I’m a little older than 38, and let’s just say I’m between jobs right now. I know being a stay-at-home parent can’t last forever, so at some point soon I will have to roll up my sleeves and try to re-enter this nightmare of a job market. Thus, you can imagine my dismay when I read a recent article on The Onion entitled “Study: 38 Age It Too Late.” I am fully aware that The Onion is complete satire, but regardless, there are some things you just don’t want to hear. The article stated that once an individual reaches the age of 38, it is too late to make any meaningful life changes.
“Our analysis indicates that if people turn 38 before getting the job they always wanted, meeting that special someone with whom they can settle down, or accepting themselves for who they are, they never will,” said study coordinator Dr. Erik Heuer, adding that those who haven’t “figured things out” by their late 30s die sad, miserable, and alone 100 percent of the time.
Even though it’s not meant to be taken seriously, this message can still be discouraging to a lot of people. The truth here is not so black and white—changing careers at middle age has both its pros and cons. Obviously in this economy, anyone looking for work is in trouble. Middle age job seekers are at an extra disadvantage because employers tend to give them the evil eye. However, if you’re following your passion, age doesn’t matter. There are many examples of those who have accomplished much regardless of age or background.
I have two personal friends who have written books recently. Both came from completely different backgrounds. Ismet Prcic was originally from Bosnia. He spoke broken English when he arrived in the United States, where he studied writing in college. He will be almost in his mid-thirties when his first novel, “Shards,” will be published internationally later this year. And trust me, this is going to be big. Kelly Hess, an old friend from high school, recently self-published his first novel, “Eyes of the Enemy.” It’s the first part of a trilogy called “BlackMyst.” The eBook version is available on Amazon, where it is currently getting very favorable reviews. Regardless of age or background, if you have the talent and work hard, anything can happen. It’s not too late.
Internet personality and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck was in his thirties when when he created Wine Library TV, what he calls “The Thunder Show.” He had taken his father’s brick and mortar wine shop online, and grew the business by over ten times. Then with his YouTube video blog, Wine Library TV, he got himself noticed by reviewing and talking about wine in his own way. To say that the show took off would be an understatement. He then used that notoriety to pursue his real passion, business development. He recently published his second book about business, and currently does speaking engagements all across the country. If you have the talent and work hard, anything can happen. It’s not too late.
Author Diana Cosby retired early from the Navy at 36. She then stayed home with her three children, and finally started working on that first novel she always wanted to write. She had to get up at 4 a.m. to find the time. When she eventually completed her manuscript, it was rejected over 100 times. But she educated herself by taking online writing classes, and continued to get up before dawn. Her first seven novels were also rejected many times each. However, nine years after she started writing, her eighth novel was accepted by a publishing house in New York City. After so much time and work, her excitement was understandable:
“The first time I saw my novel in a bookstore, I stared at it in shock. When I noticed someone nearby, I blurted out, ‘I wrote that.’ I’d always dreamed of saying those words.”
She was 47 when her first published novel was released. Since then, she has published two more novels, and another is due out later this year. If you have the talent and work hard, anything can happen. It’s not too late.
Especially if you are a creative person with even a little entrepreneurial spirit, this new Internet age levels the playing field. All you need to figure out is: what is your passion, how much do you know about your passion, and how hard are you willing to work for it. Networking used to be some weird ethereal thing that people did at parties and social gatherings. If you weren’t a naturally outgoing person, you were kind of screwed. Not anymore. Social media has changed all that. Now you can interact and network with people across the country, or across the world, instantly. And with the nature of social networks like Twitter, each interaction tends to lead to even more interactions.
People say that the with the state of the current economy, the American dream is dead. But that doesn’t really matter anymore. We now live in a world economy, and we are all citizens of this world. And with the Internet and social media as your tools, you can live your dream in this world. If you have the talent and work hard, anything can happen. It’s not too late.