Second Acts: Inspirational Reads to Inspire Change

Many people I know have been in their careers for more than 20 years, some even retiring from the same company they started with out of college. Often they cannot understand how people today have multiple employers before they even turn 30. I was one of those people. I loved my company and what I did every day, but then things changed.

My first career happened quite by accident with a job that sounded like it would be fun for a while. A while turned into 12 years that were filled with fun, challenge and adventure every day. Then one day I realized it had stopped being all of those things and it was time to make a change. But how could I make a change in my career when I was already in my 40s and had not interviewed, let alone looked for a job, in over 12 years?

First, I had to determine what it was that I wanted to do. While I knew I did not want to continue where I was, it was unclear to me what I should pursue going forward. My first step began with going back to school because my parents taught me education always opens doors. I found a degree program that combined my management experience with my love of psychology and organizational design. It has taken me longer than expected but I will finish with my degree program in two short months at the end of July.

Second, I read every book I could get my hands on that involved change in the second half of yoru life. One that especially drove me was Suzanne Braun Levine’s Inventing the Rest of Our Lives. She points out that as we get older we fulfill our prescribed roles as daughter, wife, mother and employee and find ourselves able to be open to what we can become, what we desire to become based on our own expectations. This second half of my life also has me focused on where I want to be as a whole person, not just what I want to do for a career. Deepak Chopra’s Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul helped me to focus on bettering my body and soul creating healthy outlooks for both. As I continue on this journey, I find myself being more thoughtful about how I spend my time. Family and friends became my priority and if a time commitment does not include spending time with them, then I seriously rethink my priorities. P.M. Forni’s The Thinking Life: How to Thrive in the Age of Distraction gave me insight into how I can continue to make thoughtful choices about how I spend my time and attention and how to control the many facets of information that come our way.

Finally, I realized that this process of changing careers, going back to school and seeking out a new path is not about the destination but the journey. This journey has challenged me in ways that I never could have anticipated, introduced me to the most impressive people and brought me here to Anythink and our extraordinary team and customers. I have been lucky enough to get a second chance and have had a marvelous start to my very own second act.

Thinking of starting your own second act? Check out these titles for even more inspiration: Change Anything : The New Science of Personal Success, Lighten Up: Love What You Have, Have What You Need, Be Happier With Less, I Don't Know What I Want, But I Know It's Not This: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Gratifying Work, and Spontaneous Happiness.


Great blog post! Not quite in the same situation, I personally put education and careers on hold for raising my family. I am now finally able to focus on what I want to be when I grow up. It's hard when you are older, I hadn't found too many books on my own that offered the kind of guidance I was looking for. I appreciate the suggestions and am really looking forward to checking some of them out. Thanks!

I recently checked out "How to Change the World" by John-Paul Flintoff and I am so inspired! It's a psychology/philosophy mix that really shows anyone can change the world, even if your world is small (it's big for you!). This one title is part of a series of books called "The School of Life" and I look forward to reading all of them for their insightful and regenerative anecdotes!