We’re closing in on the third anniversary of the signing and handshake that finalized our “Where do we retire?” planning and landed us here in Riverview, Florida.
For anyone who has paid even the slightest attention to my places-lived record over the past 50-ish years, you’ll have noticed that, with a couple of exceptions, three years is the average. Philippines…3 years; Hawaii…3 years; Virginia…3 years. There have been a few shorter stints scattered in between, and we were physically located in Massachusetts for 36 years, but you get the drift.
Coincidentally, my work history has had a similar pattern. With one extremely rare exception…Curry College…I have stayed in my various jobs for anywhere from one to three years. Yes…I was in the Air Force for eight years…but I racked up a total of SEVEN different assignments in that timeframe! I then worked as a civilian employee for the Army for seven years…and three different organizations. The private sector wasn’t any different…16 years…seven different jobs.
Then I lucked..and that is the only way I could possibly describe the occurrence…into a part-time teaching opportunity at Curry (I was also teaching part-time at three other colleges during that period). The part-time gig turned into a full-time position, and the rest is bliss.
Now, in my “sunset years,” I’m happily ensconced at The University of Tampa as an adjunct faculty member, and the troops there are getting used, by fits-and-starts, to my less-than-orthodox approach to life in the “real world.”
I absolutely don’t actively encourage bouncing around your career field as I appear to have done. But I do encourage being realistic about your circumstances and being ready to make a change when it becomes apparent that where you currently are is not the ideal situation. As a very wise (and obviously very tired) salesman sighed to my wife early in our marriage as she found yet another flaw in the household item we were interested in, “Nothing’s perfect, little girl.”
So don’t despair. Take a deep breath. Organize your resume and your job search plans. Talk to people…colleagues…friends…current/former teachers. Get as firm a grip as possible on what lies ahead, and (my all-time favorite saying), “Dive into the deep end.”
Success, both personal and professional, is about facing and managing change. Who knows? You might, as I did, wind up working for someone doing something you absolutely love doing for 16 wonderful years!!
“Still don’t know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild, a million dead-end streets and
Every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet”
–David Bowie, “Changes”