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

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Home Features Every Newly (Un)Retired Couple Wants

Diana Landau | April 11, 2022
This is a “love letter” from my wife Diana about her experience with me moving my office home.
 
  1. Cone of Silence—That’s right, Get Smart style. Just press a button and you can have actual phone conversations without your partner “interjecting” with helpful opinions.
 
  1. Padded Room—Not for your partner, but for yourself. Sometimes sharing the home 24/7 is all a bit too much.
 
  1. The True Divider—This is an actual wall constructed down the middle of your one office that you have to share. Matching shelving on each side for storing YOUR very important mementos and vital personal items that your partner erroneously states are “junk.”
 
  1. Kitchen Sweeper—Not for your floors, but for your kitchen counters where partner has left remnants of lunch, part-time work papers, backpack full of pickleballs and lots of notes written in tiny scribble that not even the cat can decipher.
 
  1. Private Sanctuary—Uh, a certain partner uses this term for the bathroom. Whatever.
 
  1. Discerning Doorbell—this features a speaker that says loudly, firmly yet politely, “Go Away!” for those times when neither of you want to get up and see who’s at the door.
 
  1. Living Room—This area is actually your new office/sanctuary. As you talk on the phone, you look at the walls and imagine them padded. (See #2 above.)
 
  1. Sports Viewing Room—It’s actually outside. Well, ok, the man or woman cave in the garage, but please, just outside.
 
  1. Pet Throne—With all the extra time you two have now, you both spend an inordinate amount of time fawning over the pet(s). Perfect, fluffy, organic, silk pillow for Fido? Yes, Amazon!
 
  1. Outsized Wine Rack—This feature becomes critical to survival and civility as time goes on.
Tags:    the carl diary   unretirement   home office   marriage   work from home  

Getting WAY OUT of your Comfort Zone

Carl Landau | February 08, 2022
I talk about getting out of your comfort zone a lot on my I Used to be Somebody show. It's is a big theme of the show and one of the reasons I started the podcast. I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could have a successful podcast after selling my company and also to help others figure out how to create their own successful second acts in life.
 
So I just took a big leap! I recently confessed to comedian Greg Schwem, a guest on the show, that I had just signed up for a stand-up comedy workshop. We meet for 6 weeks and for our "final" my classmates and I each get a 5 minute set in front of a LIVE audience. 
 
I saw this class advertised on a Facebook post. And there was no one at that moment who I could talk to, in hopes of "talking me out of it." So I immediately signed up before I chickened out. I was literally shaking as I filled in my credit card info to pay online for the workshop.
 
I just had my first session. Our teacher is the very talented Jack Gallagher who I actually had interviewed last spring for my show. He's been a comedian / writer / actor for 40+ years. Another reason I signed up for the workshop was to meet and get to know the other weirdos like me that want to try this stand-up thing. I wasn't disappointed. They come from all walks of life. Everyone there had a different reason for attending. We are an interesting bunch for sure but it all seemed to be good- hearted and supportive. Which is what you need in a nerve-wracked environment of stand-up comedy.
 
And as Jack pointed out.........a five minute set is waaaay longer than you think. It's also a very long time if you're bombing.
 
Jack had each one of us go up on the stage right away. He wants us to feel comfortable on that stage. Some of my classmates have already done some stand-up. Some have an acting background. Oh, and then there is me.
 
The first time on the stage was easy. Jack did a Q & A session with us -- our life story, why we were there and who are favorite comedians were. I did fine. The second part on stage was a complete disaster for me. Jack performed a 3 minute comedy bit and each of us took turns to repeat that set. Just about everyone was able to jump up there and do their version of the bit. I was in total panic mode while watching everyone else. 
Ironically, the set I'm working on for my own stand-up set is that I'm dyslexic and how I've had to deal with it my whole life. Sometimes my brain gets jumbled up and I don't have the skills to do exactly the task I want it to do. So my 28-second act was a disaster. My classmates politely clapped and I sat down mortified. 
I'll do another diary entry before my final stage performance. I'm actually eager to go back next week. I was successful by showing up and making the effort. I certainly got out of my comfort zone. And you know what? Nothing bad has happened to me yet.
 
Tags:    the carl diary   stand up comedy   comedy   comfort zone   try new things   unretirement   Jack Gallagher  

Renel Brooks-Moon Interview: Former Radio Personality Breaks Barriers as Baseball Announcer

Diana Landau | February 01, 2022

This week Carl interviews the remarkable Renel Brooks-Moon. If you haven't heard of her, you probably know her famous voice. Renel has been a big-time radio personality in the San Francisco/Bay Area for over two decades, one of the major markets in the country. For her second act, she is now the public address announcer for the San Francisco Giants. She has earned a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame as the first woman in history to be the public address announcer for a World Series game and championship game in ANY professional sport. (Note: Carl has a super-fan gush going on in this interview.)

 

Renel was born and raised in the Bay Area and loved to entertain, even as a young child. She comes from a family of trailblazers—her father was the first black high school principal in San Francisco and her mother was also an educator. She gets her deep sense of community service from her parents, who were long-time community activists. She went to Mills College and after graduation started an entry-level job for a Bay Area radio station, eventually doing every single job there. “I fell in love from Day One,” she tells us. She was finally offered a nightspot on air in 1985, not expecting it to ever become a career. But everything clicked. “Once I turn on that microphone, it’s where I belong!”

 

Renel went on to have a very successful career in radio, meeting Luther Vandross, Mariah Carey, Tina Turner and even singing once with Lionel Richie. Renel was in her element. When she got the call from the San Francisco Giants, she blazed a trail again. She feels a responsibility to be a role model for girls and women in both radio and major league sports. “When I was a little girl, there was no representation for that.” She inspires little girls everywhere to go after their dreams. Renel notes, “For some reason, I ended up in two very male-dominated professions, but I love the work.”

 

She’s had many highlights in her second act, whether it’s making history, interviewing baseball legends or giving her voice and influence to community service. Now, after 22 seasons with the Giants, Carl asks her what her third act might be. “Who knows? I've always wanted to have my own talk show!” We won't be surprised when that happens.
 
Renel’s (Un)Retirement Tips:
Network: “Networking is very important, no matter what your career is or where you are in it. Every job I've had is because of a relationship.”
Serve your community: "The most rewarding part of any job I've had is to use my voice for community service.”
Try it now: "If you've had something you've always wanted to do since childhood, and you are still thinking about it, there’s no reason not to try it now.”
Keep moving: “Stay on top of it. Take care of yourself, listen to your body. Mental health is just as important as physical health.” 
 
• More about Renel Brooks-Moon
• Sponsored by Capital Advantage
 
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:    interview   blog   baseball   san francisco   world series   san francisco giants   unretirement  

Greg Schwem Interview: Stand-Up Comedian Finds His Third Act

Diana Landau | January 11, 2022

Carl interviews stand-up comedian Greg Schwem this week. Greg not only does stand-up comedy but he has performed on Jay Leno, with Celine Dion, and corporate gigs like Microsoft and United Airlines. Greg talks with us about his third act in the comedy world – as the creator/producer/director/writer/performer of a funny new YouTube show, “A Comedian Crashes Your Pad.” (Fun fact: Greg is also a kick-ass pickleball player!)

 

Greg grew up in middle-class Arlington Heights, a burb in Chicagoland. He says he gets his funny bone from his father, who was an electronic salesman. “You have to be funny to be successful in sales,” he says. Gutsy move: Greg was an introverted teen and not a big “joiner” until he performed stand-up for the first time at 16 at his high school. “Making people laugh has a lot of advantages socially!”

 

After graduating from Northwestern, he worked as a journalist, working for different media. At 24, he moved to Florida and started going to comedy clubs as something to do in the evenings. He soon discovered he enjoyed being a stand-up comedian more than he liked being a journalist. His parents were wary at first, but he says when he brought them to Las Vegas years later and they saw his name on the marquee, they realized he could make a living doing what he loved.
After two decades of performing as a stand-up and doing corporate gigs, he taught himself some new things. “COVID taught me some video skills,” Greg says. He began creating a new show about a comedian who visits people in their homes through one of the home-sharing sites, learning about their quirky lives. “When people are in their own element, you’d be surprised how much they open up.” Greg shares, “When I started it (the show) it was just me with an iPhone and a GoPro.” He now has a crew of one to help with the camera work.

 

Greg's career is still going strong as he re-invents himself. He also loves performing at senior communities. “It’s enjoyable to see people who've worked hard and are now in the second or third act of life. They really enjoy laughing—especially about themselves. It’s refreshing to see them really respond.” Greg still performs around the country when not working on his YouTube show and of course, winning at pickleball. “I am going out on a cruise ship soon and I can’t wait to see people of all ages in one room having fun!”

 

Greg’s (Un)retirement advice:
  • “Laugh! It’s so cliché but I believe laughing is good for your health and keeps your mind sharp. At this age, that’s so key.”
  • “It’s never too late to try something new. Also, don’t worry about what others think of you!”
  • “Look for the next FUN project! I don’t care where you are in your life, it’s out there.”
• More about Greg Schwem
• Sponsored by Capital Advantage
 
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   unretirement   pickleball   comedy   stand-up   third-act  

Carl Landau Interview: Celebrating Episode #50 -- Our Host Reveals it ALL!

Diana Landau | December 14, 2021

In this last episode of 2021, we flip the podcast-- and Diana, Carl’s wife/content wrangler/blogger interviews the host. As she interviews Carl, they do a bit deeper dive into his childhood, his parent's divorce, the family barrel business started by his grandfather, his late-blooming teens, and his college years.
 
After a few marketing jobs post-college, Carl moved out to San Francisco in his early 20’s, landing a sales position with Miller Freeman, a B-to-B publishing giant (at the time). While working with exciting magazine titles like “World Coal”, Carl realized he could launch a magazine of his own. It also happened to be the early 1980’s in the Bay area, as coding and computers took off. At 26, he launched his first magazine, “Computer Language.” He then launched a magazine a little ahead of its time, “AI Expert.” (Artificial Intelligence)
 
After selling those magazines and taking a couple of years off in his first (un)retirement, Carl identified the craft beer and wine homemaking trends and launched “Brew Your Own”, “Brew Pub” and “Winemaker” magazines. After selling those magazines in the early 2000s, Carl saw that the magazine industry conferences seemed to be only for the big titles, when 95% of the magazine market was smaller, niche titles. (Think Concrete Today, VegNews, Backyard Poultry)
 
Carl launched the Niche Magazine Conference in 2007 producing hundreds of niche magazine seminars and conferences nationwide. He sold that company in 2019. As our audience knows, Carl started a podcast in 2020 during the pandemic, making himself the guinea pig for a show about people who had big-time jobs and now wanted to do something new in their Second (or Third or Fourth) acts of life. He also offers some insights into what it was like to launch the podcast and some news about the new future of the I Used to be Somebody show. Listen in to find out!
 
Carlism Trivia:
What question does Carl NOT ask podcast guests?
  1. What was the worst job you ever had?
  2. Can you summarize your (un)retirement in four of five words?
  3. What is your pickleball experience?
  4. How much did you weigh as a baby?
  5. What was your childhood like?
Email your answer to podcast@pickleballmediahq.com for a chance to win a free Pickleball Media hat.
• More about Carl Landau and the Pickleball Media Team
• Sponsored by Capital Advantage
• Sponsored by LoveMyHeartStudy.com
 
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   unretirement   carl landau   anniversary   second act   podcast  

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