What worked, much more than I expected, was that I was able to launch my consulting business successfully..... Why? I spent time working with a career counselor before making my final decision. That reflective piece -- with someone who didn't know me -- proved to be really helpful. I also did the necessary legal work to be established as a "limited liability corporation." I found that provided a framework in which to think about what I was doing as "real." I purchased a domain name and began to work on my web pages, so they were ready to go when I left my then-current position. That was helpful, because it forced me to articulate what I thought I could do and what specific skills I have to offer.
What worked was being open to the different kinds of projects than I expected to work on.... Why? I found I learned a lot, worked with people I wouldn't have otherwise had a chance to work with, and discovered more skills I didn't know (for sure) that I had. Best of all, it had a positive effect on my business' bottom line!
What worked was keeping in touch with colleagues.... Why? Despite some initial awkwardness as my role shifted from colleague to consultant, it was important for me to stay "in the loop" regarding educational issues in this community. It also provided ways for me to remind people that I was still around and would be willing to help problem-solve.
What worked was attending to my own professional development needs this year. I participated in a variety of professional committees, purchased books dealing with establishing a small business, consulted with my son (The IT Expert) on my web page design and content, and began regular participation in weekly Torah study sessions offered by our congregation and facilitated by congregants.... Why? In addition to keeping in touch with people who are focused on the same issues I am focused on, it was a way to remain open to new information. Becoming more adept in the areas of small business development and technology -- both areas outside my "comfort zone" -- help make me feel more competent and capable. The Torah study sessions have become a focal point for my week, providing an opportunity to learn with adults from a wide variety of backgrounds as we grapple to find relevance in the words of sacred text.
What worked was becoming involved in the boards of two non-profits* as a volunteer.... Why? As an education director, I frequently worked in excess of 50 hours a week, leaving little time for anything else. I find interacting with different groups of people energizing and rejuvenating. It expands my horizons. I feel as if I'm a more interesting person. I feel like I'm making a difference.
To paraphrase Frank Sinatra: When I was fifty-five, it was a very good year....
*MCCPTA-EPI (Montgomery Co. Council of PTA-Educational Programs, Inc)
*Mitzvah Heroes Fund, Inc.