Archive for August, 2013

Patina -- ArtI’m a 51-year-old college graduate working a $20-an hour job clearing dirty dishes off tables at black-tie events. Back when I had money and good income, I used to attend these functions, in tux and tails. Now I’m nothing more than background noise in the room.

I couldn’t have done this in the city where I used to live, my hometown, for over 40 years. I was a professional real estate investor and agent and ran with a pretty sophisticated group when times were good. When it all hit the fan in the economic meltdown, and blue-collar work was my only option, thank god I wasn’t in my hometown any longer. I couldn’t bear the thought of a friend of mine, or a former colleague, asking me for a doggie bag.

Even after several years in L.A. I don’t feel like I know that many people. So I was OK with the potential “embarrassment factor” of being a cater waiter. Not that there’s anything wrong with the job. It just felt like a long fall from my previous life.


Spaghetti Art blogDo you know what it’s like to be middle age and looking for a job? In the new economy? How about newly middle aged and trying to change professions? Unless you’ve tried, you have no idea.

I opened the door to changing careers about four years ago. Having no idea at the time how to make an educated decision, I approached it like most decisions in my life. I threw the proverbial spaghetti at the wall to see what stuck.

Here’s a look at some of the spaghetti. Spoiler alert — none of it stuck:

They say listen to your heart and the money will follow. Ok, I love music. But let’s be realistic. I’m not going to make money playing it, writing it, promoting it or teaching it. But maybe I could learn the mechanics of it and make money engineering it.

From www.thebankingsecret.comThe things you have to do to get fired as a real estate agent are pretty extreme. Co-mingle funds, discriminate, forge signatures, nasty stuff like that. So understand I wasn’t fired. In real estate speak, it’s called being “severed.”

Being severed isn’t the end of the world. When my previous employer released me in March of this year I could have simply walked down the street into another brokerage house and been back in business by nightfall.

But it gave me a chance to stop and think about what it was I was doing. Did I really want to continue being a real estate agent? If I was going to be honest with myself there was only one answer … an emphatic and resounding NO.


My generation just lived through something very unique: hitting Middle Age during the Great Recession. It’s been the perfect storm. Life was one way, a seismic event hit, and the rest of life was suddenly thrown way off course. We were unprepared for the unexpected. And we no longer have the luxury of youth, which, in the New Economy, appears to be 90 percent of the battle.

This is a blog about my story and my friends’ stories. We find ourselves in a boat that’s half full of water — not knowing if it’s filling up or draining out. If we can find meaning and purpose