Next!: The Power of Reinvention in Life and Work by Joanne Lipman
Change is hard. But it’s often well worth it. As people approach retirement, many people sense that they’re not done yet. They have more to contribute, more to learn and more to do. And so thoughts often turn to an encore career. What’s next? How can I redirect and redeploy my skills and experience? What if I took on something entirely new?
As someone who’s done that, I can attest that creating a second career isn’t easy, but it is quite doable – and highly rewarding in many different ways. But how do you get there? What’s the playbook?
Joanne Lipman is an award-winning journalist, who has served as Editor-in-Chief of USA Today, USA Today Network, Conde Nast Portfolio, and The Wall Street Journal’s Weekend Journal, In Next!: The Power of Reinvention in Life and Work, she’s created a valuable guide based on her research, experience and hundreds of conversations with experts in various fields and people who’ve successfully made a career pivot, including the inside story of James Patterson’s transition from advertising to becoming prolific author. It’s insightful and practical.
What I love about this book is that it dispels a number of common, pervasive myths about career pivots. The first is that second careers are sudden. Lipman points out that they’re more often the product of many “tiny moves” along the way that lay the foundation for a new career. The second is that the pathway is linear. She notes that baby boomers are increasingly creating new careers later in life by leveraging secondary nascent talents and side projects that lead to a new direction.
The heart of the book is what she calls a “Reinvention Roadmap” consisting of four stages that emerged as common denominators in her interviews: Search, Struggle, Stop, and Solution. The first step,The Search, is when you are collecting information and experiences to accumulate knowledge. She notes that counterintuitively, it’s often unintentional and can lead you to unexpected places. The second stage is The Struggle, the uncomfortable stage where you start to disconnect from your previous identity, but before you’ve figured out your next move and your new identity. Lipman highlights that this stage can last for some time, until you reach the third stage, The Stop, which is the transition point where you move on to your future.
A key point in this book is that The Struggle is a pivotal stage. Lipman explains this phase can be deceptive. People that they’re spinning their wheels, but it turns out that this is where real progress is made and encore careers are ultimately created. And it’s where some people give up too soon. This is perhaps the most valuable section in Next! You’ll come away prepared to anticipate, appreciate and even embrace this satge.
Echoing the Designing Your Life process created by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, Lipman spotlights the power of exploring multiple “possible selves” and the value of working with an “Expert Companion” who can offer guidance and support to your journey. If an encore career is of interest to you, Next! is a must read.
Listen to my podcast conversation with Joanne Lipman here.