You know something is changing in the culture when you start to see full page ads with words and images that deliver a new message. When I was contemplating a next career as a yoga instructor 10 years ago, it still seemed a rather esoteric, out there endeavor. Today, Yoga Journal is fat with advertising for retreats, schools, yoga products of every description. Moreover, images of toned people striking yoga poses or sitting in smiling meditation are commonplace in mainstream media.
With this in mind, I have to mention a full page ad that appeared in PLAY, a magazine section of last Sunday’s New York Times, that is emblematic of the zeitgeist as regards older people and the choice of meaningful second acts. The ad is for a new partnership between the Times and Monster.com, the career site. The headline copy is: FIND A JOB YOU’D DO FOR FREE…THEN LET THEM PAY YOU. “When you do what you love to do,” continues the body text, “it’s not really work at all. Now you can find the job you love, when you love to live. Your calling is calling — find it at nytimes.com/monster.” Good enough (and I love the idea of a job one loves), but the image should resonate with all of us 50 and beyond. It shows a mature male face, a hand holding a piece of chalk at a blackboard, the suggestion of a classroom. A teacher who loves his job?
As it happens, teaching is, like nursing and nurse-training, a profession where there are more jobs than people to fill them. These are also jobs where maturity and life experience give one an unusual advantage, and where we can exercise the ‘give back’ desire than grows stronger as we pass midlife and begin seeking our life’s work. Our calling, which we may have ignored to attend to the business of building a career and family, calls more loudly and clearly. How each of us answers can shape the rest of our lives. If enough of us in later life choose work that makes a positive impact on society, we can shift the paradigm*.
*Once used only in the scientific context, “paradigm shift” has found uses in other contexts, representing the notion of a major change in a certain thought-pattern â€” a radical change in personal beliefs, complex systems or organizations, replacing the former way of thinking or organizing with a radically different way of thinking or organizing (Source: Wikipedia)