“I’m just living my days out.” My 52 year old friend, “Tom” said. “Sad but true.” Tom and I have been friends since we were young lawyers in Philadelphia. We also practiced law together in Washington, DC.
This sounds like I’m about to tell a tough tale of a broken middle-aged man who is facing health issues or serious financial or relationship challenges. This is not the case at all. He’s in good health, has a good marriage and delights in being a father. His wife, a high-powered attorney – literally – makes over $1 million a year and has for several years.
Given his wife’s big career, Tom, who had been her professional equal until his mid-thirties took a bigger role in raising their children, and built a small legal practice. As his kids went to college, Tom found himself with not all that much to do. His practice took about 10-20 hours a week. It was never work he found interesting and now that he no real financial incentive he just keep it going by servicing word of mouth business.
A couple years ago, I talked with Tom about a new business venture he was considering. He was enthusiastic and engaged. Like many people, he stopped when the building of the idea became tough. He should have continued. That would have been his way of invigorating his career.
If you are in 50s, you may work – if you are fortunate – for another 20 years. Plenty of people love their careers through their 60s. Discover how to make these career years great