Tuesday, December 30, 2014

You are 38 or 40, and you find that you are without direction, financially strapped, no proper job in prospect...

My guess is that you will have to find work that may not pay adequately, but will enable you to get benefits, and then your natural skills and character will help you move forward. You need not abandon your artistic career, say, but a day-job will give you the confidence and support you need. 

I have over the years met men and women who are in their late 30s or so who find themselves in your position. Good people who have found themselves without an effective direction in terms of security and work. 

You need to find a wise friend who can help you think through what next. And in the next five years you can rebuild your work-life.

[In effect, I was in that position. At 40, I had published books and articles, done most of the right things, but by my own choices I did not have a regular academic job. It seemed that I had to give up a scholarly life, and thought of journalism or foundation work, etc.  For an academic to be in my position at 40 is not at all good, professionally and financially. What happened in my case, was that out of the blue X University called me up to teach one semester to replace someone. I figured I would then go look outside academia. There was no future at X. Having seen me perform, close up, during that semester they indicated they wanted me to join their department, and eventually it worked out. But, at my 40th birthday party this future was not at all in the cards. (For my 40th, I was given I a Boston Celtics jacket, not much use where I am now.) I was fortunate.]

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