I’m racing through a book written by erstwhile NPR Reporter Barbara Bradley Haggerty. The title is, “Life Reimagined.” The subtitle is, “The Science, Art and Opportunity of Midlife.”
Now, before my Millennial readers hit delete, I urge you to continue reading because this blog is just as relevant to you as it is to that silver-haired executive in the corner office.
“Life Reimagined” chronicles the highs and lows of middle age which, God bless her, Haggerty says scientists now define as the ages between 45-65. Hell, that qualifies me as a Millennial-aged Boomer!
The book cites countless stories of professionals, and non-professionals alike, who found themselves cast adrift at midlife yet go on to live even happier and more successful lives in ‘Act Two if you will.
In my position, I run into countless, unemployed midlife PR professionals who have been badly broken by the realities of corporate downsizing.
These are individuals still at the very top of their games who have been let go because, wait for it, organizations can finder younger talent who will do the same job for far less money (an ugly, but oh-so-true reality about corporate America).
While I do my best to listen and suggest new pathways to pursue, most unemployed mid-lifers leave my office with their shoulders slumped and heads held low (come to think of it, that’s the way most people leave my office).
All of which leads me to the current issue of The Strategist (easily the most insightful, objective and useful of all the PR trades).
The Strategist cover asks readers, “What’s Next in Your Career“? And, it features pearls of wisdom from the likes of Bob Dilenschneider, DePaul University’s Linda Blakely and a former bank executive that really stopped me in my tracks.
It was penned by Steve Lebetkin who, in looking back at his last corporate gig, said, “…after getting through the Bank of America merger, a year of praise, a promotion and even a pay increase, the bank reorganized the communications function and I find (sic) myself outside looking in.”
Rather than sulk or wallow in depression, though, Lebetkin reimagined his life by leveraging his teenage passion: radio broadcasting.
He took that zeal, updated it to match the needs of our rapidly-changing times, and began creating professional-quality podcasts that he sold to corporations and online news organizations alike. Today, he’s not only thriving, but loving every moment of Act Two.
Lebetkin’s advice to other Boomers who have been discarded by corporate America like yesterday’s newspaper? “Dig deeply into the skill set you have created and look for the things that excite you and drive you”
Now, back to my Millennial readers. Why did I ask you to stick with me? Because in the mere blink of an eye you, too, will be forced to figure out how to spend the second half of your lives.
And, while it may seem unimaginable that a 23-year-old might one day turn 55, trust me, it happens. And, it’ll happen to you.
The best advice I can give you today is to give some thought about what you’ll be doing tomorrow. Or, to paraphrase Ms. Haggerty, start to reimagine your life now.