I attended two high school graduations recently, both within seven days time. One graduation was held outside and still completed despite pouring rain; the second was held inside and completed despite the rowdy, irreverent graduates bouncing multi-colored beach and golf balls around the rows. As I listened to the speeches of the respective salutatorian and valedictorian, they were both very similar, almost formula. They each offered up words of encouragement, inspiration, and retrospective looks at memorable events during their four years within the hallowed halls of hell and heaven. Many of the references made were obvious to anyone living in the here and now; some were inside jokes just for the students. All the speeches were self-depreciating, almost apologetic in nature as they named other classmates who deserved honors for achievements other than top grades. Then the gowned seniors strutted across their respective runways, on exhibit with glowing faces, seemingly happy, this graduation the first major achievement and transition for many. I remember that feeling from my own high school graduation and I felt excitement for these children, now so shiny and bright like an uncracked deck of cards, the world waiting to embrace them or eat them. I wished I could have that feeling again.
But Oh! I just had a thought that being layed off at fifty, having worked most of my career in the corporate world, I AM undergoing a major life transition too! I need to project the graduates’ perspective of being bright and shiny, and feel the same excitement for myself. An uncracked deck of cards I ain’t, but an ace up my sleeve, that being life tools, skills and some wisdom gained through the years, will prevent me from being eaten by the world. I’m anticipating that those same skills will assist me in being embraced once again, but then again, was that embrace ever lost?
Here is a sweet 14 point plan written by Ellen Ostrow, Ph.D., to assist moving forward with mid-life career transitions: http://jobsearch.about.com/cs/womensresources/a/careerchange_2.htm
Until then…0 Be the 1st to recommend