Mark Shaiken Interview: Figuring Out What You Really Want!
Diana Landau | November 02, 2021
At the 32:23 time-mark, you can listen to Carl's updated short interview with Mark and hear news about his wonderful "afterlife" and learn about his first fiction novel, “Fresh Start”. The original interview aired one year ago.
Mark Shaiken talks with Carl about what comes next after a big career as a successful attorney. Mark planned to take his life in an entirely different direction – as a writer. He has just released his first book, “And... Just Like That: Essays on a life before, during and after the law” and wants to eventually become a full-time author.
Mark grew up in Queens, NY and his family moved 11 times in 17 years. It was hard to make friends, only to move on again. In high school, he was envious of his friends who already knew what they wanted to do with their lives after graduation. He eventually became engaged and took a law school admission exam on a whim, never imagining he would have a long career as a big-firm bankruptcy attorney.
The "What's next? What else can I do?" questions started in his 50’s. The answers were not so easy. “It’s sort of a loaded question,” says Mark. “The truth is there are lots of things we can do.” He started joking about his "afterlife" because he thought he'd have to die to get out of law.
"I knew I wanted to retire to something, not from something," Mark says. He allowed himself to dream, read career-pivot books, then found "Your Next Season," which inspired him to actually call the author at his home. Turns out the author had formed a company to help people during career transitions and Mark became a client. "I give myself credit for going outside myself for help when I needed it." It was a game-changer for him.
Today Mark is an amazing(!) sports and nature photographer while serving the Denver community on several Boards and teaching photography to veterans with PTSD. He has just released his second book, "Fresh Start" (the title from a bankruptcy code), a legal thriller, and is working on his third book. "It hasn't been a linear path to my afterlife," Mark tells us, "But I have wrapped up my law practice and I'm now happily a full-time novelist."
Mark's (Un)Retirement advice:
The plan: "Some people retire, then figure it out. That may work, but it's not for me. I need something more structured."
Joining a Board or charity: "Fit is important. You have to believe in the mission."
Life tip: "Don't ever believe there's only one thing you can do!"
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.