This week I said goodbye to my 30 year career in corporate communications at one of the most beloved consumer food companies. I won’t tell you the name of this company, but suffice it to say that Andy Warhol’s painting made it even more famous many years ago. I actually have an original framed print signed by the artist himself when I did a PR program with him early on in my career. It hangs on the landing step at my home.
I remember the day I arrived at the company’s corporate headquarters in Southern New Jersey. It was November 1983. I remember it clearly. I arrived from New York City with my blue suit. It had a short-cropped jacket and a full skirt below the knee. My blouse was red and I wore a strand of pearls. I was ready for work in Marketing Communications. Ready to conquer the world and break the glass ceiling as they said in those days. There were IBM electric typewriters — no computers or mobile phones.
Over the years I climbed the corporate ladder, always reaching higher. Networking, mentoring, teaching, learning, sharing, building teams and watching them grow. I worked with four successive CEOs, I helped found and nurture the company’s Women’s Network and developed external and internal communications programs that continue today.
There were good times and bad times in my life during the three decades. I got married to M. I gave birth to my two children – A and D – and joined the ranks of working moms. I lost my dad to heart disease in the late 80s. After 24 years of marriage, I lost my husband at the end of 2007, after a valiant struggle with illness. And just a month ago, I lost my mom at 91 years of age.
My-o-my how times have changed.
For the past five years, I have been living a double life. Judy with a ‘y’ during the day at my corporate workplace and Judi with an ‘i” at night at home on the computer. Yes, during my countdown to 50 I started a little blog. And then the blog grew. And then I turned 50 and started the blog you are reading today. Blogging has indeed become a big part of my life, as have all of you — my blog readers.
In November, The Huffington Post recognized my blog as one of their “7 Favorite Blogs For Post 50 Women.” A few weeks ago my blog won a 2013 Webby Award Honoree in the Personal Blog Category. And just recently, a publisher came calling to tell me that they loved my writing and that I should submit some of my posts for publication in their journal or perhaps a book. I am very proud of my little blog and look forward to nurturing my community even more during my life after 50. With millions of boomer women across the globe – the sky’s the limit for the JudiBoomergirl brand.
It’s time for me to spread my wings and take off in a new direction. I do hope to write a memoir about my journey these past five years – it’s been quite a transformation since losing my spouse, selling my house and emptying out my nest.
I hope to spend time traveling – my first stop is France with my two favorite people – my children A and D. Plus, there’s also my new partner and fellow planner L – “your mom was so glad you met a new fella,” my aunt told me the other week.
And there is also my condo on the corner at the Jersey shore where I will spend the summers. I bought this little condo almost five years ago as a place to go to grieve and renew after losing my spouse. The ocean is a special place to stop, to breathe and to be.
NYC is calling me too…will I become a New Yorker again? Maybe yes, maybe no. I am headed that way this weekend, back to the American Society of Journalists and Authors Conference, where last year I won a scholarship for my writing.
When one door closes, another one opens.
I am officially retired from my 30 year corporate career as of April 30th. It’s time for my second act. I am a blogger and a writer now. I am a consultant too — ready and willing to share all my learning with other companies who may need my communications help.
My champagne glass is full, as is my big bathtub. The 6:00 a.m. alarm clock is in the off position. But I’m keeping the coffee pot brewing so that my coffee is nice and warm when I sit down to read The New York Times
Ooh, ooh, ooh, is it Thursday yet? Thursday is the Style Section and the Home Section. How I love them both. Better brew another pot of Joe. Life after 50 is going to be just grand!
Judi! Congratulations on all your successes! I’m excited to know about your blog and really look forward to following you!
All the best to you :)))
Thanks Gillian. Glad to have you as a blog reader. Welcome.
Congratulations on your new directions – how exciting!
Thanks Nancy. So far, I am loving retired life. The flexibility to blog whenever I want and do consulting is going to be wonderful.
Dear Judi, congratulations and thank you for your blog! I enjoy your writing style and look forward to reading about your adventures as you enter this next chapter. I found your blog a few weeks ago – searching the web for insights on why I no longer felt as passionate about my marcom career (similar to you) when for 30 years it’s been the driving force in my life. I’m still not sure I’m calling it ‘retire’ because 65 is more than a decade away, but I know I’m ready to work less and play more; to put my energies into people and projects that I care about. I’m spending this coming year putting the wheels in motion to end my formal career next April. I know your blog insights will be an inspiration to me as I plan my ‘encore’. All best wishes!
Rebecca, thanks for your sincere note. I also consider this next career my second act. I am not leaving the workforce, I’m just retiring from my 30+ year first career. If not now, then when…that’s how I look at thing at this point in my life. I hope I can continue to be an inspiration and help to you. Reach out if you ever want to talk.
Judy: Good luck to you in your virtual retirement. I’m envious! All the best! Janet
Thanks Janet. We’ll have to regroup sometime soon. I know you are on your second act as well. Hope you are enjoying your new job. And yes, this is going to be an adventure into consulting and full-time blogging.
Congrats Judy on your retirement. Whenever you head out my way, be sure to call. I also started a second career in developing young people, I have authored two books on career development and is teaching at HK universities.
Adolf, how nice to hear from you. Congrats on your second career. SOunds like you are enjoying your next act. I will let you know if I am ever in Hong Kong…maybe when I start a line of JudiBoomergirl clothing! All the best to you.