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

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Mark Linsz: Top Bank of America Exec now a Second Act Guru

Diana Landau | December 07, 2021

Carl interviews Mark Linsz, the Co-Founder and Senior Managing Partner of My Next Season, an organization that helps companies and individuals with important career transitions and ensures they happen well. Mark was formerly the CFO Risk Executive for Bank of America—in the top tier of leadership. He’s had 27 years of holding key corporate leadership roles on three continents.

 

Mark’s childhood was unique—since his father was a minister and professor, he grew up in Asheville, NC, lived on Long Island, NY, and then spent years living in Africa. “I always loved numbers and figuring things out—even as a little kid.” In college, he became intrigued by two possible careers: 1) a trader on the stock market floor, and 2) a real estate developer. He ended up in a very big-time career in risk management, helping businesses assess financial, lending, and even reputation risks. “The benchmark was if it was too embarrassing for my mother to read, that it probably isn't good.”

 

Mark and his family lived in Hong Kong and London before being called back to the United States right before the recession. “Both experiences were fantastic for our family, experiencing different cultures.” At the end of 2007, Mark was commuting between work in NYC and his family still in London, then the whole family moved to Charlotte and he took yet another position with B of A. It was a very stressful time for Mark and the entire world when the recession hit. You’ll have to listen to the podcast to hear what it was like from Mark’s top position in banking.

 

About 2013, Mark started thinking about what he wanted to do next. “I needed to do something different,” he tells us. At first, he thought he would go into some type of financial advising. But then he talked with his future business partner, Dr. Leslie Braksick about people in executive roles and how to help them with transitioning to the life they want in their second, or third act. They started My Next Season in 2014. “It’s been a fantastic ride!” he says. Mark and his family now live in Charlotte, North Carolina. He loves his work but also makes time for family and nurturing friendships. “Seeing people transition with purpose is really exciting and so rewarding. You can have more impact and influence than you ever had before.”

 

Mark Linsz’s (un)retirement tips:
• “If I had to do it all over again, I wish I’d taken more time off.” (In between career and new venture).
• “Take time to think through what you really want to do next. Take 6 months to a year to find your passion, it’s extremely important.”
• “Be open to a new purpose. Think outside that box. This is your opportunity to try new things.”
• “The three most important things to focus on in (un)retirement are your relationships (family, friends, work), your purpose and to make sure you are intellectually challenged.”
 
• More about Mark Linsz and My Next Season
• More about LoveMyHeartStudy.com
• 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   cfo   finances   recession   career  

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!"
 
• Learn more about Mark Shaiken visit: https://www.markshaikenphoto.com/books/
• Sponsored this week by LoveMyHeartStudy.com: https://lowercholesterol.study/?utm_source=pickleball&utm_medium=podcast&utm_campaign=lovemyheartstudy
Unretirement
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   mark shaiken   attorney   author   unretirement   career   law  

Paul Ollinger Interview: Former Facebook Exec Turn Comedian -- “Now I’m Me!”

Diana Landau | October 05, 2021

 
Carl talks with Paul Ollinger, an author, stand-up comedian and host of the Crazy Money podcast. He also has an MBA from Dartmouth’s Tuck School and was one of the first 250 employees of Facebook, where he served as VP of West Coast Sales. You could say Paul is on his third successful career at this point.
 
Paul grew up in a suburb of Atlanta, one of six kids from a big Catholic family. His father was an engineer for a Georgia utility company and although there was money, his parents were frugal and there was a strict budget. Paul felt that anxiety about money as a kid and as his careers at Facebook and in comedy rewarded him, he realized that no matter how much money you make, you can still feel stressed about it. His podcast, Crazy Money is not about how to make more money but about exploring the connection between money, happiness, work and meaning.
 
Paul’s path to success has been anything but linear. After college and a focus on business, Paul made his first attempt to become a stand-up comedian and became a host at LA comedy clubs, opening for many big names at the time. Then he got married and started thinking about a more stable career for raising a family. A friend asked him if he wanted to be part of this new social media start-up company—he became the 250th employee at Facebook.
 
After relocations to other cities and promotions, in 2012 Paul left his very financially secure job and decided to put down roots for his young family. Atlanta was home. For the first few years, Paul wasn’t sure what to do. “I didn’t go toward anything after I quit my job.” He then worked for a year but knew it wasn’t the right fit. He decided to face his real fear—would he fail if he went back to comedy? He started writing every day, got himself into the comedy scenes in various cities and committed to his new path.
 
Carl agreed that forging an entirely new career is scary—but it’s invigorating! Paul noted that the nervousness means you really care about what you’re doing because you want to figure it out. “Breaking ourselves out of the mode by which we’ve been measuring ourselves for past decades is highly disconcerting, but it’s what you need to do to find a new path in the post-corporate world.” Now in 2021, Paul has a very successful career as a stand-up comedian, author and speaker, and is also busy hosting his podcast. From a young age, Paul has been driven to push himself to new heights. “I just want to get so much better at everything I do!”
 
(Un)retirement advice from Paul Ollinger:
  • “Change your metrics! The way you’ve been evaluating your life in the work world will be very different afterwards. And if you’re looking for external validation like bonuses and titles and being known in the industry, that goes away…..YOU have to be the one to monitor your own progress.”
  • “We need to have a longer term ‘through line’ in our lives. That’s where the meaning lives. The sooner you can get on it and it feels authentic to you, the sooner you’ll get to this is me, this is my life.”
  • “Let go of worrying about anyone else. You are doing (this new path) for you. The world may not notice. Do it because it’s an expression of who you are without any external reward.”

 

• More about Paul Ollinger and his podcast Crazy Money: https://paulollinger.com/about/
• Sponsored by: lovemyheartstudy.com or call (866) 955-1594

 

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   facebook   executive   unretirement   comedy   paul ollinger   crazy money   dartmouth   career  

Caroline Ceniza-Levine Interview: Do What You Love to Do! (And Quit What You Don't)

Diana Landau | March 30, 2021
 
 
This week’s guest is Caroline Ceniza-Levine. Caroline is a dynamo in every sense. She has been a career coach for Amazon, Condé Nast, Goldman Sachs, Google, Tesla and other start-ups through global economies. Her specialty is career change, and she is the author of “Jump Ship: 10 Steps to Starting a New Career."
 
But HR is just a fraction of the many things she does well. She’s been a guest expert on CNN, NMC, CBS, FOX and other outlets; she’s also been a Senior Contributor to Forbes and a former career columnist in Money, CNBC and Portfolio. Did we mention she is also a Director for non-profits, an adjunct professor and a very funny stand-up comedian?
 
Although definitely not your average career path, Caroline says she learned the pace and variety from her hard-working single mother. She says that growing up in Lower East Manhattan, her mother always had several side gigs. Caroline went to Barnard College and studied at Julliard as a classical pianist. It was the first time she decided to pivot to something new. “That was a big growth step for me,” she says. “Quitting was a gift to myself.”
 
So Caroline followed her many other interests instead. She was working with large companies and saw very successful, talented, hard-working people who were still not 100% satisfied with their jobs. That’s when she decided to trust her instincts. Her secret? “You have to be prepared to pivot constantly. So I embraced that.”
 
Caroline urges people to find their dream jobs, instead of a haphazard approach to finding that next opportunity. The same could be said of (un)retirement—make a plan:
  • Look for growth opportunities
  • Identify your resources
  • Make the changes you desire
  • Re-brand yourself
  • Build a new community
  • Have confidence
 
During the podcast, Carl tells Caroline how much he admires how fearless she is. Caroline replied, “I’m actually fearful. But you just need to push yourself through it!” Caroline and her husband now split their time between NYC, Jacksonville FL, and Costa Rica. And you guessed it, still following her passions!
 
More insights on (un)retirement from Caroline:
•     "Networking—Go do it! Figure out the methods of networking that work best for you."
•     "It’s so much easier now to make money at things you are interested in. What a great time to have a body of expertise and experience and (you can) carve something new out of that."
•     "Work is play! I now pick my projects based on whether they’re going to be fun and I’m going to enjoy working on them."
 
• For more about Caroline Ceniza-Levine: https://focusisoverrated.com/
 
• This Week's Sponsor is The Monkey Creative: https://themonkeycreative.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   Caroline Ceniza Levine   pivot   comedy   career   dream job  

Your (Un) Retirement Super Power

Carl Landau | September 22, 2020

When we launched Pickleball Media and started our podcast, I looked at this project in the same way I did in my previous career. In podcasting, like most media businesses, it’s all about how to build an audience. So you do that via email and social media and through providing great content that will attract the right group.

 

It's not easy starting to build an audience from scratch. Without going into the boring details, we took all the right steps. But like anything there are some parts I like to do and... some I don't. Surprisingly, I like building out an audience contact list, talking to sponsors and creating content. And I really like the interviewing part of the podcast. It's the personal contact and interaction with creative types that gives me energy. 

 

But I really don't enjoy the social media part at all. And then it hit me... I don't need to do that. We'll do the basic stuff but I don't want to sweat the details of hardcore, daily social media. I just want to concentrate on what's fun for me. 

 

I guess my point is that I had to give myself permission to just do what I want to do in (un)retirement versus what I needed or had to do in my previous career. Sometimes I think we all get caught up in what we used to do. Now we need to figure out what we want to do!

Tags:    the carl diary   retirement   choices   media   career  

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