Why I’m no longer satisfied working for someone else and what I did about it.

For the past nine years I’ve been an Instructor for a major university. It’s been a fantastic ride. I’ve worked part-time, often from home, doing something I love. But times, they are a changing. Like so many industries higher education is having to reorganize, revise and restructure to try to keep pace with post-internet society. The result has been chaos. Seems the Titanic can’t turn on a dime and I may have been thrown overboard in the process. As the need for Instructors has dwindled I’ve had fewer and fewer contracts. I’ve been sitting by the phone like some spurned prom date, waiting for it to ring, until I finally got sick of it. Luckily I’ve developed a strong entrepreneurial bent in midlife so I’ve taken matters into my own hands.

End of JobsIn his book “The End of Jobs” (my latest read, review coming soon) Taylor Pearson examines this exact scenario. My job is ending. But the book isn’t a doomsday dissertation, it’s theme isn’t “be afraid, very afraid.” The theme is “wake up, pay attention, there are opportunities out there. Go get em.” I felt this way before I heard Taylor speak on Joanna Penn’s podcast “The Creative Penn” but he gave me the numbers to back up my theory and the cheer leading I needed to get started.

So what am I doing about my lack of teaching contracts? I’m teaching. This April I am joining together with another local self-published author to teach anyone interested how to self publish and how to market your self published books so you can actually sell a few. It’s a process I learned the hard way and I’d like to save others some of my frustration.

I can’t tell you how good it feels to be proactive. I’m juiced. I can’t relate to any of the Monday-sucks memes because I I love any day I make progress toward making this happen. I can’t wait to teach again. I feel like I’m flipping the bird to my absent prom date and going off to create my own dance. And it’s a hundred times more fun! I get to make it mine. I no longer have to worry that the energy and passion I’m investing might be for naught, overlooked on some annual evaluation.

Ok, so the downside, because there is one. I will not make as much in my first year as I did when I was getting one contract after another. But I will make more than if I continued to wait for another contract or if I spun my wheels hoping another University isn’t in the same boat (I’ve looked, they are.) I might not make as much in year two, possibly year three, but eventually I will. And in the mean time I will be a much happier person. I’ll no longer beat my head against the wall in frustration over inane rules and endless red-tape and paperwork. Being in control, having agency, is one of the greatest thrills in life. Another is making a difference in the lives of others. I’m killing both those birds with this stone.

And creating my own classes is only the beginning of creating my brand, my own multiple-income business. This is another theme favored by Joanna Penn, Taylor Pearson and scores of other forward-thinking people because the other huge drawback to working for someone else is the reality of no income when they say good bye. Without a back up source of income it can be devastating, life altering. For many this is the catalyst that propels them into the world of international e-commerce. It was my line in the sand. When I first published I  was still getting contracts and working them. I may still get more, but in the mean time I’m going to keep moving toward self-sufficiency, agency to make my own destiny.

Let me finish by not only encouraging others to read Taylor’s book and figure out their own path in a “jobless” world, but also give you a few resources I’ve found that make this trip so much easier and more fun. It turns out that many of these new e-entrepreneurs also want to help others have the success they do. For the price of a search you can find ideas and support galore. Here are a few of my favorites:

Marie Forleo – Her Marie TV channel on YouTube has over 200,000 subscribers because she delivers sound business advice in an upbeat, sometimes silly, manner.

Danielle LaPorte – Not only is she a business woman with multiple income streams to emulate, on her website she shares her philosophy, successes and failures in a very real way. She’s a fantastic example of succeeding by being yourself.

Sarah Morgan (XO Sarah) – When I add fantastic business advice pins to my Chick in Charge Pintrest board they often come from XO Sarah. Follow her on Pintrest and you will find answers to all your e-commerce questions presented in an organized, easy-to-use fashion. She’s my number one source for badass blogging advice.

Joanna Penn – As I mentioned her podcast, The Creative Penn is where I find not only great advice from a fellow author but guests, like Taylor Pearson, who help me keep growing and learning and motivated.

So who’s with me? Let’s do this midlife (or earlier) end-of-jobs thing together. I’d love to hear about your journey into being an entrepreneur or your hopes and dreams to do so. Comment below with your story or your favorite resources.

**Anyone in the Memphis area who is interest in my self-publishing class can follow this link to my FB page. I’ll be posting sign up information there soon.

 

 

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You Lead, I’ll Follow

Technically I am part of the baby boomer generation.  I slid in under the wire in 1964.  I’m not sure who drew that line in the sand, but it has never really fit.  I was 5 years old when most boomers were attending Woodstock, protesting the Vietnam war or experiencing free love.  I missed out on all of the big trends of “my” generation and I’ve always felt kind of like their annoying kid sister who was too young to be part of their fun.  I’ve never felt any advantage to this position, till now.  

As I’ve been describing my blog to people I talk a lot about how the image and reality of midlife has changed.  Teenagers are still not dying to be in our shoes, but we are not seen as over-the-hill, dull or lifeless anymore.  Like every life-stage they have passed through, the boomer generation is responsible for recreating, rethinking, and updating this part of life.  

The generation that wanted to (and did) make huge, sweeping social changes in their 20’s was used to the power of their massive group think.  If they all felt vibrant, exciting, and far from half-dead in mid-life then that was how they would redefine it.  They threw expectations of how a middle-age man or woman should look out the window.  Rules about what age is too old to have long hair (on both sexes) or wear a short skirt (mostly women) were scratched in favor of their motto, “If it feels good, do it.”  They wrote the first chapters in the book on how to be a working mom, dating with kids, and finding yourself.

This blog wouldn’t exist without their new attitudes.  

I sometimes feel closer to Gen X; the more tech savvy, individualistic generation that loves to question authority.  But it’s clear to me that rampant individualism is the result of the group-think boomers tearing down the rules of society in advance of their Gen X kids. Questioning authority is a given for those who follow the radicals who questioned the Vietnam War and fought for civil rights.  

I see that my annoying-kid-sister position has its advantages.  I say to the (slightly) older boomers, you lead the way into the next phase, into retirement.  Show me how to do it in a whole new way.  I’ll follow.  


Why Crazy?


One of the unexpected positive side effects of middle age is a mental transformation.  Until I got to this stage in life I never understood why people seemed to go off the deep end in their 40’s and 50’s.  I get it now.  

As I crept closer to turning 50 it dawned on me that I am finite.  My logical brain has always known this, but I pushed the thought to the back burner because my demise (from old age, of course) was so far away.  Now, logic tells me that I may not live to 100 (or want to).  This body may shrivel up and wither away sometime in my 90’s, or even my 80’s.  That really doesn’t leave me much time . . .to do what, I’m not quite sure, but now I feel a psychic time crunch.  

It is this ticking clock that brings on what others might see as crazy.  When I look at my dreams, my bucket list, my BIG to do list; there are things I have had to let go of.  Scratch rock concert promoter off my career list.  Right now I am deep in a career of raising two teenagers and when I am done with that job, I can’t see myself wanting another one that involves extremely loud music, cleaning up after people and juggling multiple schedules.  

Other things have moved up on the list.  Tour Europe before I need a walker or a Hoveround.  Skinny dip more often.  Take gourmet cooking classes (and eat my homework).  Brush up on my high school French, in Montreal or Paris.  Hug and kiss my kids as much as possible before they slip away.  Date my husband.  

I see that my time is too limited and too precious for people who are petty or mean.  I’m filling my life with people of all age groups who are fun, and kind, and live with a carpe-diem attitude more often than not.  

I also understand why the divorce rate spikes in middle age. People change during 20 or more years of parenthood and that can become glaringly obvious when the noise of child rearing quiets and you can hear your clock ticking.  You either decide to tackle your bucket lists together, as lovers and friends, or you don’t.  I count myself lucky that my sweetie wants to drive me to the tattoo parlor and video my skydive.  He wants to join me in my crazy and I’m looking forward to his.  

I could deny growing older and pretend my birthdays away, but I really don’t want to.  I like having a hall pass for breaking out of my box; a get out of jail free card for tattoos and bikinis, sports cars and romance.  I like my middle age crazy.