After roughly three decades into a career, Eric Vogelsang, director of the Center on Aging at California State University, San Bernardino, says many Gen Xers may feel that, if they are going to make a change, it’s now or never. “Thirty years [in the workforce] it’s been a long time,” he said. “And I think part of that might be because they saw this as their last chance to do it.”
That was the case for Rosenmiller, whose transition to nursing was the fulfillment of a life goal for 30 years. “When I was in college, I was pre-med at first,” he says. “Then I took a pottery course and loved it and eventually transferred to art school. It’s kind of a payback: I’ve always loved drugs, and it’s come full circle.
Rosenmiller feels that by entering the field at the age of 50, he will give himself good time to make sure his new title pays off. “I wish I could work a while to take advantage of this,” he said. “I wish I could work into my late 60s, if not my 70s.”
Likewise in New Jersey, USA, Jeremy Puglisi also took advantage of this moment in his life to pursue his dreams. After more than 20 years as a high school English teacher, he resigned to make his hobby a full-time job.
While still teaching, he and his wife, Stephanie Puglisi, started a podcast about camping called The RV Atlas. Unexpectedly, it took off, and the pair landed a contract to write a book. “It was just one of those stories where our side jobs became more profitable than our day jobs,” said Puglisi. “In February 2020, a few weeks before the pandemic, I told my principal that I would finish the school year, but I would not be coming back next year.”
For Puglisi, the change was not smooth. Weeks after he gave his notice, the manufacturer and the RV business that supports the podcast shut down, and “it feels like the worst time on planet Earth”, Puglisi said. “I wake up at night sweating. I thought, ‘how embarrassing, I have to go and ask for my teaching job back’.” When the main sponsor called to cancel their contract, “I felt like my whole world was falling apart”.
Luckily, that fear didn’t last long. Things turned around when people started road trips and camping in record numbers during the pandemic. “I think I had a nightmare leaving my teaching career behind and it was a very uncertain month,” said Puglisi. “Then it felt like a coincidence, the timing was right, and we were busier than ever.”
The couple have now published several well-performing books, but Puglisi said it took him a while to feel his career pivot was validated in the eyes of family and friends. “I think almost everyone looks at me like I’m crazy when I say I’m quitting a stable and successful teaching career,” he said. “Being 43, and suddenly saying, ‘Okay, now I’m a podcaster’… sounds like believability.”