Jody B. Miller, CEO, C2C Executive Search & Strategic Management
We’re hearing a lot these days about how Millennials are changing the workplace as they prioritize happiness and job satisfaction over simply holding a company position. Millennials aren’t the only ones craving that kind of freedom, though. Baby Boomers have craved it for decades. The difference is that many of us haven’t felt empowered enough to claim it. Why is that? And how can we change it?
It all starts with the freedom most of us experienced as kids. For Boomers, childhood meant few responsibilities or expectations; instead, Boomer children enjoyed unsupervised creative play, adventure, freedom, friendship and teamwork. Then what happened?
Boomers entering adulthood stepped into roles of responsibility. You found your career and dedicated yourself to your work and to earning money. Many of you got married, had kids, bought a house and started accumulating “stuff” that made you and your family feel financially comfortable.
With all this responsibility, though, you likely began to notice in your 40s or 50s that you just didn’t have any fun in your life anymore. Where did all the freedom and play from your youth go—and how could you get it back? You began asking yourself questions such as:
- Why am I in a job that I hate?
- Why am I mired in debt and responsibility?
- Why don’t I have freedom to do what I want when I want?
- Why am I in a relationship that doesn’t make me happy?
- Where did all the fun go?
What do most Boomers conclude? Many decide that retirement means they can return to the freedom they crave. So, they stay in that job they hate, or that relationship that makes them unhappy, and they work toward the “someday” of retirement to reclaim their freedom and experience happiness. What most don’t realize, however, is that retirement years are also when medical issues and expenses come most into play. If you continue to postpone your happiness, you may not get to experience it for as long as you want to.
So why wait? What do the experts say about how long you will live after you retire? Statistics show that about 48% of men and about 60% of women will live to the age of 85. Sounds okay, right? Sure, until you factor in that the average couple will need to spend around $400,000 on healthcare in retirement. There goes your “fun” money.
Your plan of FREEDOM -> RESPONSIBILITY -> FREEDOM doesn’t look so good.
The Why, When and How of Shifting
What if you make a shift now, before retirement? How would your life be different if you experienced more joy and more freedom right here today? Look for the signs that you are ready to make a shift:
- Why? – If you have been asking yourself the questions outlined above about why your happiness and freedom feel limited, you may be ready to shift away from feeling mired in the responsibilities of adulthood and towards your best life.
- When? – When these questions begin to bother you so much that you know you’re not where you need to be, it’s time to make a shift. And don’t subscribe to any notions of “not being on the right path.” You are exactly where you need to be right here and now so that you can create the best possible life for yourself. The “right path” is the one you are on. All you need to do is take one step at a time.
- How? – There are many ways to make a shift. You can either stay in your position or make a completely radical shift into a whole new industry. You can reimagine and reinvent your relationship with your partner, or you can end it. The possibilities are endless. What calls to your heart? What aspects of your free-wheeling childhood days would you like to bring back into this new shift now?
If this all feels overwhelming, take a step back and allow it to unfold with ease. Begin by asking yourself questions around the issues outlined here; seek to discover where your true passions lie and how to incorporate them more freely into your work and life. You can make a huge shift or you can start small. There’s no “wrong way” to embrace your personal truth. Take one small step today.
About the Author
Career and Life Coach Jody B. Miller is author of the new book “From DRIFT to SHIFT: How Change Can Bring True Meaning and Happiness to Your Work and Life.” As CEO of C2C Executive Search & Strategic Management, Jody has helped thousands of people find true meaning in their work and in their lives. Learn more at www.JodyBMiller.com.