by Corinne

Your associate is gone.

One call from upstairs and he was seen packing his personal effects and escorted out the front door.  It is usually on a Friday.

He wasn’t the first one.  There is a major restructuring in your company.

Fear is ruining your life.


It was easier years ago. The days of the “gas company mentality” are over. People no longer work for the same company for 40 years, collect a gold watch, a retirement dinner and a pension. So we have to change too.

What we all tend to do is wait. Maybe it will get better. Maybe I’ll get an offer from a new company. Maybe I’ll get a raise or a great new client. I have a lot invested here. Health benefits. Time. Loans. Credit card debt. I have a mortgage. Kids. College costs looming.

In the meantime, the companies that we have declared allegiance to are not so loyal to us. The words are everywhere. Downsizing. Layoffs. Outsourcing. Eliminating or combining a position. Fancy new words for being fired.

A Harvard MBA half your age comes in and changes the whole company. You have new quotas. You make your quota and they raise it. New standards. Zero tolerance. Conform. Produce. Learn that new software. Or you’re out.

And you are out at 50 years old. Not 30. A challenge to get a new job or switch fields.


I owned a travel agency for 20 years. I loved it. I was successful. But in the early 90’s I began seeing the handwriting on the wall. The airlines, who bragged about us as “partners” started turning against us. They started competing for our commercial business. Cutting commissions. And I saw another danger for the travel agent looming. Travel web pages on the emerging Internet.

I decided to sell. People couldn’t believe it. They asked why. I was selling was because I read a business book that said. “Never try to race a three legged horse.” I could see the travel business being that horse.

My agency may have been one of the last that was sold. A few years later, they just started closing. The days of the neighborhood agency were mostly over.

Now – what to do? I didn’t have enough money to retire – and I didn’t want to.

I needed more to do. I volunteered to teach a spiritual thought system – in Cook County Jail. I did that for over two years.

The men in my class at the jail were the most feared criminals in the city. Murderers, big drug dealers, gang chiefs, burglars, I wouldn’t let them tell me why they were in jail. I couldn’t teach love and forgiveness if I knew.

They were the smartest men I had ever met.

They taught me two words that are important to know. –


Many of these men could run General Motors. It was just a matter of redirecting their knowledge and energy. I told them. As a big drug dealer you learned everything you need to run a business. Hiring. Credit. Management. Accounting. Distribution. Sales. Marketing. I told them when you get out, get yourself on a different track using the same skills.

Transferable skills mean that what you learned working in McDonald’s in High School you are still using today in your business. That means that what you have learned in your present job you can use in another business.

While this was going on, I took a class on how to produce a TV show at Chicago Access Corporation. Just for fun. I found that running a travel agency and producing a TV show were very similar. It was putting the pieces together. In travel it was research, airfare, hotels, sightseeing, transfers – in a TV show it was cameras, crew, lights, research, content, editing. Pieces.

In most business it comes down to contacts. You have more than you realize. Recommendations. People send their friends. Travel customers sent their friends. In the TV business, authors got the word out. Publicity is a small town.

Then the impossible happened. A major Satellite television company called Wisdom Television picked up my show. I mean, who hires a middle aged woman interviewer unless she is Barbara Walters? A fun hobby turned into a new career.

Then bingo! After six years, they canceled all new production on Wisdom. The owner died and the heirs wanted to sell the channel.


I activated my real estate broker’s license from a former life and sold real estate in Chicago while things were good. It’s a three legged horse now. But it is the same formula. Contacts. Pieces. Put deals together the same way as in the travel business or TV production.


Here are some of the basic things I have learned.

1. If you start a new business, be careful about giving credit. You are not a bank. Don’t do a lot of work without money up front.

2. Be willing to try something new. But go work for someone in the new field – even for nothing if you have to. Businesses fail for 2 reasons. Lack of capital or lack of experience. You may succeed with one of these lacking but not both. Make your mistakes on somebody else’s’ money.

3. Follow your gut. You have a hidden gift. What is it? You know more than you think. Follow the energy right in front of you. If it feels wrong, stop.

4. Don’t – don’t share your dreams with just anyone. They will shoot you down. Don’t ask a lawyer, real estate broker, stockbroker if they are in a good business. They will say, “It used to be good. Not anymore. Don’t even think about it.” They don’t want the competition. Your own family will discourage you because they are afraid. Everyone wants you to cling to the devil you know.

5. There is power in Intention. Don’t shoot your own dreams down. Keep putting the thought out there and see yourself where you want to be. Don’t cancel the energy by seeing even the possibility of failure. Not unless you decide later that you really are racing a three legged horse. You may not be. But if you are, start something new.

Most of all. In business or personal life – love the people you are dealing with. Force yourself to love them. Visualize them in your mind with love. 99 % of communication is mental.

To get started, make a list of 100 possibilities. They can be ridiculous things. But we whittle them down and you’d be surprised at some of the good ideas that come forth. Try it.

Maybe you have artistic ability. Make something. Paint something. Collect these things and get a booth at an art fair. When someone asks if you are an artist, say yes. If you’re good with figures, take a tax course. Do taxes for people. Maybe for a few dollars or even free. It could be a future business.

If you love kids, go back to school and get a teachers certificate. Teachers are needed.

You have a talent. You know what it is. A dream you have not yet followed.

Do it in a small way while you still have a job.

Because you never know what will happen in this crazy economy. And you don’t want to end up on the beach in Ft. Lauderdale talking about the good old days when you haven’t had the good days you deserve.

Life is an adventure ride. Follow the energy right in front of you. You can reinvent yourself.

Keep asking yourself the question.

What else do you want to be when you grow up?

What is it?

Start doing it now.

Related post:


These are excerpts  from my E-book

click on the link below for a different kind of sales book.

$9.95 from Clickbank


Picture by Karen D

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy Shields September 1, 2011 at 6:26 pm

My BFF – What timing!

I love your words and so full of wisdom – I just told my daughter today about re-inventing the wheel. I have decided to take classes for the next 9-10 months to become a Professional Certified Coach – Yes Life Coach! I still own my playgroud business but why not take the time and proceed with one of my passions while I still have a job!

In gratitude to you and your words of wisdom,


Corinne September 2, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Hi Nancy BFF –

You have been a life coach your whole life.

You are a natural. Great idea.

In most states, you do not need a certification unless you advertise yourself as a counselor or a therapist.

Go for it.

Check this post out for some clarification


Nicole Rushin September 2, 2011 at 6:16 am

Unemployment should be a time of re-invention. There seems to be a lot of re-inventing going on in the world. It is a hard road, but ultimately we should each do exactly what we have always wanted to do. It is sometimes hard to get at, but the answer is there; hidden in the laundry and the arguments with bosses and the drama in our lives. If we could sort through these things and get down to our truth we could all move forward, but I understand as well as anyone that is sometimes very difficult. A good coach should be the first step.


Corinne September 2, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Dear Nicole –

You are right. A good coach will guide you into all the right options and directions.

I have been a life coach for over 15 years. People already have the answers. You just have to act like a tour director.

As you said so wisely – it is hidden in the laundry.

Love that example.


Nancy Shields September 2, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Thank you BFF for the encouragement! Thanks for the link and I will check it out!

Grateful for you,


Ravit September 6, 2011 at 8:37 am

I remember when I understood I’m about to be fired and was very stressed until the moment has arrived and it was the best thing ever happened in my life. One door was closed banging and a new one was wide open waiting for me… Thanks for this great post!


Corinne September 8, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Dear Ravit –

You are right. The anticipation is worse than the event.

When the ax has finally fallen, at least that relieves some of the stress and you can finally take a deep breath and start to move on.

The waiting can lead to a lot of sleepless nights.


Steve September 7, 2011 at 6:29 am

Thank you for the inspiring words. I faced those fears several times during my mature life, and I agree that if you do a good preparation, you did 80% of the work.


Corinne September 8, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Dear Steve –

I got fired from my first job. I was 14 and was making $.39 an hour.

It was in the 5 and 10 cent store.

It was because I got my finger caught in a glass baby bottle and I could not get it unstuck.

Was devastated and I was sure I would never get another one.

Now I look back and laugh at it. But it was not funny at the time.

I was definitely not prepared for the humiliation and so ashamed to go home and tell my mother.

PS. She thought it was very funny but was very supportive of me.


Bruce September 9, 2011 at 3:46 am

I have heard that hell is being over 50 and looking for a job. That is why I have always tried to be a contractor and not an employee and sometimes have worked 2 contracts 6 and 7 days a week for short periods. I never wanted changes in the organization ( I do urgent and emergency medicine) to mean I was sent packing when the hospital or HMO hired another medical staffing company.
You have wisdom in this post. The idea is to never be complacent. Always be testing when times are good so you are ready when times are tough. Those that ride the horse until it drops find they can’t even sell it for dog food unless they can deliver it. This is really good work. I have your book and like it.


Corinne September 9, 2011 at 11:36 am

Dear Bruce –

Being a contractor – not an employee is not for everyone.

I think this gene is something you are born with. It involves not being afraid of taking risks and many are scared without the support of a regular paycheck and benefits and the two week vacation.

However, as I have indicated here – these are things we no longer can depend on. We have to retrain our thinking.

I guess it sometimes takes – as you say –

“ride the horse until it drops”

Once you taste just a little success on your own, it is hard to go back to the dependent mode.

Success breeds success.

You are lucky that you are in the medical field. As time goes on, you will continue to be able to write your own ticket.

Glad you liked my book. You are always such a firm support to me.

Thank you.


Joel September 9, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Wonderful post as always. Your story is a great lesson and proof what you say works. I think a large point is to do a lot of this while you have a job and are still working. A lot of people come to me have been laid off or given up their job and now want to make money online fast. Well, it’s not that easy, if you started while you still had an income the pressure to do it fast wouldn’t be there.
Fantastic, thanks Corinne!


Corinne September 10, 2011 at 5:07 am

Dear Joel –

High praise from you, Joel. I am so pleased you liked my article. It was a pretty long one from me.

This part of your comment was so important –

“A lot of people come to me have been laid off or given up their job and now want to make money online fast.”

Everyone is selling something – but not a lot of people are buying.

We are feeling the recession too.

You have to take the time to develop relationships. Not an quick thing. It takes time like any trusted friendship.

When I sold my travel agency, I had some money to tide me over for quite a while. I could fool with a few ideas without the pressure to make money on them.

That was a luxury.

When I started interviewing on Public Access, there was a definite formula. If you got crew (6 people) to work on your show, it was because you worked on theirs. The only pay was pizza for your crew.

It worked out for me. Got a TV show on national cable.

It is the same online. We have to help each other.

I appreciate your help.


Debbie September 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Wonderful Corinne. Yes, the keys is to start while you have a job. I have had to reinvent myself and it is the best thing that ever happened to me.

Some times those hard times are a blessing when we have the right attitude. This country is changing fast and I’m not sure where it is heading. But with the right attitude I can swim faster.
Thanks again for the insight. You do know what you are talking about.
Blessing to you Corinne,


Corinne September 10, 2011 at 5:13 am

Yes, Debbie –

You certainly have reinvented yourself several times since I have known you.

You will try anything. All good ideas – and you keep getting better and better – and more interesting.

You are swimming faster all the time.

And the most important thing is you are always ready to help.

– and you “know what you are taking about.” Real life issues.

That can only come from living a real life and experience.


Kathy Ver Eecke September 9, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Unbelievably timely post. And so encouraging. I feel like I know what I want to be when I grow up, but you make me want to rethink it anyway.

I also think #5 in your list is so important; there’s power in intention. I have a friend who is constantly telling us all to watch out words. She believes what you put out there is what you create for yourself. So the ‘oh, I’ll never get that job’ becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. I think I’m guilty of this. In my case it’s using self deprecating humor, but I think it’s just as bad. There’s power in intention. Intend to do/be/live the way you want.

Nice post, as always!


Corinne September 10, 2011 at 5:23 am

Dear Kathy –

I love your blog. You always make me think. It is so unique. Your “self deprecating humor” is charming.

I disagree with your friend. I don’t think it is the words you say. It is the words in your head that you say to yourself.

We have to put a big X over any self critical thoughts. And never feed the trolls who make us feel bad.

I am not quite sure I know what I want to be when I grow up. I better think fast.

But the journey on the way is the most fascinating. And watching and listening to the signals which we sometimes ignore.


Andrew September 9, 2011 at 11:37 pm


During my corporate working world I ‘survived’ numerous down-sizing activities. I knew my time was going to arrive at some stage and I started my own ‘plan b’. That was 6 years ago and I started my own on-line business. After 3 years of working part-time, I was ready. I decided to leave the corporate world.

Everyone whould have a plan b…no matter who you are…your time of being laid off will come…be prepared.



Corinne September 10, 2011 at 5:30 am

Dear Andrew –

Seems to me, you have a plan B, C and D.

One of the best things about working for yourself is that the only one who can lay you off is you.

And you have the option of abandoning plan B for C.

Without explaining or justifying it to anyone else.

All the experience from everything rolls into the next. Nothing ever gets lost. It gets transferred and reinvented.


David Rogers September 11, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Last week it was announce that the psychiatric hospital I work at will close early next year. Whilst not unexpected its still a kick in the teeth when it happens – especially when done for financial expediency rather than good care reasons. I’ll probably still have a job, but with double the commute and with a totally different team. Time to review other ways of earning an income!!


Corinne September 12, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Dear David –

I am sorry. It is not easy.

But you are such a valuable person, another door will open.

Any chance of telecommuting with another firm. We get spoiled when we have a short commute.

My only advice to you (which you don’t need) is to take what you can and keep your eyes and ears open.

Somethiing good is out there for you. I can feel it.


Raymond Chua September 13, 2011 at 12:34 am


Something new that I learn today.

Thanks for sharing your great story and lessons with us. I’m sure those lessons save us a lot of heartache, money and time.


Corinne September 13, 2011 at 11:54 am

I don’t think it was new, Raymond. I’ve seen you do it along the way as we have become blogging buddies.

Maybe I just put a label on it.

You are are already doing it.

But I am always happy to have you comment. You are always so sincere.


Michelle Vandepas September 15, 2011 at 5:48 am

Corinne, I love number 5. Don’t share your dreams with just anyone…. It’s like a small growing plant, in the early stages you protect it, keep it warm and water it very gently, don’t expose it to the elements or share it with too many people as one might pluck it right out of the ground.. Later when it has grown and is beautiful, then share.. .. Same with dreams…


Corinne September 16, 2011 at 10:20 am

Dear Michelle –

People love the status quo. They want you in the place they are used to.

Any new dream is suspect. Not because they don’t care about you but because they are afraid for you.

Telling these people about your dream is costly because they will contaminate it and make you defend it. That spoils it.

You are right.

“Later when it has grown and is beautiful, then share.. .. Same with dreams… ”

Those same people will rejoice with you.

I always support your dreams.


Amy LeForge September 22, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Brilliant. Corinne you always have wisdom to share, and I appreciate you so much.


Corinne September 22, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Me too, Amy. I love your articles. They take me back to when my four boys were young.



George Lungu September 26, 2011 at 9:40 am

“4. Don’t – don’t share your dreams with just anyone. They will shoot you down. Don’t ask a lawyer, real estate broker, stockbroker if they are in a good business. They will say, “It used to be good. Not anymore. Don’t even think about it.” They don’t want the competition. Your own family will discourage you because they are afraid. Everyone wants you to cling to the devil you know.”

Corinne, Very good article and I like the above point the most. George


Corinne September 26, 2011 at 10:32 am

Dear George –

This is one of my favorites too – people do not like change. They want you in your place where you belong. Mostly, because of fear.

My second favorite is not to be afraid to ask for money,

Thanks for the great comment, George.


Tyrone November 8, 2011 at 5:28 am


What actually really worked for me were to follow my gut and try things new while change was always consistent. Even though it’s always a challenge to start a new business or a new project, when you looked back at it, it’s still great to experience more and more things as you go along and that way you can test the waters on which works better than retaining at the same spot all the time.


Jenny November 16, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Unemployment is definitely not the end of your career. Don’t waste your time asking why you lost your job! Instead, use that energy to think of a way to start a new page of your life using the experiences from your previous job.


Matthew Fox February 9, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Unemployment is definitely not the end of your career it maybe the start of a more exciting job. Never be discourage being unemployed find ways to have a job instead of sulking.
Underwater Photographer


David March 17, 2012 at 2:14 am

Hi Corinne,
Excellent coverage of a topic of growing importance, especially with the advancing age of baby boomers. Expanding your options is an important element of not only finding something to do but also finding something you like to do. To that point, I’d encourage your readers to follow your advice to expand their network. Get out there and do something (even no pay somethings). You may find something you really enjoy and people who really enjoy working with you.


Ferr March 13, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Thanks for this inspiring thoughts of yours. I am too afraid of losing a job because I consider unemployment to be the worst thing that will happen to me. I hope it won’t happen.


Corinne March 16, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Dear Ferr –

Stay positive. Show up early. Stay later. Your boss will notice.


Matt May 2, 2012 at 3:53 am

Fear helps us survive. It keeps us sharp and it keeps us safe.

Well, at least partly.

I’m still utterly amazed by how many people are consumed and directed almost entirely by their fears. I’ve just turned 27 and for the better part of my life I’ve been lead around by fear like a puppet; in particular a fear of failure. I’m branching out slowly, I’ve mentioned my site previously Corinne – – well, launching that was, to date, the largest risk I’ve taken in 10+ years!

It’s an ongoing battle and I sincerely feel for those who are still driven by it entirely. That is why I think I am so fond of site’s like yours, Corinne. As you mentioned, most people will simply shoot your dreams down but there are some people, like yourself, who are keeping people on the track to bettering themselves, myself included.

For that I don’t think you could ever be thanked enough. God holds a special place for such people, I believe 🙂



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