By Anne C. Coon and Judith Ann Feuerherm
Book Review by Joe Casey
Women face some unique headwinds that can have a cumulative and lasting effect beyond the workplace and into retirement. The authors tell stories of 25 women across their careers and life course into their retirement years. It’s a timely book, as it includes frank recollections of the toll that discrimination and harassment played in the careers and lives of these women.
This book is primarily about resilience and creativity through the compelling stories of women who overcame multiple obstacles and are living satisfying lives in retirement – on their own terms.
The authors are also both thriving in their own retirements and bring different yet complementary perspectives to this work. Anne Coon brings an academic background, while Judith Feuerherm comes with extensive career coaching, consulting and leadership expertise.
What I really love about this book is that it puts the individual experiences of these 25 women in the context of historical events shared by the baby boomer generation, while delving into the specific challenges and opportunities they worked through following their corporate lives.
They paint a vivid portrait of the challenges and opportunities that are the essence of transitions to retirement, such as losing identity and building a new one, embracing the exhilarating freedom while dealing with the loss of structure. An example is a process of moving beyond titles and labels and into an unchartered phase of life where there is no longer a clear path laid out.
Many of these themes I also see in my coaching work among men and women alike. However, the authors provide a candid view into the concerns and fears of these women through their journey and some of the unique adaptions these women made, such as deciding that they needed to become their own role models.
This book is an excellent book for people approaching or currently in their own transition. It’s particularly relevant for high- achieving professionals, who will relate to these women as they retire from corporate life, but not real life, where they continue to thrive in new ways.
Joe Casey is an executive coach, who also helps people think through and create their Second Act careers, at retirementwisdom.com