Would you’ve the courage to change your career and go back to school if you were in your early or late 50’s? Can you study for and pass a college exam? Both Jack and Sam, who are in their 50’s, chose to make major career changes by becoming teachers, among high school science, another of elementary age children.
Layoffs and business decline led to thoughts of “what do I do now with my entire 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 faraway from another company as the pinnacle of the IS department. The notion of teaching never crossed his mind until a pal suggested he apply for a six-week position teaching chemistry. “Twenty-five years ago I could have laughed at the suggestion of learning to be a teacher. The biggest surprise is that I enjoy teaching “.
How easy is it to come to a decision with this magnitude? Sam, who’s currently 59 years, wishes he had used it ten years sooner. ” I wish someone had blown in my ear what’you have the ability do this’and maybe I could have considered it earlier “.Although he owned his own business for many years, it hadn’t been very satisfying. Finally, economics helped him opt to close the business and search for a thing that had more meaning. As a former captain in the Air Force, Sam found a course for veterans that helped him with the cost of his education for his new career.
Jack had the help of a lifetime career coach who helped him see possibilities and loosen up of his comfort zone. “I can’t emphasize a lot of that without my coach I’d be sitting in the home, sending out resumes.”
For both men, money wasn’t the only motivator in their decision to turn to teaching. Rather, a look for meaning and purpose led the choice.’Teaching is obviously different and challenging” said Sam, “The elementary children are fun, interesting and always smiling. Money was no problem, so my motivation is how can I make them in a few 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 the exact same even if I’m teaching the exact same thing.” Sam went on to express that he found teaching a lot more important than selling a product. His job provides a way 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 an alternative in their career path. Sam also taught business courses at a local community college. He found, however, that he preferred dealing with elementary children in place of adults and had more patience with the kids.
Although both men are happy with their decision to come back to school, this technique hasn’t been without challenges. “The very first 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 a little while to find yourself in a plan, it did not return all of a sudden. I had to have through the original confusion and the classes were not easy. The other students had just emerge of high school and knew how to review and take a test.” Sam agreed that studying for and taking tests is just a big challenge.” It takes me longer to learn and recalling information sometimes is a challenge “.
And what’s it like to stay a class, learning with students who are 19-21 years? Jack is surprised at how well he has been accepted by younger students. He did have an episode when he taught his first lab as a training assistant. One of many 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 having 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. For example, if he chooses to relocate, he would be able to get a training job in the brand new location. Jack advises,” I think that you’ve to have an open mind at my age to express that I could need to take action else to go forward with my life.”
Joanne Waldman is just 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.