360Women

Missed Careers (or Those Yet To Be)

It’s late on a Friday evening as you wander into the hotel lounge, lured by the tinkling of a piano. Sitting at the baby grand is a semi-retired musician who supplements his Social Security with the tips from these local side gigs. And standing before that piano, under the spotlight with microphone in hand, is me.

This is my daydream. This is my professional fantasy. This is my missed career.

My dearest friends know I love to sing and, fortunately, I also know how to do it.   Am I trained professional?  No.  But can I carry a tune?  Absolutely.  Well enough to garner compliments when others hear me. So, my friends also know if I had the chance (and courage) to pursue a fourth career, it would be as a classic lounge singer.

I see it all so clearly. I’d have my set of six or eight songs arranged perfectly in my key. Nothing that could compete with Adele or Streisand, but the kind of light standards that are still easy on the ear and tug at the heart.

It may sound a little silly – longing for a career many think of as small-time when I’ve already achieved success in other fields. But my story isn’t really about me.  It’s about you.  It’s intended to get you thinking about what you’d really like to do, what you’ve always wanted to do, and compel you to start working toward it.

Take a little time to put pen to paper and list every career desire you’ve hidden away and start creating a path to make it happen; at least in some small way.

You may not have the time or the financial resources to attend medical school in your 50’s or 60’s. But you can certainly find a way to work or volunteer in a nearby hospital or health clinic.

Life may not have offered you the opportunity to become a professional downhill skier. But how about splurging on a special weekend with a private ski instructor? The equipment has changed dramatically in the past ten years – and how much fun could you have learning to ski all over again?  (I also love that a private instructor on the mountain puts you at the beginning of the ski lift line).

Always wanted to be a chef? Nothing is more popular right now than preparing and delivering healthy delicious meals to busy couples and families who have no time to shop or cook at the end of a long day.  Hundreds of online food prep companies are making money in metropolitan cities. Post a couple of flyers at your church hall or community center about your ability to prepare meals for those who can’t do it themselves. Orders will be coming in before you arrive back at your home kitchen.

Have you fooled around with the idea of investing in real estate or (better yet) actually getting into the business? There is no age limit to becoming a successful real estate agent. Take the courses online or order the books on Amazon. Study the practice tests, then jump in and take the exam in your state. Being a real estate agent provides you with a part- or a full-time career meeting new people, seeing gorgeous homes and making hundreds of contacts. I was already in my 50s when I became an agent and it not only allowed me to earn a nice living but start 360Women.net.

But enough about that. Back to my imaginary singing career. It’s much easier to give advice than to take it. So, I’ll make you a deal: I’ll put together my set of songs and publish them right here, if you’ll tell me about your dream job.  Just enter it in the Comments section below, along with one tiny step you’re going to take to get a little closer.

I may not be at the Holiday Inn right away, but I am researching senior centers and rehab facilities in San Francisco that might enjoy a little entertainment. Who knows?  I might find myself with a tip jar on the piano sooner than anyone expected.

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Lee Ann Monfredini

Lee Ann Monfredini

Lee Ann Monfredini is the founder of 360Women and a life-long advocate of women’s issues, political activism, social volunteerism, organizational accountability and personal responsibility. A graduate of the University of San Francisco with a degree in Non-Profit Management, she’s not only served on the boards and executive teams of some of the most respected health organizations in the Bay Area, but built a successful second career as one of the most respected realtors in the market. She can be reached at leeann@360women.net.

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