Last year around this time, I was taking training at DeVry University in hopes that the long drought of employment opportunities was coming to an end. I’ve reached an age when you wonder, particularly with such a tight job market, whether you should just take the hint, suck it up, and call it “retirement.” Am I displacing someone who has kids and many more concerns than an empty-nester like myself? The Bible Study group who helped carry me through this valley is filled with happily retired men who are golfing and fishing and doting on grandchildren. Financially, we were not ready to retire. That training did not result in fruitful employment but nevertheless was enriching.
A year later and what a difference! About to turn 60, working every day, but feeling stiff when I stand up from my nice ergonomic chair to emerge from my cubicle. I guess that’s about right. Act my age and apply all that accumulated experience to the work at hand. I remember my friend Dan Lewis coaching me on what an asset a long career is and how you have to transmit that in your resume as well as in your interviews. Dan himself is a great example of walking his own talk.
Dan and I worked together at ALA a dozen, fifteen years ago. We have similar backgrounds including, by one of those coincidences that the Lord loves to throw at His children, having gone to the University of Chicago Divinity School back at different parts of the Seventies. Mostly though, we both got into Web Development work through working as production editors rather than as programmers with IT backgrounds. Let’s call that the creative backdoor that includes a much better grasp of customer service not to mention the obvious advantage of handling grammar issues in Web content. We’ve kept in touch over the years with lunches at Heaven on Seven, the one on Ohio and Rush. Dan has been bounced around the past five years career-wise and I played coach and cheerleader. When I lost my job, we both played those parts for each other. (Dan’s sense of humor is exquisite and this cheerleader straight line would be irresistable for him.)
Dan finally landed at Vanguard Technology, quickly advancing to his present role as a Producer there. I am not surprised that someone besides me recognized Dan’s multiple talents and is reaping the rewards of employing him full-bore. But it took a lot longer than either of us figured it would. Before I finally landed a full-time job, Dan had me working part-time. We have each others’ backs. But I think more importantly, we’ve reached an age and a realization that no matter what we are doing, we are going to be authentically who we were designed to be. Dan has come by this through a very rigorous program via Wright Living, while I went through a much more gentler process via Christos Center for Spiritual Formation. (I attended a Wright weekend seminar last year at Dan’s suggestion and got a taste of what he had been going through for several years.) Dan also runs in the Chicago Marathon, which is a completely alien concept to me, but doesn’t limit his ability to inspire me. Wright Living and marathons … absolutely amazing what this fellow has gone through!
We are both turning speed limit ages: 55 and 60—he’s the baby. We both inspire each other without a lot of bullshit. We are at the top of our forms, please don’t doubt this. If it appears we are slow to respond to something you’ve asked … yeah, that’s the effect of our advanced age.
Eat your heart out.
Dan approved everything above the asterisks.