You’ve been at your career a long time but it’s getting old. You’re not angry or bitter but the idea of making a change has crossed your mind. And yet, no matter how good the opportunities to make a change look, you feel like your feet are stuck in cement. It’s time for you to consider your encore career.
You need to meet William Cimillo, a New York city bus driver for the NYC Surface Transportation System, who became a folk hero in 1947.
He was a hard working guy who never complained. The company he worked for even recognized him for being a model employee. For 17 years he drove his bus route picking up passengers in the Bronx. But one day, as he wheeled out of the bus terminal, the grind became too much and he turned left instead of right. He headed straight for Florida, leaving New York city far behind.
Here’s his comments to a TV reporter about that particular morning, “Up and down, every day the same people, the same stops, nickels, dimes, transfers, and—well, this morning, I thought I’d try something different.”
He stopped for a bite to eat in New Jersey and drove on to the White House for a look around. Climbing back into his bus he drove on to Hollywood, Florida where he got out and took a swim in the ocean.
He was free, except for one small detail, he had no money. Mr. Cimillo sent a telegram to his boss back in New York asking for $50 to be wired to him. About an hour later the police showed up and he was arrested for stealing a New York city bus.
When he arrived back in New York, Cimillo made an amazing discovery. He had become a folk hero overnight. People from all over the country wanted his autograph. Newspaper articles portrayed him as a hero for the working man. His bus driving co-workers raised money for his legal defense.
In the end, the company dropped the charges, realizing the potential bad press. They even gave him his job back. And when he once again became a driver, everyone wanted to ride his bus. He once turned the corner and found 300 high school girls waiting to mob his bus hoping for an autograph. William Cimillo drove his bus for another 16 years.
Why did he become such an instant folk hero to so many people? He did what many of them wanted to do: he took a leap. He represented the desire of many people to leave the old job behind. He turned left instead of right.
I’m not suggesting you do something illegal like steal a bus. But I am suggesting there comes a time when you need to take a leap and grab your encore career; your next career which fills you with passion. You need to make a change. Too many people dream and plan but never leap. Don’t be stupid. Think it through. Make your plans with thoughtful input from family, friends, and experts. But there comes a time when you need to turn left instead of right and begin a new life.
When you make that leap to your new career, I’m guessing you’ll become a hero to yourself because you finally did what needed to be done.
As you think about leaving your career behind and doing something different, what encore career attracts you?
Here’s an idea. Why not further explore how to embark on a new life in the Land of Post-Career? I’ve created a simple Cheat Sheet to get you started on your new life. Just pop your email address in the form below and I’ll make sure you get the link.
For some reason–or for many–this brings tears to my eyes. “Don’t be stupid,” stands out! Love your style Randy!
I just got back from dropping off paperwork to the Financial Aid office. Yes, it’s been a long process to embark on becoming a teacher. Not the paperwork so much as the emotional fight to … actually … submit … the … paperwork. Because that means, well, no turning back. I’m headed to Florida sans bus. And in a way, I feel stupid. At my age? (and how did I get here to this age anyway?!) I feel like my peers will be just out of high school. And the kids I’ll teach will be antagonizing the out-of-touch, old man! Can I really do this?!
Fears? yes. Irrational? sure, they usually are.
Love this takeaway: “… there comes a time when you need to take a leap and grab your encore career; your next career which fills you with passion.” So, yeah, don’t be stupid; well, in planning. But for me, I gotta be a little stupid. Otherwise my well-honed perfectionism will ALWAYS find a reason NOT to turn left.
Quoting–slightly out of context–the great philosopher, Elvis: “It’s now or never!”
Haha. What a great comment. You are not older, just more seasoned and experienced. Seriously. Position yourself like that and it might help with your state of mind! I’m rooting for you. A couple years ago I turned left instead of right and it has made all the difference. I’m so thrilled you are chasing your dreams. And some day, your future students will thank God you dared to take a leap! And to pick up on the Elvis quote, when you take the leap, you will no longer be “Caught in a trap!”
Thank you Randy! And thanks for the reframe. I’ll do my best to go with that!
Oh, and way to stick with the theme. :-D
My wife Carol and I took a left in 1996 and it has been the best 19 years of our lives. god has led us all over the world and we have enjoyed almost every minute of it (sans the flights). But we don’t regret the change one second. Enjoying the ride!
Thanks for your comment. You and your gal are great examples for all of us to follow!