More and more women are working after 60. Not because they “have to”, but because they “want to”. They enjoy their work and they have created a work lifestyle that allows them to continue their professional development and work toward their own self-actualization. They have taken responsibility for their own awe-some-ness!
They have found the secret to being awesome at any age is finding (creating) a rewarding and satisfying work life after 60.
What is Rewarding and Satisfying Work?
We have invested many years (decades) and have spent many of our waking hours working. Very few of us want our work to be “just a job”. At times, many of us have suffered the “just a job” syndrome when we have felt trapped in mediocre careers.
At those times, we might have blamed poor company leadership and lack of opportunities. We might have felt underutilized, undervalued, and more than likely we suffered burnout even before “burnout” was a recognized condition. Our daily work became a grind.
In one recent Gallup survey, only twenty percent of people were working in jobs that provided them with the opportunity to excel in what they do best and what they love to do.
In the past, when we reached breaking point, many of us changed jobs or moved on to another company. However, forever seeking and never being satisfied begs the question, “What is rewarding and satisfying work and how do we find it?”
More than ever, we owe ourselves assurance that our work is rewarding and fulfilling. We are responsible for taking action.
You are responsible for the world that you live in. It is not the government’s responsibility. It is not your school’s or your social club’s or your church’s or your neighbor’s or your fellow citizen’s. It is yours, utterly and singularly yours.
~ August Wilson
The Evolution of Our Careers
Hopefully there were times in your career when you felt rewarded and fulfilled. However, there could have been times when you experienced disappointment, dissatisfaction or emptiness. These times might have been at a mid-career point, a life transition or crisis, or when the acknowledgement you needed or the promotion you deserved did not materialize. At that time, you might have started to ask if there truly is meaning in the work that you do.
This question is profound as we approach 60. It’s part of the rite of passage.
For a moment, think back to your career choices. Your choices were probably much easier to make earlier in your career because you had clarity about which options were advantageous. You may have plotted your ascent up the corporate ladder or toward a master designation in your trade of profession. This would have been the time when you were enthusiastic in setting your career-enhancing goals.
By the time most of us reached mid-career, the ladder might have moved, or mastery might have delivered diminishing returns. As we approach 60, we are no longer climbing ladders (physically or career-wise) and we might not be fully utilizing our master certifications or designations. The analogy of “climbing ladders” becomes “navigating runways”. AND, the runway appears to be getting shorter.
As we approach each decade, our choices are not as easy. Our paths are varied and unpredictable. There are many forks in the road and one wrong turn can mean loss of precious time that hinders recovery at this stage. There is no safety net…except self-responsibility, wisdom fueled by our experience, and a well-honed decision-making process. The big questions become, “Can I live with the consequences?” and/or “Can I recover from the consequences?”
Most of us have already moved between a few organizations by the time we have reached this point in our careers. Most of us have worked and lived through company upheavals, downsizing, or mergers and acquisitions. Each change was an opportunity to reflect on our next move or strategy to have a rewarding and satisfying work life and to reflect on the risks and rewards.
Acknowledging That You Are Still in Charge
Just remember, no one manages your career but you. Yes, there are other forces that can derail your career – such as a critical illness, caregiving responsibilities, or a pandemic! However, more importantly than ever, you must rely on yourself as your own guide even if you are fortunate to have a trusted mentor or coach.
The answer to fulfillment and success lies within you. It always has been up to you to find out where your passion lies, what you do best, and what professional development is best for you to continue on your path towards self-actualization.
Success in work and life requires investment of time, effort, focus, emotional intelligence, and personal sacrifices. In my conversations with women who are enjoying their work after 60, they agree that the return on their investment is now the feeling of satisfaction with their work and their lifestyle. They agree that the rewards have been the result of being deliberate in applying self-responsibility as they plot their path towards self-actualization and being awesome at any age with rewarding and satisfying work.
How are you navigating the runway? Are you preparing for what’s next? Are you pondering full-on retirement or continuing to be professionally active? Are you currently enjoying all your projects after 60?
Written by Patricia A. Muir, Maestro Quality Inc., THRIVE
Patricia’s signature program “THRIVE After 60” validates women’s choices and amplifies their voices as they remain professional active after 60 and beyond. Visit her website at https://www.patriciamuir.com/.
The THRIVE Video SeriesTM is a collection of interviews with women in their 60s and beyond who have achieved a level of self-actualization with self-responsibility. Check out their stories shared on the YouTube channel
“Written by Patricia A. Muir, PCC. In my role as principal consultant and coach at Maestro Quality Inc. and founder of THRIVE Coaching Programs, I have worked with women entrepreneurs, executives, and highly skilled professionals who continue to enjoy their work after 60.”