Customer Reviews: Escape the Mid-Career Doldrums: What to do Next When You're Bored, Burned Out, Retired or Fired
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on January 17, 2008
If you are suffering from a wealth of free time thanks to early retirement, or you are wildly successful at your current career and are looking for the next thing, this book is for you.

Since it is written by two successful career counselors based in New York City, the real-life examples they use to motivate the reader are of people who can afford to hire a career counselor in New York City even while unemployed.

"Richard, a highly successful human resources executive for a top corporation, had over 200 employees reporting to him and a high-level executive role that allowed him to take on strategic and planning responsibilities. Despite a great salary and other perks, Richard was bored." (pg. 93)

"Having spent 25 years in managerial financial positions for large corporations, Lee enjoyed his career without loving it...He found great satisfaction in being able to provide for his family on the good salary he received. He also relished the global travel..."(pg 113)

"Carol originally came to New York to pursue a dance career and achieved a great deal of success, becoming a soloist in the American Ballet Theater..."(pg. 168)

"For many years Kim enjoyed a dynamic public relations career in London, working for a number of agencies and then opening her own shop with a partner..." (pg 155)

Example after example of people who have already achieved great success and find it tedious. We should all be so lucky to have a career which allows us to experience the boredom of global travel.

Along with these examples comes advice you can find anywhere. The authors suggest readers look into teaching, or figure out what they are passionate about and do that, or try turning their hobbies into new careers. They spend a lot of time discussing the concept of working for a non-profit. Probably because to the people they counsel the idea of making an average wage seems scary.

Again, this book is for people who have already been extremely successful at a career.
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on January 10, 2008
I retired from a sucessful career as a mortgage banker and looked forward to golf, bridge, and unlimited quality time with the grandchildren. It was great for awhile and my husband, who had retired into a hobby - making and selling duck decoys- and I travelled around the country. But, it wasn't enough. I found I had too much time on my hands and yearned to be busy again. "Escape..." made me realize that life isn't just one career and that's it. I followed the precepts espoused in the book and began to envision myself as a co-ordinator of volunteer services at a local hospital. I started to do volunteer work and gradually made myself indispensible to the director of volunteers. Now I work directly for her (with a respectable salary) three days a week and my family and I couldn't be happier. Thank you Charley and Marcia.
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Every career counselor knows it's pretty easy to figure out why you didn't like your last job. It's not that hard to figure out what you want. But implementing a plan...that's tough.

The first part of the book is quite good, especially assessing the myths of mid-career. I applaud their recognition of the reality of age discrimination.

But dealing with change post-analysis is more problematic. For instance, the authors note that you may have to work a day job to make room for your passion. It's not that easy. Your day job can leave you exhausted and drained, so you don't have energy or motivation to pursue your dream afterward.

Some suggestions seem surprisingly simplistic. Bored? Enhance your job or find things to do outside the job.

Some sections (such as the few paragraphs on relocation and coaching) are just too brief to be useful. They point out that relocation can give you a "fresh start," but it's much more complicated. Putting together a new social network takes time.

What bothered me most (and raised doubts about the book) was the brief example on page 48. "Sally" had become so suspicious of age discrimination she over-reacted. That's plausible: I had a client like that.

But then Sally's friend got a job teaching advertising at a local university, which "quickly became a tenure track position." If this story is real, it's not at all typical. In most universities, adjuncts and visiting professors are not considered for permanent positions, even if they're more qualified than other candidates. And few people get "quickly" hired into the tenure track: you have to be considered by a committee and the process takes forever.

A powerful dean or department head could make it happen but then you've got other problems.

So far I haven't found anything better than Herminia Ibarra's Working Identity. This book adds a few ideas, but needs a stronger message to get on my recommendation list.
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VINE VOICEon March 15, 2009
This book is geared towards 40-60 year old career switchers.

The book helps with your own self analysis of what is causing your boredom, burnout, retirement, and firing. The book also helps you to realign your thinking about your current job and future job trends in a positive light.

As much as anything, this is a "you can do it" book which empowers those who might be in a career rut and are frustrated or feel helpless.

The advice of this book are solid such as retraining yourself with the latest technology in your field and getting rid of old fashioned "old dogs can't learn new tricks" attitude towards new technology and ideas.

We are in a knowledge based economy where constantly reinventing and learning new skill is critical in almost any job.
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on July 8, 2010
I found the book easy to read and mildly interesting but almost completely unhelpful if what one is truly suffering is doldrums. The booked overweighted focus on being fired or retired - niether of which I would consider mid-career doldrums. The title, therefore, is somewhat misleading. If you've been fired or are in retirement and bored, perhaps this would be a great book. However, if like me you are experiencing a lack of interest and motivation in your current career and are actually at mid-career rather than retirement, I don't suggest this book is the right one for you.
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on December 3, 2007
I can't believe somone has totally addressed my greatest concer in such an instructive, positive manner. I have started following the authors' precepts and feel I am on my way to a new life. Thank you.
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on January 20, 2008
I have been a veterinarian for over thirty years. In the last four years, I had become bored and restless. I knew I had another ten years in me, but I also knew it couldn't be as a vet. I had financed what was a dream to me at the time, a new animal hospital. I was trapped. Out of desperation, I picked up "Mid-Life Doldrums." I was stunned as I watched myself come alive. I turned each page only to find myself living there inside. All the feelings and emotions described were mine and I found that others experience the same pain, restlessness, and confusion when their carreer no longer fits. This book put me back on a straight path. I see the world in a whole new way. In January, I closed my office door for the last time and have discovered my new career. I am working with a magnificent herd of 50 horses who belong to Cirque du soleil - Cavalia, the acrobatic-equine ballet that travels all over the world. I still wonder what would have happened to me if I hadn't discovered this book! It calmed me down and got me focused.
Saira Jensen DVM
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on November 27, 2007
I bought this book expecting just another book of mostly fluff and a little inspiration. What I got, was nothing I would have imagined. The authors have done an amazing job of creating a resource that actually has really great ideas and advice for all of us out there who have realized, we spend way to much time at our jobs to settle for being unhappy.
Whether downsized, outsourced, or just plain unhappy in your career, this book gives you real, concrete tips, ideas, and information to help you find work you love and transition to a new career. Thousands of dollars of career advice for $13!
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on December 5, 2007
I spent 25 years working my way up the human resources ladder. Three years after finally becoming Vice President-HR at a leading financial services firm , I realized that I was totally bored and lethargic. I knew my business cold and had hired a staff of managers so competent that I was left with little to challenge me. Being a product of an organization culture, I had little imagination. Charley and Marcia gave me the courage and showed me the way to a new opportunity. I opened my own consultancy specializing in employee benefits programs for small businesses and have truly never been happier - I'm my own boss and making more money than I ever had before
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on November 28, 2007
I found this book at the perfect time! After several years in Corporate America, my company downsized and I found myself jobless. A friend recommended "Escape the Mid-career Doldrums." The book is a frank,compassionate guide to starting over,a career book for those at odds with their chosen(or not!) career. It helped me realize that the position I'm in is actually a great opportunity to pursue a career in a field I love. I've spent most of my professional life in a stagnant routine, and now, suddenly, the possibilities are endless. I'm sure I'll continue to consult "Escape the Mid-career Doldrums" as I embark on this new journey.
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