Google+

Expanding Knowledge: Late Career Development

 

Having spent a lifetime learning, I find myself in the possibly enviable but somewhat confusing position of having forgotten more than most people know. Still, I would not be afraid to take on a fundamentally new learning project; that is, tackle something entirely new and learn it well enough to practice it at a very high level. Perhaps I could even develop a new, satisfying and possibly lucrative career.

Some of you may think this is not a serious option. Let’s make sure that we understand each other on this point first. To achieve learning to the point of new career development would require a serious investment of effort and time. For the purpose of argument, let’s say it might take four-five years of reasonably steady effort with lots of attention to detail, particularly toward the end of that time, when I would be plotting a meaningful entry to my new field. How much money I would make at entry level or even later would be irrelevant to me, but perhaps not to others.  I’ve been a student all my life, and thus I know how to survive on a relative pittance.

Secondly, when at the entering point in any new field you would expect to have to make beginner’s mistakes. Gradually you would make some initial noticeable contributions to the field. Others would regard you as a player–even if you were developing a completely new field or a new way of looking at the world or a piece of it. It might take you three-five years to just make a credible start. While you may not have made your first landmark contribution three-five years out, others looking at what you are doing dispassionately might say that you have a chance to “change the world.”  Perhaps they would all agree that it is a very slim chance, but that it is at least a non-zero chance. Thus, after going through the initial phase of learning the basics sufficiently well to start, and then going through what an apprenticeship, you would like to foresee another 15-20 years to make a few serious contributions to a field you may even be defining anew. In summary, we are looking at a 21-30 year timeline.

I would argue that it may make little difference when you begin. You could begin at age 18  or maybe even at 60, 70 or 80. But, it may be best not to think about start time at all. Even though some experience at learning facilitates more learning and greater efficiencies in learning, some will have already decided that there are limits to what they can accomplish. Some will also say that if you do not undertake such a quest while you are young, it will be of little use to begin it later. Such thoughts are self-defeating. I’ll let others expand on that hypothesis, because I’m thinking it really doesn’t matter when you begin.

If you do not begin a quest, then regardless of the age at which you might begin, the question of how things will turn out is really pointless. Begin! Then we’ll see how it all turns out. You can begin while very young and fall under the wheels of a bus before you’ve hardly gotten out of the starting gate. Alternatively, you can begin at 80 and fall quickly into a progressive dementia which makes it impossible to count to ten let alone start a new career. Either way it’s over before you really get started, and you’ll probably be the last to know when things come to an end.

You should always be learning and evaluating what you have learned. You can undertake something really serious early or much later in life, but you should always be prepared to test the limits of your knowledge, and expand it in provocative and creative ways regardless of age. Timing as well as the length of time you have remaining to you are always considerations, or at least we think they are. In fact, we often have less to say about those factors than we think we have. When you are prepared to begin, you should begin.

 

Please Follow Richard on Twitter: https://twitter.com/pebblerick

 

Richard A. Hudson is a writer, reader and blogger committed to exercise, proper nutrition and health.  He’s interested in politics, economics, alternative energy, gardening and sustainability and has written brief essays on many of these topics on his bloghttp://richlynne.wordpress.com.  Despite his generally positive and optimistic views about globalization, he wonders whether we will survive current destructive forces that increasingly promote warfare among political and social classes. He is also beginning to think about the declining influence of the know-it-all baby boomer generation just as the next generation born in the 60s begins to slowly stumble into a dominant position in the U.S.

 He received a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Chicago (1966) and subsequently spent 42 years in academics, gradually developing all sorts of interests well beyond his basic training.  He ended his academic career in 2008, having published about 100 scientific papers, reviews and commentaries.  In his last several years in the academy, his role as Dean of the Graduate School afforded him many opportunities to interact with students from all over the world seeking graduate degrees.

Entertainment

Ben Affleck Directs and Stars in Gruesome Gangster Saga

    Live by Night Blu-ray Review by Kam Williams Ben Affleck Directs and Stars in Gruesome Gangster Saga    Dennis Lehane has enjoyed phenomenal success not only as a novelist but writing directly for TV (Boardwalk Empire and The Wire). And several of his crime thrillers have been brought to the big screen, including Mystic River, Shutter Island and Gone, Baby, Gone. In 2007, Ben Affleck directed Gone, Baby, Gone, staying behind … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Books

The President’s Kitchen Cabinet

  The President's Kitchen Cabinet The Story of the African-Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas by Adrian Miller University of North Carolina Press Hardcover, $30.00 292 pages, Illustrated ISBN: 978-1-4696-3253-7 Book Review by Kam Williams “[This opus] vividly tells the stories of the African-Americans who worked in the presidential food service as chefs, personal cooks, butlers, stewards … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

The Day After the Day Of

  The Day After the Day Of by Paul Ilechko   The sky sheds its tears. This morning is the morning of the day after. The day of mourning, the day after the day of.  I beseech the sky to shed tears in order to wash away the tears on my face.   This is the first day of the time after. This is the beginning of a new time, the days of pain, the days of sorrow. We are in mourning. The sky looks down and sheds its tears for … [Read More its Good For You...]

Real Estate

History Being Sold to the Highest Bidder

  History Being Sold to the Highest Bidder by Amy Lignor   For the longest time, scientists and archaeologists have been confused and bemused by various discoveries they’ve unearthed that offer little or no explanation as to the who, what, and why of the people who created these things or left them behind. Even now, in 2017, there are discoveries being studied; stories that were once legends now have actual bits of proof being found that … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Lifestyle

2017 Hobbies That Bring You Serenity

  2017 Hobbies That Bring You Serenity by Amy Lignor   Origami. Memory albums. Quilting. What do these have in common? Well, at one point or another in time, they have represented the “hottest” hobbies in the United States. Taking up hobbies are not only a fun thing to do for the “artistic/creative” type, but they also help to reduce stress. Even the AMA has cited the fact that taking up a hobby can produce a calming environment … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

Skeeter SX210

  Skeeter SX210 By Craig Lamb After buying a bay boat, why spend more time and money getting it rigged out for your needs? With the Skeeter SX210, you get a boat already factory rigged with the standard accessories and features serious anglers want in a bay boat. Best of all, you get the extras, dependability, and durability that make it a Skeeter for an affordable price. Affordable doesn’t mean any corners were cut. That’s not the … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

Will NASCAR Theatrics Bring Back Viewers?

  Will NASCAR Theatrics Bring Back Viewers? by Amy Lignor   For any of the millions who once watched ABC’s Wide World of Sports and heard the words “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat,” they remember the footage of a skier’s crash when it came to the “agony” side of things. Everyone knew that sight was a fact – a video that was absolutely real. Nowadays, however, it seems that more and more sports are “making up” shots that … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

How Are Retail Sales in 2017?

  How Are Retail Sales in 2017? E-Commerce Reigns by Amy Lignor   Despite consumer uncertainty, as well as a very sluggish beginning to 2017, the U.S. retail sales industry is projected to increase 4% this year. Headlines show that many retailers and companies posted “soft” holiday sales to end 2016, which caused some notable retailers to either cut jobs or close stores as a result. However, when it comes to 2017, the National … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Where to Vacation? Go Big or Stay Home!

  Where to Vacation? Go Big or Stay Home! by Amy Lignor   We speak about luxury vacations, budget vacations, vacations that are fun for the kids, and many more areas of travel at this time of year. But there is also a category that many do not touch upon because they “assume” it is far too difficult for those on a budget to be able to enjoy these jaw-dropping wonders. However, whether you are a backpacker looking to “become a … [Read More its Good for You...]

Green Living

Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden

  Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden by Amy Lignor   Many are still dealing with that wintery mix Mother Nature just loves to toss down from the sky this time of year. Yet, that gardener living inside the soul – the one just dreaming of the sunny skies and lazy rainy days that are must-haves in order to grow the best vegetables possible – is already jotting down the facts, tricks and tips they need to know in order to make that … [Read More its Good for You...]