In the most recent Next Avenue newsletter, Author Richard Eisenberg features a story about Elizabeth White, a 55-year-old, Harvard MBA graduate, and former executive of the World. White recently gave a Ted talk and wrote a book called 55, unemployed and faking normal. It’s a powerful account of her life, and the trials and tribulations she is currently facing trying to find work in America. In the meantime, she is taking on bridge employment and assignments that will help pay her bills.
We all know people in her predicament.
What makes White different, however, is her courage to tell her story.
And from the statics she reveals in her talk, she is far from alone in pretending to fake normal.
As a work and retirement researcher what struck me most from her piece was her advice to boomers about bridge employment. Bridge employment refers to work that people do that bridges full-time employment and full-time retirement.
She told the audience of a recent experience she had with a friend who asked her to assist on a project that involved organization work.
White explains that she assumed the project involved community organizing along the lines of what Obama did in Chicago. She was therefore rather surprised when her friend explained that it involved organizing someone’s closet!
She replied, “I am not doing that”.
Her friend responded, “get off your throne”.
These days she candidly explains that her thoughts around bridge employment have changed.
She advises boomers to take jobs that they may not want to take and change your perspective about your pay grade.
“We’re going to be asked to do things we don’t want to do and to take assignments we think are beneath our station, talent and skills.”
In her own case, White realized she had to get off her throne. As her friend expressed, “Money is green”.
She further explains, “bridge work does not mean that we don’t want meaningful work. Bridge work is what you do until you figure out what is next”.
There are lots more golden nuggets in White’s ted talk. It’s well worth the 18 minutes.
To your success!