior school and knew how to study and take a test.” Sam agreed that studying for and taking tests is really a big challenge.” It requires me longer to master and recalling information sometimes is difficult “.
And what is it like to stay a class, learning with students who are 19-21 years of age? Jack is surprised at how well he’s been accepted by younger students. He did have an episode when he taught his first lab as a training assistant. One of the students assumed that he was a professor and addressed him as one. Jack was quick to let the student know that he too was a student.
Despite the average age of first retirement at 57, neither man foresees retiring in the near future. As with most baby boomers, these men are choosing to carry on working. Sam feels that teaching offers him some flexibility and options in later retirement years. For instance, if he chooses to relocate, he would manage to get a training job in the new location. Jack advises,” I genuinely believe that you’ve to have open mind at my age to say that I might need to take action else to go forward with my life.”
Joanne Waldman is really a trailblazer in global learning and personal/career and retirement coaching so her alma mater recognized her with the Citation of Merit for Outstanding Achievement and Meritorious Service.
In 2001 she started New Perspective Coaching. Previously, Joanne consulted with Fortune 500 companies. Joanne trains coaches for International Coach Academy and Retirement Options. Awarded the Master Career Counselor title, Joanne also earned her Professional Certified Coach designation.