I Used to Be Somebody: (Un)Retirement Lessons Learned

Richard Haiduck Interview: A New Spin on (Un)Retirement

Diana Landau | January 19, 2021
Richard Haiduck was Carl’s guest on the podcast this week. Richard is a former Life Sciences Exec who just published his new book, Shifting Gears: 50 Baby Boomers Share Their Meaningful Journeys in RetirementThe book is based on interviews with retirees who share how they are shifting gears in their (un)retirement. Sometimes they shift smoothly, sometimes they grind the gears, and often they take some time to find their groove. The stories reveal the rich abundance of “second life” adventures, from the exotic to the mundane. It’s about the joys, challenges, and inspirations that are a part of the journey in this next stage of life.  
 
The interview started out extremely well when Carl asked his guest, as an icebreaker, if he knew anything about Pickleball. (Carl asks this question to every single guest, and so far he was 0-13.) Richard not only knew all about it, he has a court on his property(!) and plays often with his grandkids. So excited to get his very first positive response, Carl talked about how pickleball is the great equalizer, anyone can play together, it’s great exercise and super fun.
 
Now to the core of the interview—Richard grew up in Grand Rapids, MI and attended Miami University in Ohio. Even as a 7-year old, Richard knew he wanted to be an author. He wrote every day for one year, writing all kinds of fiction. Then he just stopped, wanting to focus on other kid-things like riding his bike, hanging out with friends, etc. A couple decades later, Richard turned that laser focus to the life sciences, working as a CEO for start-up bio-tech companies, their mission to discover breakthroughs in medicine.
 
After many years of living in Singapore and New Zealand, Richard then decided to pivot, setting up his own consulting practice. He wanted to share his knowledge and lessons learned to help new CEO’s of bio-tech start ups. He had two criteria for mentoring clients: “I worked with people I liked and I liked what they were working on.” Carl agreed that is one of the advantages of being an entrepreneur. He added, “You get to choose your employees AND choose your clients.”
 
Richard charted a wise and gradual course into (un)retirement life. Every year, over a span of 5 years, he began reducing his client load by 20% and adding a retirement activity. The goal was to phase out of work and ease into (un)retirement without that hard shift from “Monday you’re the boss, and Tuesday it all stops.” Richard and Carl acknowledged that depending on your profession, it’s not so easy for some people to do it that way.
 
Now fully in (un)retirement, Richard still cycles 3,000 miles a year, among other pursuits. As Richard talks with his friends and his network, he noticed a familiar thread. They were doing all these amazing things in retirement but not necessarily sharing about it. His desire to become an author, from all those years ago, came back. He wanted to write a book about their experiences to share with others. “I had two criteria for the book. 1) the process was enjoyable, and 2) over time, it had to feel like a useful book to people.”
 
A “relaxed intensity” theme emerged from these stories. Many people could still become deeply immersed in something, but in a more relaxed way. To explain it further, Richard said, “It’s like you take on something that’s difficult and a challenge without ripping your insides out about it.  You just can’t do that in your 30’s.” The end result is (un)retirees are combining joy with a sense of purpose.
 
Richard’s (un)retirement advice:
 •     I used to be somebody, I’m still somebody—just different now.
 •     Before you make the decision to retire, be sure you are able to identify what you are going to.
 •     Try it on and see, if it doesn’t work, move on!
 •     Define what this new freedom really means to you.
 
To learn more about Richard Haiduck: visit his website.
 
For the full interview, listen to I Used to be Somebody, Episode #14 with Richard Haiduck.
 
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.
Tags:    blog   interview   cycling   author   retirement   advice  

Superfan (Un)Retirement Success Story: Julie Sursok

Carl Landau | January 19, 2021

So You're a Senior, WTF! 

 

Julie Sursok is an inspiring breakthrough author of the best-selling book “I’m Now called a Senior WTF.” Julie is a senior herself. She has run her own successful businesses, performed on stage and television and is an award-winning recording artist.
 
Julie emigrated from South Africa to Australia mastering the challenges of losing everything to rise back up again. And now with laughter, humility and life experience she is passionately inspiring seniors to stand tall and feel relevant again.
 
When she closed down her business, she realized that she was now in the category of “senior” but just didn’t feel like one. Julie saw seniors struggling with the premise that their self worth was tied up in their past and what they did and that they had now lost their identity.
 
It appeared retirement was fast becoming “retirement from life”. Julie knew she needed to change this and make seniors realize that this is the beginning of so many new things. She needed to get up on stage and talk in front of thousands of people and help them find their purpose and to be curious about interests that they hadn't dared to try. And, through that they would feel alive again.
 
So, as an example, she wrote a short film and directed it, executive produced a movie, became computer literate, danced the salsa with her grandchildren, discovered new countries with her co-senior and now, she's written a book.
 
Julie tells us, "For Boomers, it is only one small step at a time, you don't climb to the top of the ladder in one leap, you climb up one step at a time. I say to Boomers, we are all in the same boat but now is the time to find your new why. It just takes curiosity."
 
Super-Fan (Un)retirement Success Stories: We want to hear from you! Submit your personal stories of professional (un)retirement success to podcast@pickleballmediahq.com.

 

Tags:    blog   superfan   star of the week   unretirement   author   best-seller  

Chris Farrell Interview: Push Back on Boomer Stereotypes in Our Economy

Diana Landau | January 12, 2021
Carl interviewed Chris Farrell this week. Chris has an impressive resume: economist, economics editor of Marketplace Money, a radio show host on American Public Media, a radio host on Minnesota Public Radio, and columnist for the Star Tribune and PBS Next Avenue. Chris has also written five best-selling books, most recently Purpose and a Paycheck: Finding Meaning, Money and Happiness in the Second Half of Life.
 
Chris has studied and reported on economic trends for decades. For years people speculated on the Boomer generation and what would happen as they age. 
 
FACT: Roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers will celebrate their 65th birthday every single day until 2030.
 
Chris combined scholarly research with firsthand reporting to debunk the popular myth that an aging population is a burden on the economy. Instead, he found that people in the second half of life could be as creative, innovative and entrepreneurial as their younger peers. “The Boomer big shift is to starting a business, as solopreneurs or micropreneurs. They have knowledge, experience, typically they have contacts—and it doesn’t cost much to start a business these days. Whether they are forced to start a business or it’s something they want to do, it’s becoming a significant trend in our economy.”
 
In his youth, Chris went to Stanford and after graduation became a Merchant Marine, working all over the world for a year before attending the London School of Economics. Carl reminisced about his 20’s in San Francisco and how exciting it was to start up his first magazine. Chris agreed, noting that people need to lighten up on a lot of the young people in their mid-20’s. “You don’t have to decide your career early on. You can experiment, you can shift, and actually most people I know may have had some sort of idea what they wanted to do, but would end up doing something very different.”
 
Over the course of his career, Chris has been a columnist for Businessweek, The New York Times, Kiplinger's and many others. “One of the things many of us have learned over the course of our careers is what you do—it’s important you enjoy it and like it all and a lot of that comes from the people you are surrounded with; Are they smart, are they engaging, do they care? …..Be around people you want to be with!”
 
Some of Chris’s tips on contemplating (un) retirement:
 
1. Carve out some daily time for introspection. 
2. Then go to your network and ask them what they think. Your network knows you and cares about you and will help you hone in on your strengths.
3. This is not a “one and done” decision. That never works. Have that experimental mindset.
4. Realize the significance of (un) retirement and entrepreneurship. 
 
“I’m so impressed with how creative people are and what they end up doing,” added Chris. “One of the most heartening economic trends I've seen in our economy is multi-generational start-ups—it’s a wonderful trend.” 
 
To learn more about Chris Farrell, visit his website.
 
For the full interview, listen to I Used to be Somebody, Episode #12 with Chris Farrell.
 
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.
Tags:    blog   interview   Chris Farrell   unretirement   boomer  

Super-Fan (Un)Retirement Success Stories: Jill Thiry

Diana Landau | January 12, 2021
Look for YES!

 

Jill Thiry tells us she "fell upon" publishing just after completing an MBA in San Francisco. She also attended USF evenings while working full time in Insurance, after 2 years of teaching skiing, kayaking in Europe and traveling the world en route to home.)
 
She started with CMP Media in Oakland at their partnered investment with HealthWeek magazine doing classified ad sales and management. That initiated a 15-year career at CMP that grew professionally to VP Group Publisher.  She then decided to leave publishing for something new. “My advice is to look for new Yes’s in life, which also means practicing new desired No’s.”
 
Jill joined a choir, and then started a regular yoga and Pilates practice. She took her "work hard, play hard" philosophy and applied it more to "work smart and take time off to enjoy new things".  She joined an annual Family Goal Setting Group, which was the start of Club Change
 
Jill also wanted to now only work for things she was passionate about, and for many months even worked straight commission in order to toe-dip in healthcare, human resources, small business development, and recreation. During this same time, she started visiting Rancho La Puerta more and more and soon it became her  "happy place". She had an opportunity to move to Mexico and work at the Ranch—and she took it.
 
Three years ago, Jill reduced her hours at the Ranch and now co-exists across the border as well.  Half of each week she’s in Tecate working in her happy place at Rancho La Puerta. The other half of the week she’s enjoying the SoCal beach life in Imperial Beach and growing her Club Change business.  Jill remains inspired and ready to expand. “Who knows, maybe the next act will include "Club Change" weekends all over the country, and hopefully complete my first book?!”
 
Jill's advice on (un)retirement: “So often what we are looking for is right in front of us, and when we are humble and honest and looking with an open mind and heart, the solution is right there, like a red carpet extended for the rest of your life!” 
 
Note: Jill now offers a "Set Your Intention" one-hour complementary class, or an 8-week Club Change session for assistance in making change, one loving intention at a time.  
 
Super-Fan (Un)retirement Success Stories: We want to hear from you! Submit your personal stories of professional (un)retirement success to podcast@pickleballmediahq.com.
Tags:    blog   superfan   star of the week   unretirement   rancho la puerta   socal   club change  

Super-Fan (Un)Retirement Success Stories: Robert Francis James

Diana Landau | January 04, 2021
Based in our nation’s capital, Bob James enjoyed a 40-year career in marketing and PR. His clients included tech companies, manufacturers, financial services firms, publishers, trade associations, and government agencies. Besides steering clients’ campaigns, Bob spent much of the 40 years’ time writing copy, contributing articles and op-eds to trade magazines and to big-city newspapers like Newsday and The Washington Post. He even ghost-wrote speeches for a U.S. President (hint: the one who starred opposite a chimp in the 1951 film “Bedtime for Bonzo”).

 

Bob climbed off the marketing merry-go-round the day he turned 65, devoting the next 18 months to the hunt for a second career. “I’d been working 40 hours a week since I was 19, and was happy to step out of the rat race,” Bob told us.

 

“That said, I felt unmoored after I dropped out. While I told myself that was okay—I was taking a ‘gap year’—still I’d spend my mornings obsessively watching podcasts and reading books and blogs about retirement lifestyles and ‘encore careers,’ making lists of possible second-act careers. 

 

“But none of the business pursuits I landed on felt quite right—or, indeed, sustainable. I tried a part-time job, but hated it and quit after three days (the red uniform required didn’t help my morale). At one point, I even started to draft business plans—one for a trade publishing company, one for a tour operator, and the third for a recycling firm. But all those ventures seemed formidable, exhausting, and way too risky. The research I did only persuaded me that the businesses were personal dead ends.

 

“Meanwhile, I filled my afternoons drawing and painting and studying with great teachers at two of the local arts centers. Those pursuits soon became the highlights of my week, second only to joining my wife on Fridays for Happy Hour at the pub down the block.

 

“Then, suddenly, one day in class I dashed off a painting the teacher (not kiddingly) called a ‘masterpiece,’ and I realized that—with enough effort—I could move beyond ‘hobby painter’ to ‘professional painter’ status. 

 

"Strange as it sounds, Covid-19 pushed me to act on that thought. Locked down and unable to venture outside much, I instead hired an artist’s consultant. With her guidance, I built a website, launched a blog, commissioned a logo, printed business cards, joined local arts organizations, and applied for exhibitions and fairs. The new business was up and running in less than four months, at a cost of less than $5,000.

 

“The best way to prepare for your second-act career is to pursue a passion project—or two or three—without any thought of monetizing them. Then, one day, things will click, and you’ll be off to the races!"

 

Bob now paints small expressionist still lifes in oil. He spends his days on the lookout for objects that evoke tranquility and domesticity, and paints them in a realistic fashion. By applauding the plain and prosaic, Bob’s paintings ask viewers to slow down, step back, stop doing and start looking—if only for a moment.

 

For more information about Robert Francis James go to: robertfrancisjames.com/
 
Super-Fan (Un)retirement Success Stories: We want to hear from you! Submit your personal stories of professional (un)retirement success to podcast@pickleballmediahq.com.
Tags:    blog   superfan   star of the week   unretirement   painter   artist