On Not Feeling Brave!

Career Changes Revisited: guest blogger Boz Warnock shares her experience of moving overseas in later life…

© Katy Davis

When I moved to Singapore from London a year and a half ago at the age of 52, people kept telling me how brave I was.

It didn’t feel brave at all, it just felt like a chance to stop thinking that I would still be sitting in the same office for another 15 years.

As a teacher it is increasingly hard to get jobs when you are beyond your 30s – too expensive, too cynical… That can’t be good for anyone. I think my ex-colleagues are equally pleased to have a new face and perspective in their department although they were scared as well at first, and some thought I was completely mad.

Of course I was lucky that the chance came along, but I still had to make the decision to go for an interview, and it was unbelievably scary. Having to prepare for an interview after so long takes a lot of guts, I discovered. When I was offered the job I had to get into my car and drive around for half an hour before I could manage to break the news.

I am now incredibly happy in my new job, working far harder than I ever have before, but also so pleased to be able to reinvent myself to a certain extent. My daughter is only 12 so she is now having a chance to see people and places that I never even dreamed of when I was her age, so a large part of my big change was for her, even though it was a pretty big gamble – what if she hated every second of it? What if she didn’t make friends? But her life in Singapore is a dream compared to South London, and she is confident and independent in ways that would never have been possible. Do it!

[Boz Warnock]



Is This Really It?

Last summer I met a lady who had recently taken the plunge and given up her secure university post to not only start her own business, but to do this in a new country too. Like me this woman was in her fifties, and like me she was appalled at the idea that she could end her working life facing the same dreary commute, the same staff room politics, the same work-life struggles that she had endured for decades.

I started out with such high aspirations – no rat race for me, my life was going to be different.  This notion doesn’t make me special: for us baby boomers this was going to be our time, coming of age in a post flower-power world, the sixties behind us and glam rock and punk beckoning.

I vividly remember the pride I felt to be part of a generation that created Live Aid, which as it happens was on my son’s first birthday and I can still see him wearing nothing but a nappy as he rocked out to Queen and David Bowie in front of our tiny black and white TV. It seems fitting therefore that this blog launches in a month that saw Bowie (that master of reinvention who provided the soundtrack to so many of our lives) take his final curtain call.

Yet somehow here I am hurtling towards my own golden years with the realisation that resist as I might, the rat race got me – life has this habit of getting in the way for the best of us – but with the absolute conviction that it is not too late!  Like my new friend, I can embrace change, chuck in the soul-destroying monotony and take control of my future. This blog is one small step on that journey…