Marc Miller | Reinventing Your Career and Yourself

Too many people are unfulfilled in their current job, says Marc Miller. Or they’ve been downsized and otherwise mistreated in the corporate world. Or they’ve discovered that they can’t afford to retire and dread the thought of continuing their current career. 

In all these cases, there are opportunities to do work you love on your terms. You don’t have to settle anymore.

Those “dream jobs” are out there – you just have to know where to look and be willing to do the research to find the one that’s right for you. 

And you can make the transition now so you don’t have to go another day to a job you don’t like.

It’s all about shifting how you think about work. Marc goes into details on that, including…

  • Occupations that are ripe for reinvention (that you wouldn’t expect)
  • A strategy for matching your life goals to a fulfilling new job
  • The mindset you need to reinvent your career – and yourself
  • How ignorance of this mindset can sabotage your new career path
  • And more

Listen now…

Mentioned in this episode:

Transcript

Giuseppe Grammatico: Welcome to the Franchise Freedom Podcast. I’m your host Giuseppe Grammatico, your franchise guide, and today we have a very special guest. Today we’re talking with Marc Miller. Marc is the founder of Career Pivot, which helps those in the second half of life design careers that they can grow into the next 30 years. Marc authored the book Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide For the Second Half of Life published back in September of 2019. Marc is a recovering engineer, a multipotentialite and a professional career changer and has made six career pivots over the last 35 years. Marc is also the podcast host of the award-winning Repurpose Your Career Podcast. You can learn more about Marc, Career Pivot and the Repurpose Your Career Podcast by visiting careerpivot.com. And we’ll include that in the show notes. I’m really excited to be speaking with Marc, learning a little bit more about what Marc’s been up to. Marc, welcome to the Franchise Freedom Podcast. Marc Miller: Well, thank you. It’s great to be on your podcast. Giuseppe: Very excited for this call. I know we had some time to chat earlier. We have a, you know, a lot of similarities in what we do. So wanted to just to kind of kick it off for our audience, you know, fill us in a little bit, you know, we always ask about your background. How did you get into what you’re doing here at Career Pivot? And you know, what did that journey look like?

A Journey of Multipotentiality

Marc: Well, I was like, all good baby boomers when I went to college. I graduated from college in the late 70s. And I went to work for the Borg, I mean, IBM, where I spent 22 years wandering around, all of them in Austin, Texas. I probably had four careers within IBM. And then in 99 the screwed me of my pension. I gave them the single finger salute and said goodbye. And I went to work for a successful tech startup Semiconductor and we were bought out by the sister of the Borg, Lucent. And which, for those of you who, like Giusepee, in New Jersey certainly knows about Lucent. They were huge Bell Labs, and they blew up. And I left and then in 2002, July 11, I’m a big-time cyclist that came down a hill. I turned into a blind turn and hit a Toyota Corolla head on it 50 miles an hour. I totaled the car and my bicycle, spent five days in the trauma center. I tore my knee, I broke a hip, I dislocated shoulder broke a bunch of ribs, broke the clavicle, but I had no internal injuries and no brain injuries I’m willing to admit to. They had me walking on crutches in three days. I was back on a bike in 10 weeks flying back to China in four months, and I flew right smack into the middle of the SARS epidemic in Guangdong Provence. Yes. Just like what’s going on in Wo Han happened in Shenzhen and Guangdong Province back in 2002. And that was what I refer to as where my WTF moments. Why am I still doing this? My first tech startup left us debt-free. I then went off and taught high school math for a couple of years at inner-city high school. Found I couldn’t do that and stay healthy. I did a one year stint doing corporate development for the Jewish Community Association of Austin. Rather interesting growing up in New Jersey, I grew up in an entirely Jewish community, I’m not Jewish. So being a non-Jew, being the face of a Jewish organization is interesting. And then I got lured into another tech startup LifeSize Communications, which was the first high definition video conferencing. And I worked for four years and I joke the fact that I worked for a sociopath. And when I left I said, I’m not doing that anymore, but I look at that time and I was looking what was going to happen to all these baby boomers. I started looking around for books. And the answer was, oh, we’re all going to retire. So why should we care? And the reality is 80% of my generation can’t retire because they don’t have any money. And that’s when Career Pivot was formed. I published the first edition of Repurpose Your Career. The first one was a practical guide for baby boomers in 2013. We’ve just published the third edition. I’m now, I’ve launched a membership site, helping people kind of walk through do the mindset shifts, because by the way, most of us are probably going to work into our 70s and it’s probably not going to be a full-time job, which means we have to ship. I claim I was raised to be an employee to go work for a father-like company and I was supposed to go work for them for 30 and 40 years and I was supposed to be able to in my 60s or 50s, ride off into the sunset and retire, and they moved my Cheese, right? You know, what we’re doing now is helping people shift and shift their mindsets, and going, Okay, what do I really want to go do? Because, like, my corporate employers not going to take care of me anymore, which is the belief system I had. Giuseppe: Right. That’s a great point. And that’s a, there’s definitely as you mentioned, that shift in mentality, right? It’s, I graduate from college, obviously, if you went to college, you have your major, you work for a big company, and that’s it. You kind of, you work there 30, 40, 50 years and you retire. So I know that in what I do, I see so many people changing careers, with either within jobs, within the same company or just changing companies. So yes, I definitely see a lot of movement and what’s funny and we, I’m sure experienced the same thing, is there’s a ton of information online, right? There’s more information than there’s ever been, which I believe causes more confusion. So correct me if I’m wrong, they need someone like yourself to really help them coach them through the process. Not that the, you know, a lot of the information’s out there, but what do I do with it? And then secondly, there’s the accountability factor. Would you agree there?

Navigating Through MSU

Marc: Oh, yeah, I have a whole chapter in my book called on MSU disorder. And MSU stands for mix stuff up. We, whenever we don’t know, we tend to fill the void. That was stuff we just make up. And if you, and one of the challenges is for those of us in our 50s and 60s, we very often think that we’re all alone with these problems. You know, I just got laid off. My company just got merged. The one big one I see right now is private equity buying up small, medium, small and medium businesses and kicking the entire executive team out. And going I’m the only one with this problem. And the answer’s no, you’re not. There are a lot of people just like you. And, you know, right now there’s an Urban Institute study that was done over the last 20 years that says, between the ages of 50 and 54, there’s a 50% chance that your career will be disrupted. And only about 10% of those will recover. So there is, you know, where we thought we are riding along and things are going smoothly, and everything and I don’t have to worry and the answer is if you’re getting in your late 40s and early 50s you got to take control because you need a plan B. And the only one that you can rely on is yourself. And if you think differently, you must be smoking something and yes, you are inhaling, and you better be inhaling in a state where it’s legal. So it’s, I’ve got a number of blog posts. I’ve had a chapter in my book on creative destruction. It is the fact that there is so much stuff happening in industry. I mean, just look what the iPhone has done in the last 12 years. You know, look at the industries that destroyed. We used to have things called maps. Certainly, I’m glad I don’t work for a company that makes desktop phones anymore. The classic example, look what Amazon is doing. You know, it’s and all of this is accelerating. You know, thank God I don’t work for Sears. Right, the other retailer. And so it’s starting looking out saying, Okay, if I’m going to work into my 70s, and most of us will, will some of us want to continue working because I don’t want to retire like my dad did. And or two, for 80% of those in the baby boomer generation, you’re not gonna be able to retire because you don’t have enough money. So looking at what do I want to keep doing, one of the biggest challenges I see is the fact that when many of us started our careers, we became actors. We played roles. We become good at those roles. I became a geek that could speak and I was really good at it. And then I hit my 50s and suddenly staying in character became exhausting. Because if you met me in person and watched me, I’m a phenomenally good public speaker. I’m, you know, you put me in a networking event, I can work the room with the best. I appear to be an extrovert. I got paid a lot more money to be an extrovert. I’m a big-time introvert. When I walk offstage, I’m exhausted. Well, what I could do in my 30s and 40s is really different from what I can do now. By the way, I’m 63. and I’m really fit. And I can’t do what I used to do. And that’s a real challenge because one of the things you get, you know, this is one thing I see from doctors and lawyers of where they say, I don’t want to do this anymore. And they go but you’re so good at it. You make so much money. Why would you want to stop? In other words, the messaging is all the exact opposite of what you need to hear. Giuseppe: Yes, I agree 100%. Marc: Right. And if I can put you in with a bunch of like-minded souls, and they’re all going oh, I made a lousy decision 20 years ago. Do I have to keep on doing this? I use the classic example. I use the Birkman Assessment to pick people’s personalities apart. Well, I did it on an anesthesiologist. And one thing came out was he likes lots of variety. He doesn’t like being told what to do. He loves being outside. By the way, what does the anesthesiologist do? Sit in a dark operating room, take orders from a surgeon and sit there for hours at a time monitoring stuff. Yeah, I can see why you’re miserable. Giuseppe: Right. They’re not in line with what they truly want. I hear that every day. So I agree. Marc: Right? And so it’s in, when we hit our, you know, as I refer to as the second half of life, we’ve made choices that have been, would have made us successful, but they weren’t very good choices. And so if you’re going to work for another 25 years do you really want to keep doing what you’re doing? And it’s kind of like right now, we talked before, and I live in Mexico, right outside of Guadalajara. And, by the way, the average temperature here is 72 degrees year-round. Giuseppe: Yeah, don’t rub it in. Marc: It’s rough. And, but we’ve gotten rid of all our stuff. I mean, we’ve downsized twice. And I can’t tell you the number of folks who I talked to who say, I can’t get rid of my stuff. So it’s, well, our kids sometimes have it right, the whole minimalist movement. You know, society tells us that we should want more stuff, we should do more stuff and but yeah, Giuseppe: It’s, you’re right. It comes down to a mindset, right? It’s, I’ve talked to in the past physicians And they feel well, I, I have the title and there’s nothing wrong obviously with being a physician, but I feel that’s all I can do. There’s no other doors that can open for me because I work so hard and paid so much money to be a doctor, to be a physician. So, and we talked about just, you know, various mindsets of Okay, well, you know, what is your goal, money aside? What are your goals? And we start talking about, okay, these are your goals that you know, so if these are your goals, let’s work kind of reverse engineer work in reverse. How do we get there? So what are you looking for? And then and then how do we get there? They’re not, I want to be a physician and will get me to my goals? Let’s kind of you know, work in reverse order. So this has been great and I’m glad you’re saying it. So it’s not you know, at minimum, it’s the two of us. I always, you know, say jokingly that are saying very similar things. So this has been great. Obviously, you’ve been through the career transition process. You know, you’ve changed careers, mindsets. I mean, you’ve even changed countries multiple times from our previous conversation. So, you know, someone that is looking to make the career transition. We kind of talked about some struggles and what’s holding them back. So do you have two or three solid pieces of advice for that person? So that person that may be stuck at their job miserable, you know, has that long two-hour commute every day. What would be your top two or three pieces of advice to that person to kind of get started?

Career Pivot Key Advice

Marc: Sure. One of the things I always claim is people who are working for 25 years. You have a lot of big data. You have a lot of experience. When have you been the happiest? And when have you been the most miserable? And why? I claim very often, it’s more important who we work with and the environment than what we do. In other words, I can give you a great job, put you with a lousy boss, a lousy team, don’t reward you, and you’ll be miserable. I can give you a job that you really don’t like, but put you with a great team, great boss, reward you, you know what? You’ll be okay. So when have you been okay in your career, and why? Second is start building the team around you that are going to help you, which is your spouse, your kids, your friends. One of the key pieces is if you have a bunch of negative ninnies around you, get them out of your life. Most of us, when we try and make these decisions, we try and make them inside of our own head. And inside of our own head is a very dark place. And, you know, I talked about before its, that’s when we suffer from MSU. We make stuff up. So start looking at what do you really, what’s the environment you want to be in and then start at actually go talk to people and find out what it’s really like, and not what you think it’s gonna be. And the classic example, when I went off to teach high school math, I said there’s a shortage of math teachers, they’re gonna want me, I’m an engineer. I’ve done this for adults in 40 different countries, they’re going to want me and you know what? No, they didn’t. They didn’t want any guy over 40. We don’t do what we’re told. I have more funny stories for my two years of teaching high school. And so it’s get the facts. And by the way, it’s probably going to take you longer than you think. And we came up with the term pivot because it’s usually an incremental process. If you still have kids you need to put to college and I can’t tell you the number of 60-year-olds I know who have kids still in college. You’re going to have to do it in an incremental fashion. So if I suddenly said I’m an engineer, and I want to go be a pastry chef, I think you better start thinking differently if you want to maintain your income. But if you suddenly said, hey, let’s do this in increments. Maybe I can become an engineer at a bakery company, a big food service company or, and then start working my way in. And, you know, if, you know, I was gonna buy a franchise or start a business, go get help and get people to say, okay, who’s done this before me and how the hell did they do it, right? It’s just it’s doing it from knowledge and not what you make up inside of your own head. Giuseppe: Yes, and talking to people just as you mentioned, is my big takeaway and what I advise people. Talk to people that have done it. To your point, there are people that want to dive into just say, a pastry business. You know, why not? You know, you know, I guess another option possible would be keeping your job and doing it on the side. Maybe a more of just for parties instead of a full-time storefront and kind of easing your way in. And we talked to people all the time, you can start out with a side business where the risk is much less the outlay is much less and you don’t need a retail or a retail location. So yeah, this has been great. And when people, I’m assuming based off of your last example, when people do, you know, meet or speak with you and kind of go through the process, you discuss all options, correct? So whether it’s keeping the job or even entrepreneurship, you cover all aspects of that.

Entrepreneurship Might Not Be For Everyone

Marc: Oh, yeah, because not everybody’s meant to be an entrepreneur. Some people. I mean, I’ve got a number of folks in my online community who are in their 60s who are doing portfolio careers, ie, they’re doing three and four or five things and piecing things together. One of the things that I’ve done about 500 of these, what I call my career pivot evaluations. It is amazing how different we all are. And so is there one cookie-cutter solution that will fit everyone? And the answer is no. It’s a matter of it, and a lot of it is the baggage we carry, the people we have around us, the perceptions we’ve built up about ourselves and start breaking those down and start working through it. You know, I’ll use the example I’ve got a guy in my online community right now who’s been on my podcast, he’s written some blog posts. He got hit with what I call the double whammy. Both his industry and his profession were dying. He was the executive director of Minnow Media, the publishing arm of the Mennonite Church. So publishing is a dying business, traditional publishing, and every single major religious denomination in the US is in decline. So, as he says, he got tired of laying, after 12 years, he got tired of laying off his friends. And he started, he’s working through a business right now helping people self publish. He doesn’t quite know the services he’s going to offer but he’s kind of stepping in and not making stuff up and getting out and talking to people and going, Okay, what services do people need and what are they willing to pay for it? And how do I find those people? That’s not a simple thing to do. And so we’re helping them do that. Giuseppe: That’s great. Now, this has been very helpful and I hope the audience feels the same. And, you know, I want to thank you for your time, Marc. We are speaking with Marc Miller, founder of Career Pivot. Marc, you know, I guess, can you walk us through so someone that’s listening in potential new client reaching out to you, how do they reach out to you and, you know, what would that process look like? Marc: Okay, go to careerpivot.com. You can, up at the top of the screen, you can find the community. You’ll also find a bunch of other places. You can sign up for my waiting list. I open up the online community about every two months. I bring in people in cohorts, so they don’t feel like they’re all alone in doing it. At that point, I’ll usually reach out and ask people, I interview them because in my career I’ve developed curriculum in 40 different countries, and one of the things I’ve learned is no matter who I think the audience is, I’m always wrong. And so one of the things I’ve discovered in I got about 15 members right now, about half of them over 60 and a third are over 65. And so you can come in, we’ll talk, we’ll determine whether this is the right thing for you. And right now, what I’m looking for is people who are willing to come in, participate, and more importantly, be helpful to others. Giuseppe: Sounds great. Well, Marc, I want to thank you for your time today. This is a, you know, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. And I’m sure we could be talking all day. So we will include all your information in the show notes. So if anyone would like to reach out to you, they have the website, they can just click right on there. Marc, thank you again. I really appreciate your time and look forward to speaking again. Marc: Okay, thank you very much. Great to be on your podcast.