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

For movies opening December 2, 2016

  OPENING THIS WEEK Kam's Kapsules Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun by Kam Williams For movies opening December 2, 2016     BIG BUDGET FILMS Incarnate (PG-13 for terror, profanity, disturbing images, intense violence, sensuality and mature themes) Horror flick about an unconventional exorcist (Aaron Eckhart) who meets his match while attempting to free the mind of an 11 year-old (David Mazouz) possessed by a … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Books

Volume 2 of Yes Sir, Yes Sir, 3 Bags Full! – You Do NOT Want to Miss This

  Volume 2 of Yes Sir, Yes Sir, 3 Bags Full! – You Do NOT Want to Miss This Book Review by Amy Lignor What began in an unforgettable Volume 1—living Jerry Hall’s story and dealing with the heart-wrenching issues of the Viet Nam* War—continues here. The action of battle, fraught with the unending horrors that the “unwanted veterans” dealt with, grows even more painful. And as war comes closer to an end, what should have been peaceful … [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

New Home Sales Jump in April

  New Home Sales Jump in April By Burt Carey Sales of new homes hit their highest rate since 2008 in April, according to the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau. April sales increased 16.6 percent over March figures, which correlates to a seasonally adjusted rate of 619,000 home sales projected for the year. The median price of those new homes was $321,000, the highest median price ever recorded. That’s up 9.7 percent … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Lifestyle

Inside WildAid

  Inside WildAid by Amy Lignor   Donations can be made. Time can be volunteered. There are a great number of charities, organizations and hard workers out there who strive with everything they have to save the animals of the world. The National Wildlife Administration, the World Wildlife Federation – these are just two leaders that help keep our beloved species’ on the map. There is also an organization whose sole mission is to end … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

Skeeter Boats Comes Up with Cure for Cabin Fever

  Skeeter Boats Comes Up with Cure for Cabin Fever By Craig Lamb   If you are overdosing on TV fishing shows, mindlessly flipping through tackle catalogs, or feeling down and don’t know why, then you are not alone. Count yourself among most of the fishermen in the entire country. We have cabin fever. It’s common this time of year when hunting and football overtake wetting a line on the list of weekend priorities. Or, it’s just plain too … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

The Best & Worst (So Far) of the 2016 NFL Season

  The Best & Worst (So Far) of the 2016 NFL Season by Amy Lignor     Okay…we’re almost dead center, folks, so it’s time to sum up the best and silliest actions and reactions that the 2016 NFL season has provided fans thus far.   Analysts are always yapping, and most likely nothing they say will actually come true. However, right now almost everyone is agreeing to the fact that Tom Brady has a score to settle. Yes, … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Charity Begins at Home

  Charity Begins at Home by Amy Lignor   Turning a blind eye is easy for some; preferred by others. But the fact is that the bad doesn’t become good – in any area – unless eyes are open wide to not only see what’s occurring, but also to gain the knowledge needed to stop the bad from getting even worse. Remarks are made about “other countries” and what they do wrong when it comes to the harming of animals for profit. However, in … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Exploring the Holidays Around the Globe

  Exploring the Holidays Around the Globe by Amy Lignor   Thanksgiving has been had. Games have been watched and the golden turkey has caused a great many belts to be loosened. So…here it comes!   From hanging the stockings on the chimney with care to the red-nosed reindeer who had to be there; from Santa heading down that chimney just right to lovely sleigh bells ringing softly in the night, the holiday season is a truly … [Read More its Good for You...]

Green Living

Forecasting Climate Change

  Forecasting Climate Change by Amy Lignor As with anything in this world, it depends on whose opinion or observations you trust as to just how bad climate change is becoming. As 2016 begins to wrap up, climate scientists, atmospheric physicists, chemists, oceanographers – you name it – no one can come up with any other explanation for climate change and the warming of our planet other than human activity. How fast is it happening? … [Read More its Good for You...]