Submitted by Janet G. Cornell
Q: What was your primary career and what did you love about it?
A: My primary career was as a court administrator (the executive leader or manager along with the presiding judge in a court). I loved interacting with people, judges, court staff and justice system representatives such as attorneys, prosecutors, defense attorneys and law enforcement, and enjoyed interactions with the court litigants and users. Dealing with these individuals involved powerful players, and elected officials. It was stimulating to work on complex operational issues, and to perform important work for our government – working in the judicial branch.
Q: When you retired, did you feel ‘finished’ or, for you, was there still something left to do?
A: When I retired, I knew I was NOT finished. I knew there was still a contribution I could make. I just knew I needed to retire to promote new personal and professional growth. Although I was officially eligible to retire, I had no intention of sitting back. In fact I had brainstormed my retirement using a mindmapping exercise for about two years prior to making the retirement decision and announcement. See attached picture of my actual mindmap. My target ‘in retirement’ was to make speeches and presentations, do consulting projects, and write articles for journals. And, to do some fun and leisure things like travelling and driving race cars. In fact I wrote an article on ‘personal reengineering’ for a professional journal, drove an Indy car and a NASCAR, and have completed consulting projects and accepted invitations for public speaking – both of them involving speaking. I just returned from speaking at an international conference in Sydney, Australia, and within the past 12 months have traveled around Arizona, the US, as well as Guam and Micronesia for court-based consulting and presentations.
Q: What inspires you and why?
A: Things that inspire me include learning the pieces of a puzzle when I consult in an organization. This requires the ability to absorb details and form opinions about information and data presented to me. This should be no surprise to me since my undergraduate college study was learning language and how the parts and pieces fit together. I am also inspired by the need to frame information and topics in a way that will both inform and motivate the listener or reader to decide to take action. When presenting I try to display personal enthusiasm, energy and motivation to ‘sell’ my topic, so that the listener is also enthused based upon what they learned.
Q: How does your unique set of experiences make a difference for the community in your work now?
A: Perhaps what makes a difference for the ‘community’ that I engage with (the courts and court systems with whom I consult or present) is both my direct court experience (39 years experience in actual roles and jobs similar to theirs), my ability to relate to them and listen to their comments, as well as my level of energy and enthusiasm. I truly think I can make a difference by listening, facilitating others’ talking or discussion of items, and then coordinating their thinking to solve their problems or issues.
Q: What’s your advice for boomers who are about to launch their own “second act”?
A: My advise would include the following: spend time thinking about what you like to do, and what you are good at doing; ask yourself whether or not you have the contacts to facilitate your future endeavor; consider the amount of and level of credentials or experience and the degree of stamina to try something different; brainstorm and plan out what your future identity will be (ex: a mindmap exercise); and, then just start and try the new or ‘second act.’ Be willing to take a bit of a leap and see where and how you land. As you leap and land, enjoy seeing how you will automatically apply your life long experiences and perspectives, and enjoy the ride.