I work with so many job seekers who worry they’re too old to find a new job or start a new career. My life story says otherwise…
All of us carry forth the story of our generation. My storyline developed in the 90’s, a time when women were promised we could have it all; the careers we now had access to and the family ideals we were raised with. That was the plan I carried forth into adulthood.
In the late nineties, single, 30-something and in search of new beginnings, I packed my rural Connecticut life into a U-Haul and headed West. Drawn by fresh horizons, more opportunities, I was ready to make the most of my future.
Eventually I landed a job I never dreamed this small-town girl capable of; I was a marketing communications manager at Cisco Systems in Silicon Valley. Yup, high tech baby – it was cool as cool could be, and I loved the pace, the variety and the challenge.
But too soon, the bubble burst, I was among the thousands of employees laid off, with few hiring opportunities in sight. I was single, unemployed and far from home. It was not a good time. Eventually through a series of fateful events, I landed my next job at a company where I met the man I would eventually marry.
We were married for a short time before the company we worked for was acquired, and again I found myself caught in a sweeping lay-off. This time though, I had options. I was offered an opportunity to consult in a part time role, which left me free to my explore new career options, without the stress of living single in Silicon Valley.
It was through this opportunity to take a step back and look at the big picture, that I found a way to pursue my passion. This was the early days of online retail, before Amazon took over, when eco-chic became a catch phrase. Green was the new black, and Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth was top of mind for lots of people.
For me it was a chance to share a cause I cared about using my corporate-honed skillset and eye for design. I started a company called Nubius Organics with a website, some cool reusable water bottles and dreams of making a difference.
It was a late bloomer move for sure, since by this time I was in my early forties, with 2 little kids at home. This new passion project upped my dependents count to 3. However, success came at a price. The more my business grew, the more I had to juggle. I began to feel divided, exhausted and resentful. On paper it looked like I had it all, but as it turned out, having it all sucked in practice.
I found myself facing burnout, and the work I’d once loved now stressed the hell out of me. Finally reaching the end of my rope, I made the hard decision to sell my company.
I needed the financial independence and the sense of purpose work outside the home offered, but there had to be a better way. I continued to explore my passion for health and wellness, eventually earning certifications that opened the door to a career in coaching.
In 2013 I wrote a book, Beanalicous Living, and began speaking in my then hometown of Santa Cruz, CA to a growing audience. Yet as I continued down this path, I saw the real challenge most people face isn’t lack of knowledge. They know they should choose the salad over the cookie, or the gym over the Kardashian rerun to achieve the goals they set for themselves. Yet that knowledge has nothing to do with the choice they’ll end up making.
The missing piece for me was the why. Why are people stuck in self-destructive patterns? What holds us back from reaching our goals? How can we stay focused and motivated to achieve our aspirations? These were the questions that drove my next career move.
As I continued to look for answers, a networking contact referred me to my current employer, a national outplacement firm willing to train me in career coaching. I jumped at the chance. This work really clicked for me, it’s clear and straightforward with high levels of success. I’m able to use my skills to make a difference. That was four years ago, and I’m endlessly grateful to have found this opportunity as I entered my 50’s!
My most recent late bloomer move was to enroll in an International Coaching Federation training program. As I continue to build my coaching practice, I’m developing online courses and working on another book focused on women and success. The possibilities to help women to reach their potential are both exciting and endless.
I work with so many job seekers who worry they’re too old to find a new job or start a new career. I don’t share my story with everyone, but I always assure them with firsthand certainty that if they find the right path, it’s never too late to bloom. It’s been a windy road to my dream job, but now looking back, it couldn’t have been more worth the journey.