“Timing is everything.” At least that’s what I believe. Whether it comes to my career or my personal life, if the timing wasn’t right, it just wasn’t meant to be.
My reinvention has been a marathon, not a sprint, and just when I thought I was done, opportunity knocked on my door.
I turned 59 this March. I am a mother of two and have two beautiful grandchildren. I have lived in Riverhead almost all my life.
I am not embarrassed to share that I was a single mother on welfare at the age of 17. I decided that I wanted more for my daughter, which leads me to my first reinvention. I took a full-time job at an insurance company as a file clerk. I took the bus to work every day to make a better life for my daughter and me. The result: I got off welfare and was able to support myself and my child with no assistance.
That wasn’t enough for me. A few years later, still at the same company, a sales position opened up, which brings me to reinvention number two. Still a single mother with no car and no sales experience, I applied. I was given the opportunity for this position on a trial basis in an industry where men dominate. The result: after almost 40 years of service, I became one of the top-producing sales reps in the Northeast region for this company.
Which brings me to the present day and my current journey. Recently feeling like I’ve plateaued at my job, I was offered a position with the Judicial Title Insurance Agency to open and manage their new branch in Riverhead. All my years of hard work, constant determination and unwillingness to fail, my efforts were finally being recognized. When this opportunity arose in early December 2014, my first thought was, “Do I leave a Fortune 500 company for a privately owned one?” I gave it some thought and realized this is what I worked for my entire life.
I decided to accept this new career opportunity and I couldn’t be happier.
January 5, 2015, my new office officially opened in Riverhead with me at the helm. All my hard work has finally paid off! People have said to me, “You’re 58 years old, why would you do this now? You’re so close to retirement.” My answer, “I have a lot of life and fight left in me. I may be 58 but this new career choice has made me feel like I’m 38. I am rejuvenated.” I have always loved my job as well as giving back to my community with the numerous charity events I attend. This new career adventure has brought new life to all things I am passionate about.
One of my favorite quotes is by Lao Tzu: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” It’s been 40 years since I took that first step and all these years later, and at the ripe age of 59, I realize that I am not even close to my final mile.
This story originally appeared in the 2015 edition of Northforker 50+