Why You Should Work on Your Own Terms: A Book Review

Work on Your Own Terms in Midlife & Beyond

A Book Written by Janine L. Moore

I was Wrong:

When I first came across the book, Work on Your Own Terms in Midlife & Beyond, I had already mapped out my exit strategy from the corporate world. In my mind, I didn’t need any more help to retool for my post-corporate life. The trouble was that I bought the book–it was an impulse buy–, and I couldn’t let a purchase go to waste. So I decided to read it.

I opened it on my tablet during my outbound flight to Portugal where a blissful week of sightseeing and socializing with friends awaited. From the first chapter, Janine Moore hooked me with her engaging style. The first quote I read, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~ Anais Nin, drew me in. Then as I read more, I felt more and more connected to Ms. Moore. She spoke to me even though I thought I didn’t need to hear anymore. She made a lot of sense, so I listened.

Every night at the hotel that week in Portugal, exhausted from the day’s activities I’d read the book before going to bed. Ms. Moore advises the reader to read the entire book once, and then re-read one chapter each day, doing the exercises shown after each one. The idea is to rewire your brain by the end of thirty days when you finish reading the book. She wants you “to view the world through a different lens so you can create life on your own terms.”

The Book

Work On Your Own Terms in Midlife & Beyond: Change Your Mind, Change Your Life
Each chapter begins with one or more powerful quotes from the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr., Dale Carnegie, the Dalai Lama, and others, and ends with some action steps where Ms. Moore also lists some suggested reading materials. She cleverly groups most of the chapters under six of our main fears: 1) Poverty, 2) Criticism, 3) Poor Health, 4) Loss of Love, 5) Old Age, and 6) Death. She addresses these fears and how to work with them.

Our fears cripple us if we let them. The author uses examples and quotes to help you tame them. For instance, the fear of poverty drives us to work hard and to amass more wealth than we need, thus cuffing us to our jobs longer than necessary. She uses the parable of the businessman and the fisherman to illustrate how one can chase monetary gains blindly in the name of financial freedom that will allow you to spend quality time with family and friends. However, all this while, that dream is already within the businessman’s reach except he doesn’t know it.

Death finds everyone without exception. The author quotes Norman Cousins, “The tragedy of life is not death, but what we let die inside us while we live.” Food for thought. She also believes that the people who ponder their own mortality lead more fulfilling lives. She uses Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc. as an example. He said, “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.”

The Message

While I haven’t gone back to re-read the book as recommended by the author–time constraints being my excuse–I plan to do it as soon as I can. I believe in Ms. Moore’s message about working on your own terms. It doesn’t even have to begin at midlife; it can apply to anyone with the right mindset.

Ten Signs to Recognize It’s Time to Retire or Retool

SignsForRetiringWhether you’re thinking about retiring or retooling, when do you know you’re ready to make the transition? It’s scary to pull that trigger, isn’t it? The safety net of a steady income entices us to keep working even when our souls yearn for freedom from corporate bondage. It’s hard to imagine life without a pay-cheque.

I don’t have any clear-cut answers either, but I’ve noticed a definite pattern when I observe people on the threshold of retirement. I’ve listed them as ten signs—in no particular order—to help you recognize that you’ve outgrown your regular job and that it’s time to retire or retool. Here they are:

1. You talk non-stop about retiring with your friends and colleagues. At every opportunity, you opine about the things you could do, the places you could see, if only you had the time.

2. Not only are your friends making plans to retire, but your colleagues and acquaintances are telling you that their retirement is imminent.

3. More and more often when you wake up in the morning, you wonder why you’re still grinding the nine-to-five millstone.

4. You start looking for hobbies in strange places. Archery may suddenly become a favorite pass-time. That book simmering inside your head may now seem imminently possible. You remember how your grade three teacher said your painting had potential…hmm.

5. Conversely, you already have many projects clamoring for your attention. You assure yourself that you’ll get to them all when you retire, or that they’re in your retooling plans.

6. Your house suddenly seems too big and downsizing becomes a major topic of conversation in your family.

7. The travel section of your newspaper can’t hold enough deals for you. The rest of the newspaper only holds your cursory attention. Your suitcase is now easily accessible, and you have toiletry kits ready to throw into your bag at a moment’s notice.

8. You’re nodding off in front of the TV, but you insist that you’re awake all the time. You claim that 10 p.m. is too early for bed, so you sleep on the couch until midnight before you turn in.

9. Many old friends you haven’t heard from in a long time suddenly reappear in your life and want to meet with you for lunch or coffee. These friends didn’t have time to see you before.

10. If you’re a fitness buff, you’re now starting to build a network of friends at the gym. It’s no longer just a place to work out, but also a place to hang out.

So what do you think? Clear signs calling out to you…maybe. Weigh in with your words of wisdom.

Retiring, Retooling and My Three-day Weekend

Retirement

A Soul Sister

Jan Moore came on my radar screen a few months ago when I did a “Blog Hop” at the end of a 30-day on-line book-marketing challenge run by D’vorah Lansky. We connected on our websites because Jan’s message resonates with me. In fact, I’d already written some articles about retirement/retooling that have similar elements in her book, Work on Your Own Terms. While I’m only preaching retooling to retire, Jan’s actually teaching you how to do it. Check it out on her website.

My Four-Day Work Week

As some of you know, I now work four days a week. This is part of my exit strategy from the corporate world. Two and half years later, the job shackles will come off. Right now, just having this one day to devote to my writing and all things related to writing keeps me motivated and my creative juices flowing.

If you have been thinking about pursuing your hobby or passion, but can’t find enough time for it with your two-day weekend, consider taking this leap to a four-day work week. Of course, it’s not for everyone: your work place may not allow it, you’re not ready financially, or there may be other reasons.

Go Own Your Three-day Weekend Now

If you’re in a position to do so, then go after your three-day weekend now. Do it on a trial basis if you’re uncertain. Work something out with your employer. Just start. And try reading Jan’s book, Work on Your Terms. Maybe get in touch with her even. You’ll never know what you can do unless you start somewhere. Why not start now?

 

Get Serious About Retooling

Somewhere in Barbados

Harping on Retoolment

A few weeks ago, I thought I had created a new word, retoolment. Imagine my chagrin, when I googled it and found it already used, albeit sparingly. Lesson learned: google first before claiming something for your own.

Still, retoolment is a good word to describe that phase in your life when you’ve decided to leave the corporate world to pursue your own interests, for profit or for pleasure. For some this may mean turning into entrepreneurs. For others, money may not be the motivator; you focus on what you love to do.

Reorganize or rearrange your life.

What brings a sparkle to your eyes? What’s holding you back? Stop talking and start doing. Make room in your day now for your passion. Wouldn’t it tickle you to turn your passion into a money-making scheme?

I met a woman who retired recently, but finds herself with too much time and not enough to do. She doesn’t have a hobby or anything to fill the void that her job did. You see, we all need to retool. Whether we learn new skills or sharpen existing ones, it doesn’t matter. Take up a hobby. We want to wake up each morning looking forward to the day. You need to know that you have to accomplish certain tasks. Each new day is a gift; it must have a purpose. Without a purpose, you drift.

We humans don’t do well when we go through life without a purpose. When we are busy working at a job, raising our children, or looking after a loved one, we feel useful. We wake up each day with a purpose.

Find something…anything that fires you up.

Do you enjoy teaching or coaching? Did you ever dream of playing the harp? Do you love to sing? Dance? How about ballroom dancing? No partner or your spouse won’t dance? Try line dancing. The point is this: just do it. Join a class or learn on your own. The internet offers unlimited opportunities. Today you may be a novice, tomorrow you could turn into an expert…okay, maybe not quite the expert, but skilled enough to teach.

I took a creative writing course a few years ago; my first step toward retoolment. Last year I bought a couple of bikes to ride outdoors; more new tools. I plan to write for as long as I can and ride for as long as my body will allow me. Writing may or may not bring a new stream of income—it doesn’t matter—and riding fits nicely into my stay-fit routine.

So what would you like to do for your retoolment?