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Book Review

A book to help you kick-start your career after age 40

By Ethel Shepard

Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for the 2nd Half of Life
By Marc Miller with Susan Leahy
Published by Career Pivot Publishing (2017)
Paperback $14.95


As the book title suggests, this is a guide for workers at the mid-point in their careers. In particular, it’s about fulfilling one’s life mission by finding meaningful work with decent pay. And as the title also suggests, the advice the authors provide is understandable and practical.

You don’t need to sift through elaborate philosophizing to find in this book what many workers need: ways to find inner courage, and ways to enlist years of work experience as a means to finding one’s ideal job. Indeed, you might call this a “quick read.” At 143 pages, the author proves you don’t need to write a book suitable for ballast to be worthwhile.

Bottom line: If you are unhappy in your job, feeling underappreciated, but also overwhelmed by technology, Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for the 2nd Half of Life may give you confidence to shake off self doubt, take risks, and forge ahead.

Self-examination a good first step

At some point in life you may have found yourself reflecting on the paths you could’ve, would’ve and should’ve taken. Miller sees this introspection as a positive step, particularly if you believe you could be happier doing something else in your life for work.

“Repurpose” helps you take the first steps toward this new life. Each chapter provides practical action items. Then, after each useful chapter, you are asked delving questions and provided with suggested action steps that help you realistically examine how to make this big change — the pivot to a new career.

These questions require one to look back and reflect on past employment experiences. The purpose of this self-examination is to gain a clear understanding of the work or positions that made you feel happiest and most rewarded. The questions also help you assess your failures and how you recovered from them.

Miller acknowledges how technology, specifically robots and software, has overtaken and changed our daily personal interactions and routines. He sees technology as inconsequential because “your social and professional network are the most important piece of any career change.” Who you know is still more important than what you know. Miller helps you uncover your network, which can lead to an improved sense of self worth and net worth.

Addressing fearful thoughts

“Repurpose” makes change seem doable. Before you can begin tapping into your network there generally are some mental adjustments that need attention, this book suggests. In particular, we need to re-frame negative thoughts. Negative thoughts are what Miller calls Making Stuff Up. It’s what we do when faced with uncertainty, fear of the unknown, insecurity, and lack of self confidence.

Essentially, we paint a negative picture that puts us in a panic, an emotional state of highs and lows, with accompanying thoughts that sabotage our career efforts. If we really want a better life and career, we have to learn not to get upset and make up stuff to explain failures. To successfully move on, we have to get the facts, understand what went wrong so that we don’t repeat our mistakes, and then roll on to our next opportunity where we’ll do better.

On topics closely related to landing a satisfying job, there is a lot of basic good advice that includes knowing yourself, helping others, building a network of valuable acquaintances, and using social media to advance your purpose.

If you really want straight-up advice and help creating a strategy that can get you to the point where you are living your best life, “Repurpose” is a good starting point. It’s a useful and easy-to-use reference for those of us who are age 40 and over for getting to the next phase in our lives.


Ethel Shepard, a public relations consultant with more than 20 years of experience working with corporations and nonprofits, can be reached by email.

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