Through your company, Clearways Consulting, LLC, you provide executive coaching and workshops to support professionals facing challenges and transitions. What challenges and opportunities do you see for midlife career transitions?
Change – sometimes dramatic change – is inevitable in today’s careers. In my book, I discuss how the idea of spending your entire work life doing the same kind of things now seems quaint. Today, it’s normal for careers to flow through many phases, involving varied skill sets.
The inevitability of change can feel daunting, but the new environment brings good news as well. You can take charge of your career, much like an entrepreneur. You can learn survival skills, experiment with options, and know that there is always room for fresh starts, whatever your age.
Tell us more about how your book, Think Like an Entrepreneur, Act Like a CEO, and why it might be of interest to women in midlife or older.
The book is written as a practical guide for being more nimble at work. It’s intended to help you become more adroit and adaptable, better able to handle common predicaments and to capture opportunities, one by one. It explains how one key to resilience is mastering your own go-to system for getting started when it’s time to make a career shift.
What is your best advice for women in midlife who are seeking to make a career change?
Think about how you want your life to look in the future. Then create categories of action items with the potential to gradually transform your career to something that better supports your ideal vision. For each category, start methodically taking tiny steps.
Can you give us an example of someone whose midlife transition you helped navigate?
Generally my client conversations are confidential, and I can’t talk about them. However, I recruited a wonderful client, Nancy Augustine, who was willing to have NPR reporter Barbara Bradley Hagerty tape a series of coaching sessions over eight months. Barbara documented Nancy’s transition as she finished her term as a university visiting professor and launched her consulting activity. You can hear about Nancy’s change process in an NPR segment and read about it in Barbara’s great book, Life Reimagined: The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife.
In her book, Barb observed that Nancy’s transition occurred through a series of small shifts: “I think this is how Nancy and Bev charted Nancy’s future. No dramatic swings…she is just making tiny adjustments within the areas she excels at and loves… and bit by bit she nears her mark.”
What are your favorite resources you send your clients to?
I frequently recommend the work of Kerry Hannon, including my favorite of her books, Love Your Job: The New Rules for Career Happiness, and her website.
And I’ve found AARP.org to be full of excellent resources.
Contact Beverly Jones at email@example.com
Think Like an Entrepreneur, Act Like a CEO: 50 Indispensable Tips to Help You Stay Afloat, Bounce Back, and Get Ahead at Work
Beverly Jones, author of Think Like an Entrepreneur, Act Like a CEO: 50 Indispensable Tips to Help You Stay Afloat, Bounce Back, and Get Ahead at Work, is a model of career resilience and reinvention. She started out as a public radio/TV writer, next created and led university programs for women, and then trail-blazed her career as a female Washington law firm partner and Fortune 500 energy executive. Throughout her varied work life she has mentored other professionals to grow and thrive.
Since 2002, Bev has flourished as an executive coach and leadership consultant, helping professionals of all ages to advance their careers, shift directions, and become more productive. Based in the nation’s capital, she works with clients spread across the country, including senior attorneys and accomplished leaders at major federal agencies, Congress, NGOs, universities and companies of all sizes.
Bev is a popular speaker and facilitator, she creates workshops and other events around the needs of her clients, and her blogs and podcasts are found at www.clearwaysconsulting.com and media sites such as WOUB.org.