Camille was 53 when she finally decided she had enough! She had been working for the stock exchange for over 25 years. Back then, when she first started out, at the age of 25, she was considered an anomaly as the banking and finance industry was predominately a “man’s world,” a world in which she had to scratch and claw her way to the top. More like a declawed kitty, forced to use her butter paws as softly padded punches. Never able to cut deep, instead, having to use her cat-like guile to manipulate her way up.
When she was 20 she graduated from college. That’s early, I know, but she was a smart girl who skipped the first grade, took high school classes while in middle school and college classes while in high school.
Camille was also a well-liked girl by her peers. She was even nominated for being one of the “Most Likely to Succeed,” by her senior year classmates from high school.
Despite all that, upon graduation from a prestigious college, at the ripe old age of 20, Camille had no idea what she wanted to be when she grew up. She felt sure that she was supposed to be someone, someone special, but she couldn’t see a straight path in front of her.
The problem was she didn’t know what her “true passion” was. She knew that she liked to play the violin, write poetry, and solve complicated math problems for fun. She particularly liked Chess and was rather good at it. She could regularly be found, playing chess tournaments in the park near her school, at NYU.
How any of that would translate into a plausible, practical career (let alone one that might allow for a spark of fun or imagination) seemed to escape her. And, she didn’t want to choose just one of her interests and let the others go. That sounded like a horrifying commitment. What if she chose wrong?
Like all young adults, “Cami” sometimes got “career advice” from the older adults in her life. They all meant well, but most of the suggestions were either uninspiring (Get a good job and work your way up the ladder at a prominent company.) or so vague that they weren’t suggestions at all (Just follow your interests and things will work themselves out!).
Although these suggestions weren’t great for her, neither of these camps was totally misguided either.
She had friends who adored their office jobs, and it’s true that opportunities sometimes arise when we listen to our hearts. But she had been making her way through school for basically her whole life, knowing exactly what was expected of her. Now, the path ahead seemed murky at best, and no cliché was going to save her. Where was the rule book? She often wondered.
She gave herself a year to figure things out. After that, she knew if she didn’t choose something her parents would disown her. They had spent a fortune on her private education.
Not to mention, both her parents were academics, so both had anticipated she would join the ranks of becoming a college professor. But Cami craved something more exciting.
So, when the opportunity to work in downtown Manhattan for Merrill Lynch, as an assistant to a stockbroker came, she jumped at the chance.
As it turned out, she was great as an assistant but even better as a broker. Camille took right to it in her night class to get her broker’s license. Even though being a stockbroker was not expected of a proper young lady, this was 1980 after all, which meant that women were breaking all kinds of business ground.
Camille was a career woman, through and through, not interested in settling down or having 2.5 children and moving out to the suburbs as most of her college classmates had done. She had no interest in wiping snotty noses and attempting to carry on meaningful conversations with all the professional Nannies, so commonly seen in Central Park.
Work was what she most cared about. Buying Manolo Blahnik shoes, Prada sunglasses, and a Hermes purse were nice perks too. Not to mention, she really enjoyed her Upper West Side penthouse apartment with park views and a southern facing exposure.
So, she worked. Her routine looked something like this:
By 8:00 am, she was typically at her office after working the pre-market trading hours. Around4pm, when the market closed and she would head to the gym where she would meet her private trainer to do a 2-hour workout. This would sometimes be followed by a hot shower, a quick change of clothes, and a drive to meet friends at the latest chic drinking hole in Tribeca for Happy Hour. She often worked several hours in the evening doing research and making sales calls to prospective clients.
She did this for years, right up until the crash of Wall Street in 2008. At which point, but truly long before that point, the stress of working in the pressure pot had taken its toll.
Now at the age of 53, with a crashed market and no business prospects worth taking, Camille was faced with the question of “What’s next?”
She knew she needed to make a lot of money if she was going to continue to enjoy the lifestyle she had come to love but going back into the finance industry seemed like a dragon she had already slain and Camille had the motto to “never go back, always go forward.”
So, began her search to answer her “what’s next” question. Camille spent countless hours scouring the Internet for what was hot, what was the latest trend or the coolest companies to work for.
Down and down the rabbit hole she would go almost daily making lists of companies that sparked her fancy and would give her (or so she thought), the excitement she yearned for, not to mention the income she had grown accustomed to.
Although she found all kinds of interesting new startups with cool trending technology companies, this was a new world, a new playground. One she quickly realized she did not belong in.
She tried to get a job at a few of these companies, flying across the country from New York to San Francisco only to find the CEO was half her age, looking for someone with a bit more swag than her 53-year old self could produce. She was swag all right, but not in the casual boho-chic, flip flop, torn-jean-wearing way.
A year passed and still, she found nothing. Another year and still nothing, but her list grew and grew of cool interesting new companies until she had a multi-page spreadsheet of things to explore.
Now at the age of 55, and having been out of the job market for over 2 years, she found that trying to get her old job back was difficult. The landscape had changed since the crash but more importantly, there seemed to be a lot of ageism in the workplace.
Even though illegal, it was apparent that no one wanted to hire a 55-year old unemployed woman. It didn’t matter that she once had a great career, that she was a talented, smart, capable woman. It didn’t matter that she had no interest in ever retiring. No one would give her a chance.
Thus, further down the rabbit hole she went, searching and searching.
Moral of the Story
Talent is not always appreciated when it doesn’t come in the right package. We may feel on top of the world one day and on the bottom the next. The market can be unpredictable, making late life career changes challenging.
If you find yourself thinking about making a late life career change, have you considered creating an entrepreneurial business, one designed specifically for you, taking into account your unique personality, talents, skills, desires, and lifestyle? If you have, then you have come to the right place.
The RADICAL FEMALE ACADEMY is here to help you discover your Unique Creative Potential to help you design your perfect online business.
Click on the link Here to download our free guide, “Find your Purpose-Driven Destiny or (Calling).
To you Radical Success,