Thanks for following our blog, we have a special treat for you today, a guest blogger. Bill Cox is a local Realtor and a recent graduate of our Business Success Framework course. Enjoy Bill’s blog and POV on how to handle changing careers after 32 years of teaching!
Fifteen or so years ago, while still in the role as a public school teacher, I remember reading about life in the private sector. Subsequently, I spent hours in conversation with those actually living the life outside of the school walls – how was their career experience different than mine?
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The point-of-departure for that difference seemed to be the fact that they would have two, three, or more careers during their working lives, whereas I knew (at the time) that I would be a teacher for 32 wonderful years, and then simply retire. Life was fairly status quo as a teacher, sure we got the new stream of eager students each year, the biggest changes for those of us at the school would be which grade we taught in a particular year; perhaps which district school we would be assigned to; and often, which zany, empty-suit principal would be making the speeches. You can tell I loved the kids far more than the establishment, but that is another story. I’m an old rock and roller. A trombonist who back in the day donned long hair and (gasp) wore bell bottoms. I was probably the student my then empty-suited principal would shake his head at.
So eventually, retirement came. I had the proverbial party and all was grand until it wasn’t. I was bored. After seven years of retirement it dawned on me that I needed a challenge, I needed to exercise my brain again. Here’s what I knew: I loved to work and learn new things. I loved meeting people, I love helping people through change, and I love helping by supplying creative solutions to whatever the problem is.
I wasn’t really sure how to use my previous experience – how to find the “right” thing to get me energized. Remember, I had the same career for 30+ years and no, I did not have a resume! I really needed to get over being at-all tentative and look for some like-minded types.
Who was like me? Who loved all those things I loved? He or she needed to be outgoing, imaginative, and absolutely fearless about the unknown. Flexible and motivated!
I found the master, he was a guy who lived right in town who I knew just to say hello – the indomitable, high-spirited Ted Murphy who was really the ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Jimmy Stewart character by reputation. Unlike the movie character George Bailey who ran the local ‘building and loan’, Ted Murphy was a real estate broker of significant renown. He and I went to lunch where I confessed I didn’t know much about real estate, and even less about private sector business. He laughed and told me that what mattered was how I viewed people in general and if I was a good guy. And if I had a sense of humor, of course. I liked him even more at this point, I’m a good guy – he’s a good guy. Sounded like I hit the jackpot!
His final words of wisdom after that faithful lunch and the words that sealed the deal on my post retirement venture are these: “You’ll learn, but learn it in the context of staying positive, helpful, and wanting a challenge. “ In other words, it isn’t about the money, it isn’t about the sale, it isn’t about how many awards you get it’s about helping people, staying positive and last but surely not least just have some grit and determination. Ok – I was in. From that point on, everything got better and better, and if I was concerned about being bored in retirement or becoming somewhat dull or predictable, – that was never going to happen in this new environment.
So after a couple of years being in this office, all I can say is that the rapport; the dialogue; the zaniness; the jokes (OMG); and just the SPIRIT of it all makes all the situation comedies on television dull by comparison.
About Bill Cox
Bill Cox has been a resident of the Litchfield community since 1987. He graduated from Scarsdale High School in New York and holds degrees from Columbia University, the University of Bridgeport, and from Western Connecticut State University. Bill retired from a 30-year teaching career in Westchester County in 2010 and is currently a Realtor for EJ Murphy Realty. Bill and his wife, Trudy, live on Avalon Lane in Bantam where they raised their two children.