"Looking for work using the old methodology is a form of insanity."
I talk about how I came to write the book, Ground of Your Own Choosing, and discuss its premise, that everything about the world of work has changed—except how we go about finding it.
It's important for me to get out of the office on a regular basis and talk with groups of people who, in the neat language of business jargon, are part of a statistic called "job churn," the movement of people in and out of the labor market. Right now, churn—which suggests violent splashing—is making us all feel like we're traveling on very rough seas and producing a lot of queasiness.
Although I regularly see individual clients in career transition who often feel as if they are in a small boat in an ocean of uncertainty, I find being in the company of a group of people who have given up an evening or Saturday morning to attend one of my presentations a very different experience.
It is more like riding the subway or a bus rather than driving my own car. When I use mass transit, I'm just another passenger sharing a journey with others from one stop to another. It's no longer the other drivers and me in our separate vehicles en route to different destinations. We're all in it together, which is exactly how it feels when I step into a library meeting room, community center or church hall and start to talk informally with people who have come to hear me speak. And, just like the subway, I never know who will sit down next to me or how my world will expand as a result.
Such was the case a few weeks ago when I met an attractive middle-aged woman at one of my seminars who claimed she already knew me.
If you're a regular reader of this newsletter, you may be as tired of hearing about my book as you are of the presidential campaign. I've been coming at you with it for longer than the election has dominated the news, starting in January, 2007, when I devoted this newsletter to presenting one chapter a month. But take heart—once more, and I am moving on.
I had no idea when I started down this path how much it would require of me. I actually thought that when I wrote the last word of the manuscript my part would be done, when in fact the actual creation of the book had just begun.
Thanks to the patience of my publisher and editor, I learned enough about the nuts and bolts of book design and production to make informed decisions about a host of things I'd never thought about—typefaces, headings, page layout, illustration placement, etc.
It was so amazing to me that, even though I've always been an avid reader, I never thought about how a book was put together. I knew of course when I didn't feel welcomed by a book, but beyond a vague idea that maybe the type was too small or the page too crowded, I would not have been able to articulate why.
It's pretty clear to most baby boomers that they will be creating, either by choice or circumstances, a very different kind of retirement from their parents, for whom it simply meant, stop working.
Retirement was first quantified in 1935, when the Social Security Administration gave it the number, 65. At the time, the average lifespan was 68, so it made sense to spend the relatively few years you had left exclusively focused on leisure.
Since then, however, life expectancy has expanded by almost 30 years, adding what some call a "third age" to the lives of those of us fortunate enough to benefit from longevity.
The question is, what do we do with it? And what do we call it?
Exactly what the new retirement will look like is as obscure as some of the new "re" words—rehire, rewire, renew—that have been coined in the attempt to move away from the old word (whose syllable "tire" connotes being too worn out to work).
When tea became trendy, I gave in and, with a sigh, supplemented my grandmother's depression glass dishes with a few pieces from the new array of tea service paraphernalia available in gift shops.
When yoga started to become an "in thing," promoted in slick videos and shops such as the one near my home called "Om Depot" (I'm not kidding), I winced, but continued to do the Salutation to the Sun in my living room every morning.
But I draw the line at cupcakes.
Last month the manuscript of my first book, Ground of Your Own Choosing, finally went to the publisher. You can't imagine the relief I feel to be approaching the completion of this intense, time-devouring project.
Putting your voice in the world in whatever form your creativity takes—writing a book, designing a bridge, developing a branding strategy—is exquisite agony. And how long it takes! My journey with writing began fifteen years ago in Bend, Oregon.
I was attending a training with Richard Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute? He was leading us in a skills exercise, encouraging us to think outside the box, and at the time I thought I added the word "writing" to my list of skills simply because I had a pencil in my hand and it was a handy response. Today I would be more inclined to see it as divine intervention.
Volume 6 of the newsletter, January-December, 2007, consists of the serialized chapters of Ground of Your Own Choosing by Beverly Ryle.
Because the content of these issues is available in revised and expanded form in the book, as of December, 2007 it is no longer available online.
A journey is the trip after you've lost you're luggage.—Anonymous (quoted by William Bridges)
This winter marks the official beginning of a book I have decided to write which will explain my approach to work search to the world. For weeks, I’d been trying to come up with an outline that satisfied me, but without success.
I’d been telling myself that I could get it done—scratch it off the list!—if only I had a large block of unstructured time.
A workshop in Chicago, conducted by a mentor of mine, William Bridges, would provide the perfect opportunity: rather than fly out, I booked a sleeper on Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited, because there is absolutely nothing like long-distance train travel for providing large blocks of unstructured time.