Would you’ve the courage to change your career and get back to school if you’re 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 produce major career changes by becoming teachers, one of high school science, the other of elementary age children.
Layoffs and business decline resulted in thoughts of “what do I actually do now with my life?” Jack had worked as a chemist in his first career, and even includes 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 idea of teaching never crossed his mind until a friend suggested he apply for a six-week position teaching chemistry. “Twenty-five years ago I would have laughed at the suggestion of becoming a teacher. The biggest surprise is that I like teaching “.
How easy can it be to make a decision of this magnitude? Sam, who is currently 59 years of age, wishes he’d used it 10 years sooner. ” I wish someone had blown within my ear what’you find a way try this’and maybe I would have considered it earlier “.Although he owned his own business for many years, it had not been very satisfying. Finally, economics helped him decide to close the company and look for something which had more meaning. As a former captain in the Air Force, Sam found a program for veterans that helped him with the expense of his education for his new career.
Jack had the assistance of a career coach who helped him see possibilities and loosen up of his comfort zone. “I can’t emphasize an excessive amount of that without my coach I would still 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 seek out meaning and purpose led the choice.’Teaching is definitely different and challenging” said Sam, “The elementary students are fun, interesting and always smiling. Money was no problem, so my motivation is how can I help them in some form-by asking questions, offering guidance, giving answers. This certainly isn’t boring and very self-satisfying for me teach to one. No day is exactly the same even if I’m teaching exactly the same thing.” Sam went on to say that he found teaching much more important than selling a product. His job provides a way to be innovative as he makes great efforts to help 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 dealing with elementary children instead of adults and had more patience with the kids.
Although both men are happy using their decision to return to school, this process has not been without challenges. “The initial semester was rough,” stated Jack. ” It have been 26 years since college. I’d to learn to study and organize myself and it took some time to get involved with an idea, it didn’t keep coming back every one of a sudden. I’d to have through the original confusion and the classes were not easy. The other students had just turn out of high school and knew how to examine and have a test.” Sam agreed that studying for and taking tests is really a big challenge.” It requires me longer to learn and recalling information sometimes is challenging “.
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 has been accepted by younger students. He did have an incident when he taught his first lab as a teaching assistant. Among the students assumed that he was a professor and addressed him as one. Jack was quick to allow student know that he too was a student.
Despite the common age of first retirement at 57, neither man foresees retiring in the near future. As with many baby boomers, these men are choosing to continue working. Sam feels that teaching offers him some flexibility and options in later retirement years. As an example, if he chooses to relocate, he’d be able to get a teaching job in the new location. Jack advises,” I think that you’ve to have an open mind at my age to say that I could need to take action else to maneuver 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.