Reignite Your Passion for Your Second Act

Reignite Your Passion for Your Second Act

There’s a great scene in the George Clooney movie Up in the Air, when his character lays off a man in his early 50s. The man is understandably upset, and instead of placating him, Clooney’s character says, “Your resume says you minored in French Culinary Arts… You bussed tables at Il Picatorre to support yourself. Then you got out of college and started working here. How much did they pay you to give up on your dreams…[and] at what point were you going to stop and go back to what made you happy?” 

It’s a powerful scene, and a powerful question.  

So many of us start off with a dream, a passion, then the reality of life takes over. There are bills to pay and children to feed. And the next thing you know, you are in your mid-50s in a career that chose you more than you chose it. The money is good, and you’ve mastered the job, but you feel stagnant. 

Soon you are thinking back to the one thing that set your heart and soul on fire. When was it that you gave up on that dream and allowed it to burn down to a small smolder? 

Before you let the light go out completely, ask yourself, “What would I need to do to realize my dream?” Chances are, you already have the skill set to rekindle the flame! 

Stack Your Skills  

A great benefit of being a Gen Xer or boomer is you have tremendous experience and skills to take in a new direction. Regardless of the new path you are setting foot on, your skill set is transferable. 

The following list includes seven skills employers look for: 

  • Leadership 
  • Time management 
  • Problem solving 
  • Organization 
  • Interpersonal skills 
  • Written and oral communication 
  • Digital/tech 

With more than 20 years in the workforce, most people aged 50 and older have likely been responsible for some level of management. Be sure to share your leadership experience and style.  

Strong leaders often have excellent time management, organization, and problem-solving skills. These traits serve every industry, at every level. Share your insights on setting and maintaining schedules, managing difficult situations, and clear decision making. 

No matter what position you hold, collaboration and teamwork are likely a part of the job. Playing well with others is a strong skill that serves you well in any company. Highlight your ability to build and nurture relationships, motivate those around you, and be flexible as needed. 

In the age of text-speak and emojis, grammar and the written word is on the decline. And with more and more interactions taking place via Zoom, MS Team and chat, oral communications skills can suffer as well. Play up your ability to write and speak clearly and correctly as well as succinctly. 

Lastly, Gen X and boomers have long been incorrectly labeled as “tech illiterate.” The reality is these generations are tech-adept, but not tech-dependent. Make a list of all your online and digital skills, including social media, organizational software, analytics, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), eCommerce, and content creation. 

Claim Your Passion 

As you prep for your second act, be clear about what ignites your soul. Get specific — and get honest.  

Consider the logistics. What time are you willing to dedicate to reskilling or upskilling? Is additional education a reality for you? The fact is some careers require advanced degrees or a certain level of physical prowess may not be realistic. But that doesn’t mean the industry is out of reach.  

For example, if driving NASCAR was always your dream, you may want to look at careers IN racing versus as a racer. Similarly, if your passion is the culinary arts, you can check into culinary school, apprentice for a local pastry chef, or consider penning a food critic’s column for your local paper. 

The key is to hone in on what you want first, then get creative about how to pursue that dream. In most cases, training and consulting span almost every industry. Whatever cause is near and dear to your heart, there is likely a nonprofit that supports it. These organizations are a great way to segue your decades of experience into your passion project. 

Use your experience and skills and translate them into your desired field. Then work with a recruiter to find jobs that match your skills with your next career.  

It’s never too late to be who you’ve always wanted to be. Now is the perfect time to rekindle that flame and step into your second act. Now is the time for YOU! 

by McKinley Marketing Partners