Have you reinvented yourself? Reinvention is a buzzword that describes many of the 78 million baby boomers who are coming of age this decade. Yep, there are a lot of us out there, and the sentiment that is running through our generation is that we are shifting the way we approach work. Some take the plunge into a new career by choice, while others are dealing with layoffs that make work and life transformations necessary. For retirees, funds may have plunged, forcing them back into the workforce.
Whether it’s the economy or other circumstances, for many, career changes often point to reinvention. For some, it may mean going back to school and becoming trained in a new profession. For others, it means moving on and starting over, and for some, it might mean cutting back and adjusting to a new reality.
Let’s do an “I’ll tell you mine and you tell me your’s.” Here is a synopsis of my story:
I was a teacher from the minute I graduated college. I started teaching kindergarten and worked my way up through the grades, and then became a private school co-administrator. Throughout my 25-plus years of teaching, I loved my job. Of course, I wore other hats too. Along with my husband, I raised two wonderful children and created an EcoNest. I also wrote articles for both national and local publications and books, and I volunteered in my community. It was a busy and fulfilling life. The last three or four years of teaching, I was increasingly experiencing what is dubbed, “teacher burnout.” I still loved working with kids, but the spark and creativity was losing steam. My patience with co-workers was lagging, and I felt my effectiveness slipping. When my nest emptied, I decided to take a sabbatical and see where that led me. I never looked back.
It seems that many of my friends are in similar situations. In fact, in an article called, The Fountain of Reinvention, the New York Times found two factors that generally accompany these reinvention stories – risk and fear. It takes a certain amount of risk to take the plunge (unless your’ve been pushed out of your job), and there is an ample quantity of fear associated with the shifting changes.
Once you face some of your fears, the risk no longer seemed so dangerous. I experienced some common fears. One was the fear of losing my identity. What would I call myself? I’ve always been a teacher. At the beginning of my sabbatical, I found myself saying that I am a teacher, I’m trying other things out. Now I just say I am a writer and educator, and a Green Living Expert (thank you Care2 for that definition). I had a fear of failing. I worked through this with the help of my family. They were very supportive, and while I chose to start over, my accomplishments have been mounting up. But, more importantly, I got that spark back because I am learning so many new things. I was also fearful that I would never make the same amount of money after leaving my teaching job (Geeze, I had two kids in college. What was I thinking?) Well, that is true. But, I am happier not commuting a few hours a day and my stress level is so much lower. Other pieces of life seem to shift around to make it work.
Here are 5 ways to reinvent yourself via this Huffington Post article that describes the essential self-assessment strategies to help empower you towards professional reinvention.
1. Consider What You Value
2. Rediscover Your Interests
3. Embrace Your Personality
4. Scrutinize Your Skill Set
5. Develop Your Brand
Do you have a story of reinvention? Have you changed professions, moved from full-time parenting into the work world, or been forced out of one job only to find yourself plunked into a whole new life? We can all learn from each others stories. Please share your story of reinvention below.