14 Ways to Reinvent Yourself After Your Career Ends
How does someone unimagine your job for you? To put it simply: they fire you, downsize you, lay you off (what does that mean exactly?), outsource you, or let you go (where did I go?).
Now that this has happened by any one of these lovely ways, what do you do now? The answer is to reimagine yourself. You’ve done this before. You think about what you would be doing if you weren’t doing whatever it is you had been doing for work.
We dream about being one of the big five prestige moneymakers and take a huge reality check from there: entertainer, ah no. Sports star? Not with this arthritis. Actor perhaps? Didn’t I act my way into my last position only to be “terminated” before collecting my Oscar? Celebrity, maybe? Nah, I have more talent but less booty than the Kardashians. Non-starter. Ok, how about lotto winner. I think you have to play to win, so I’m out.
That leaves reinvention. Our misfortune in getting fired takes us to a place whereby we are compelled to remake ourselves. We swear not to ever get “here” again. To accomplish this, we need to rethink our branding proposition and what we really want to be when we grow up.
The idea is not to waste the crisis. Use this time to fuse what you want to do with what you can do using what you must do it with. To that end, here are a few thoughts, ideas and tips on reimagining the next you.
Don’t Resent the Crisis
Use the crisis to step back, think through the next season and plan to make it a reality. Don’t waste it living in self-pity and rash decision making. We never pass “GO” that way.
Use Your Assets
Using your assets doesn’t refer to gutting your 401K savings. It means that you should reach out to those who you trust, share your story, ask for help, explore previously out of reach options, think differently and listen more.
Move Yourself Forward Each Day
Do something daily that progresses your plan. Limbo is a debilitating state for humans. Even if it’s small in nature, advance yourself in some way daily.
Celebrate Any Victory
Maybe a victory is getting a bill paid on time. It could be a new connection that may help you. Sometimes it’s even a good cry. As John Lennon said, “Whatever gets you through the night. It’s alright. It’s alright.”
Don’t Become Anxious About the Life in Front of You
It’s going to happen anyhow. Anxiety solves nothing except to bring us to our knees.
Take Small Steps to Reinvent Yourself
Try to first identify your passions. Then your gifts. Next your experience. Allow them to point you to a vehicle that can marry each of these and optimize you.
Identify the Minimum Amount of Income You Can Live On
Do this exercise early on. This is important because you need to chase this ghost away. Once you know your worst-case scenario regarding expenses, you can then point all necessary time toward the income side of the equation.
If You Must Worry, Do So Only About Today
There will be ample time to worry tomorrow about what just became today. Focus upon what you can affect, not what might happen if you don’t do so.
Find a Leader
When we seek help for a medical condition, we need someone in that specialty to lead our wellness program. The same applies here. Find someone willing to be your mentor. Preferably someone who has lost his or her job and subsequently navigated successfully through the maze.
Change happened in your work life without you even getting a vote on the matter. Most people like change, as long as they are its architect. Be your change agent. Determine what you disliked about your job or career and aim toward something that won’t repeat any of it. Work toward making yourself happier in your work. This is no one’s responsibility but yours. You understand that by now.
Try Not to Focus on Money
Easier said than done. However, if this is your sole focus, you’ll most likely end up “here” again.
Start to Reinvent Yourself Today
Reimagination of your career begins with your first step. Don’t delay this until you “process” what happened to you. This will point you toward depression. Begin today with some positive forward steps. This will move you toward success and put a fence around your attitude and mental state going south on you.
Do Whatever It Takes
If you decide that you always wanted to become a lawyer, then pursue that. However, reality says that you must eat and most likely feed others. Your plight may be to work 12 hours a day to pay the freight; sleeping six hours a day to refresh and working on your dream the other six hours a day. It can be done. Something has to give – sleep, recreation, togetherness, “me time,” whatever. Yet, it can be done.
Reinvention Will Boost Every Chemical in Your Body
Serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin are all affected. Action creates action. The laws of physics apply here. Keep moving forward and you will get healthier. Don’t use health as an excuse to stay dormant, stuck or in limbo.
There is so much more to reimagination than what is shared here. The overarching message is a simple one: it will work. Have patience. Stay focused. Don’t give up. Overall, keep reimagining yourself each day. One day, the reimagination will become your reality. If you let yourself live there.
What are you doing to reinvent yourself in your 60s? Are you looking for a new career or sense of purpose? What steps are you taking every day to shape a new you? Please join the conversation.
Jeff Henning is a business leader and educator in Southern California. He is the father of 10 daughters. His expertise is in creating meaningful change within a business to drive results focused upon people, profits, and planet. Jeff is the co-founder of SquarePeg, an organization that recognizes the tremendous challenge Baby Boomers face while attempting to reinvent themselves in the new career landscape.