Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What You Might Have Been...

Do you have a career regret? Maybe you dreamed of being a writer, but chose a career in banking because it paid the bills. Or perhaps you imagined having your own brewery, testing new recipes and creating a community of beer enthusiasts. However, your real job got in the way of fulfilling this dream.  

When I reflect on my career, my one regret is I didn’t accept an invitation to interview with Viking Sewing Machine Co. in Minneapolis. I always wanted to be a home economist in business. I was in love with the idea of living the “Mary Tyler Moore lifestyle.”

So, when Viking Sewing Machine Company called, why didn’t I accept an invitation to interview?

The position paid 2/3 of what I was earning at an educational institution. I had trouble making a living on this salary while living in a rural New York town. How could I possibly move to a big city and live on 1/3 less income? I believed I would have to borrow from my parents to meet monthly expenses. This might be the norm in 2014—it wasn’t acceptable in 1984.

If similar pressures impacted your career decisions, the good news is that there isn’t only ONE thing that you were meant to be. Retirement is the perfect time to uncover regrets, and address unfinished business or unfulfilled dreams. As George Eliot said, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

Although my career followed an educational path, my dream to work in Corporate America remained alive. Dreams that are meant to be don’t die. They may be dormant for a while, 30 years in my case, but if they are real, their spirit remains strong.

I’m using my “retirement years” to breathe life into this dream. I’m acting boldly. (It’s too late to play it safe.) And my efforts are paying off. Within a few weeks I may be living my dream of working in Corporate America. Retirement has given me a second chance to live life with no regrets—to become what I might have been. 

How about you? What do you really want? What dreams won’t fade away? How can you use your retirement to realize this dream?