Forty Years Without A Break – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

In 1977, I started my full time working career as a dishwasher at Parkway Café in Jamestown ND at the age of fourteen and since I had not been unemployed one day until mid-July 2017.

What a trend, Parkway Café, Wagon Masters Restaurant, Tom’s Standard, Dales Mobile, US Navy Fast Attack Submarines retired, Diva Solutions, Diebold Inc., Tecniflex DBA Bancsource, and finally Pateo Enterprise with small stints at ACG and JME as a consultant and employee.

The last eighteen months or so were difficult since I had left my first long term civilian career after sixteen years and started a consulting firm to assist struggling businesses and/or assist new business startups. Moving on and starting the consulting business was the right decision but most of my work can from prior associates VS new customers so finding the next consulting job was a challenge.

In February 2017 my relationship ended with one of my customers and in July 2017, my relationship was severed with my second customer so we were at a fork in the road regarding what to do next.

Starting mid-July 2017, we put all of our efforts into not only looking for our next adventure but also into dealing with job loss grief. Incredibly, I invested as much time in these endeavors as I had working full time.

Job loss grief is real and after leaving my long-term career in early 2016, I had gone through all phases of moving on which included denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. In July 2017, I went through the same grief but I guess practice makes perfect since I transitioned through all phases quicker this go around.

Awareness of oneself was part of this transition and during the last eighteen months I had been too quick to accept an opportunity that may not fit and I have learned it is better to wait for the right opportunity than accept the wrong opportunity.

Determining my next adventure was a journey in itself. I looked at modifying my consulting business, starting my own small business in a different area, purchasing a franchise or an existing business, finding a job with a new career path, and finding a job that was like my original career path.

Again, much was learned about myself, what I wanted to do, and that job hunting has changed significantly. Having learned that even though I had significant experience, a job offer on the first interview was not going to happen and the compensation was not going to be as good.

It has now been nearly six weeks since I started my first professional break in forty years and although we have not been employed and burning through our savings this has not been a period of rest and relaxation. Having turned down numerous opportunities because they were not right and we have not received responses for opportunities I thought were right. Having participated in numerous phone and face to face interviews. Having filled out painful online job applications and have filled out applications during face to face interviews.

Having been the interviewer for many years, I have truly received an education on how painful the entire process can be for the interviewee. I am thankful that I am patient and was able to choose an opportunity that fits.

After 45 days of hunting, driving, interviewing, networking, and selling myself we have found my next opportunity and I am happy with my choice. The opportunity is like what we have performed in the past but has significant potential for growth over time so now I can take a few days off to rest and relax. I surely hope my next extended break does not happen for another 40 years.

Wishing you a great day!

Jay Patterson

You Are Only As Old As You Act – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

Numerous studies indicate “You Are Only As Old As You Act” and I agree that there is nothing better than doing a fun activity that you have not been involved in for years to emphasize the point.

Since turning 50, I have slowed down a bit professionally (no more 80 hour work weeks) and i have started to smell the roses using the extra time I now have. Some of my activities people would consider work and some activities are leisure but still they are fun to me.

  • My primary method of relaxation includes reading every day and my favorite leisure read is alternate history of all types. There is nothing like the ultimate what if and reading a little Harry Turtledove and similar authors does it for me. I also like to read business self-help books but we are talking leisure right.
  • My dogs are my always method of relaxation because they provide unconditional love and have the ability to suck every ounce of tension out of your body either by cuddling or doing something you just don’t expect. To be in a dogs head for a day.
  • I love to cook and since trending towards a Paleo diet a year ago it has added interest into this hobby and required chore. I am currently trying to make a Paleo ice cream.
  • Although not done daily, my favorite relaxation is the great outdoors and activities that include kayaking, riding an ATV, hiking, camping and believe it or not, mowing the lawn. There is nothing like riding an ATV on primitive trails and getting planted in a pit of mud. On the other end of the spectrum, mowing allows my mind to think in a relaxed setting.
  • Photography has always been a passion and it is my goal to spend more time doing photo projects when on the road or back-roads. I love traveling down US Highways that were made obsolete by the Interstate Highway System and viewing what was.
  • I love to travel and have always had itchy feet in my professional life so traveling for work was a bonus that allowed me to relax as I drove to my next meeting or appointment. When I was younger, I could easily drive 16 to 20 hours a day but have slowed down a bit and 12 hours is now my limit.

I have listed a few of the things I enjoy but there are so many more items I am happy to do. I may not be as good at these activities and/or hobbies as I once was or I may get a bit sore but it is so sweet.

No matter your passion, do something you enjoyed doing in years gone past and I guarantee the joy with still be there and perhaps it will be intensified. Life is too short to not take time to enjoy family, friends, hobbies and studies show you are only as old as you act. Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen is a way of life not a phrase.

Thanks for listening and have a QUINTASTIC day!!


Is There A Gray Ceiling? Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

I have always believed that with age you gain wisdom, respect and the ability to take advantage of these skills when making a career change. Perhaps I am old-fashioned or naive but there appears to be a slight Gray Ceiling that we bump into and it has only occurred to me in the last couple years.

Some Gray Ceiling Indications are subtle and some are not so subtle. These include:

  • Over qualified.
  • Low compensation offered when qualified for position.
  • Not trainable.
  • Bored doing this job.
  • Technology challenges,

I have never been one to sit back and accept artificial limitations and I have always been a cup half full person so this was basically a call to throw down the gloves and do everything in my power to re-package myself.

There are numerous articles, blogs, books regarding how to re-invent/re-package yourself and I chose to do the following:

  1. Update your Linked In profile if you have one, build a Linked In account if you don’t have one.
    1. My Linked In profile was not complete even though I have been a member for years.
  2. Revise your resume and if needed build different versions of your resume.
    1. I have multiple resumes based on the opportunity I am looking at and I have a watered down resume that is less than two (2) pages for generic submissions.
  3. Obtain quick reference letters or statements and add to your resume package, profiles, etc. Make them a mixture of people you have worked for, worked with and worked for you.
    1. I have references spanning 20 plus years for trending.
  4. Brush up on current technology and software packages.
    1. Being able to talk the talk that is half the battle.
  5. Feel good about yourself and get over your hang ups.
    1. Eat better, sleep better, participate in fun activities, volunteer, contact people you have not spoken to for extended periods, start a journal, work out, etc…
  6. Bring your “A Game” to online applications, phone interviews, and in person interviews.
    1. With technology, the job hunt has become very impersonal so you need to shine whenever possible.
  7. Most importantly, the world has changed so you need to Network, Network, Network and if that is not enough, network some more.
    1. I have contacted numerous old contacts and have added many new contacts during this endeavor.

I am not saying there is age discrimination but I am saying it is more difficult to find a position when you are Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen so pull out the stops and put your best foot forward.

It is not my goal to work for someone else my entire career but until I am able to devote 100% of my time, debt free to an independent career I will do what it takes to make it a little closer to that goal including re-inventing/re-packaging myself.

I am not a professional writer and I am not a guru but I like many of you have years of experience blowing into my sails and believe there is a place for us in our current work environment.

Wishing everyone the best… Jay

Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen – 50 Plus Going On 15

Great Day For A Solar Eclipse – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

The clock is ticking and it has been nearly 100 years since the last coast to coast solar eclipse so I guess it is a big deal or an indication of our mortality. For some of us, we were able to experience a solar eclipse since we were in the Great White North (North Dakota) in 1979 which leads me to my new website “FIFTY PLUS GOING ON FIFTEEN”.

There is much talk of fifty being the new thirty but I like to look at it as being QUINTASTIC which sounds so James Bond. We may move a little slower and hurt a little more but we love to have fun and age should not be an excuse.

Much has happened from 1979 to 2017, entire lives have been lived, kids have grown, nations have collapsed, wars have been fought, friends have been lost, and we have all lived through predicted catastrophes that never happened.

It is hard to believe that in our “QUINTASTIC” lifetime we have gone from black and white televisions with no remote and three (3) channels to more channels than you can count and online content. We have gone from party lines to bag phones, to cell phones, to smartphones in every pocket. We have gone from computers the size of a refrigerator or larger to computers that fit on a pinhead. Do we thank Area 51 or Star Trek for the advances??

The purpose of this website is to have some fun but also discuss topics that impact those that are fifty plus. I will keep this short today but will dive deeper in future articles.

Have A Quintastic Day!!