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Rethink your career in your 40s, 50s and 60s

By Joanna Maxwell

Mentor, career and business start up consultant, Joanna Maxwell’s book is well worth the read.  For those looking to reinvent themselves and change career, or those looking  for work after being made redundant or anyone looking to start a new business, this book gives you the tools to discover, map out and realise your goals as a mature-age worker. It helps you to get out of a rut and move forward with confidence, but don’t expect it to be easy.

The book has three sections, the first is about wildly reimaging your future, the second focuses on reviewing what you have come up with, matching it to reality and developing some steps forward. The third is about research and maintaining your momentum. 



The book is very well researched and provides a range of exercises to help you get creative about your future.  These exercises encourage readers to open themselves up to new ways of thinking and new perspectives so they can start to get clear about the future.  They help you explore your strengths and get a better understanding of your skills.  However, Maxwell also encourages deep engagement with your past to find links between the past and the present and to rediscover aspects of your identity that you may have lost touch with but that maybe critical to finding a new path.

The book is full of case studies that are engaging, and in some instances, inspiring. I like the way Maxwell directs her clients’ attention to the essential things that make them happy at work.  The exercises she includes act as firelighters, or light bulb moments that can help to map out a way forward by sometimes bringing long hidden passions to light or just by focusing attention on what’s most important.  I particularly enjoyed the story of Ahmed who was a cook on a mining site and wanted a new direction.  He told Joanna that from a young boy he wanted to build space stations. While this dream was not a feasible, they explored what lay behind this desire.  They discovered it was his love of building something from scratch and coupled with his love of plants and nature, Ahmed reinvented himself as a landscape gardener. 

The book is testament to the idea that where you think you want to go maybe not where you end up but through a process of reflection and deep engagement with life and work issues  you will likely be just where you need to be.