Cover image for Do what you love for the rest of your life : a practical guide to career change and personal renewal
Do what you love for the rest of your life : a practical guide to career change and personal renewal
Griffiths, Bob.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Ballantine Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
xxi, 308 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HF5384 .G75 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
HF5384 .G75 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Career
HF5384 .G75 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



If your job is more stressful than it is satisfying and you fantasize about leaving it for a career you truly love, here is the book for you! Bob Griffiths himself quit a fast-track Wall Street firm at age 50 and launched a passionate new career-a move that has brought him enormous happiness and a sense of personal renewal. Now in this illuminating, eminently practical new book, Griffiths shares the secrets of real career success with everyone who wants to do what they love best.

Do What You Love for the Rest of Your Life takes you step-by-step through the adventure of changing careers at any stage in life. Here are easy-to-follow exercises to help you tap into your hidden strengths and reach your full potential. Here, too, are concrete, result-oriented suggestions on reworking your resumé, developing a "financial freedom plan" that gives you long-term stability, even starting that small business of your dreams. Griffiths shows how to identify your passions, honor your calling, and find the courage to deal with change. The choice is yours to make.

Bob Griffiths advocates nothing less than a fundamental change in the way we measure success. Rewarding, inspirational, as uplifting as it is useful, and full of remarkable true stories of people who have undergone major change, this extraordinary book will help you find the courage to succeed in the ways that really make a difference. It's true: You can at last Do What You Love for the Rest of Your Life !

From the Hardcover edition.

Author Notes

Bob Griffiths is an award-winning playwright as well as a director, actor, and professional speaker who left a twenty-five-year Wall Street career in 1988 to do what he loves. His plays have been produced Off Broadway and in regional theatres around the country, and his speaking career has taken him from Toledo, Ohio, to Florence, Italy. He lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Stressed out and deeply in debt, Griffiths left a six-figure Wall Street position in 1988 to pursue his dream as a playwright, actor, and teacher. He sold his eighteenth-century mansion and downsized his luxury lifestyle, and he found happiness in the process. This roadmap shows how he and others walked away from prestigious but unfulfilling careers and successfully reinvented their lives. Theirs is an inward journey of facing their deepest fears, of disempowering money and empowering themselves, and finding out who they really are, beyond material possessions, ego, and status. There is the usual practical advice on resumes, job searches, how to resign, financial planning, and so forth, but what sets this book apart are the individual stories, the philosophical quotations, and how the author brings the spiritual element to bear on the process of finding one's vocation. This sage advice is a welcome breather from the consumptive go-go noise of most career and business diatribes. David Siegfried

Publisher's Weekly Review

Griffiths, a former Wall Street honcho who downshifted into a more satisfying career as a playwright and professional speaker, draws on his and others' experiences to provide a road map for change. He advises readers to commit to a career change, identifying doubts (often money-related) before undertaking the process of identifying a passion, perhaps by taking tests or seeing a career counselor. The new career, says Griffiths, should integrate the personal and career selves. Emphasizing the need for family discussions about such change, Griffiths suggests that children care less about economic status than reliable parenting. As for money, he suggests getting control of finances and analyzing expectations, recognizing, e.g., that children can get a good education at non-brand name schools. His advice ranges from the psychological ("maintaining a constructive attitude") to the practical (make a chart assessing the skills and abilities applicable to new career possibilities). Avoid burning bridges, he says, as networking works better than responding to job ads. Acknowledging the trade-offs, Griffiths concludes that "self-worth" is more important than "net worth." His book is hardly comprehensive the appendix refers to a host of resources, including the legendary What Color Is Your Parachute? And, of course, it recounts the success stories rather than the failures. Still, Griffiths's spiritual approach living the Golden Rule and recognizing that happiness "is inversely proportionate to expectations" offers wise counsel to those beginning such journeys. (On sale Dec. 18) Forecast: With his public speaking experience, Griffiths's five-city tour and radio interviews may compensate some for his relative anonymity; expect middling sales. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



WHY NOT YOU? A job should not become a life sentence. --Ronald L. Krannich We spend too much time at work not to be happy with the work we do. --Ed. C, age 62 EE Dan's Story It's difficult to highlight the most challenging, difficult aspects of my career change because so many issues have been part of my decision. I left the corporate world because there was not enough flexibility to allow me to be more involved with my family. An extremely long commute and frequent travel had combined to convince me that I was literally losing my soul--some essential part of me and my life that was vital to who I am. So it was not just the fraying of the connections with my wife and daughter that prompted this leap of faith, but a fraying of something inside me. And I was no longer willing to simply accept the belief that "that is just the way life is." I saw no viable alternative but to start out on my own, on my own terms. The emotional side of this has been very difficult for me--the self-doubt, at times the despair, the thinking I was crazy for making this move. Yet somehow I kept finding the courage to move forward and to do what I need to do to get there. I have never been so acutely aware of running up against my own personal shortcomings, and the fear that those shortcomings will do me in. And yet I have characteristics that I've used to compensate for some of those shortcomings, such as tenacity and resilience. And I have reached out to people like yourself who have been willing to help me. In some ways, this has been an exercise in trusting that the combination of my strengths and my shortcomings will balance out so that, on my own terms, I will succeed. Dan, age 43, married with a 4-year-old daughter, resigned from the human resources department of a Fortune 100 company in the fall of 1997. He started his own employee benefits consulting business in western New Jersey, and works out of his home. This is Dan's second major career change; at age 27 he left the ministry to enter the corporate world. You deserve it, you know. You deserve to be not stressed, frustrated, overworked, underappreciated, exhausted, exploited, and unfulfilled. You deserve more meaningful rewards for work than money. You deserve to be recognized as a vital human being, rather than treated as an expendable commodity. You deserve to succeed in a vocation that fills your soul, not survive in one that fills only your wallet. You deserve to feel better physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Your family deserves it as well. So . . . why not you? The only limit to the realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. --Franklin D. Roosevelt You can't steal second with your foot on first. --Anonymous Dan's story is typical of those collected for this book-- collected from men and women who, like Dan and me, found that we could no longer remain in a career, no matter how financially rewarding, that didn't also reward our insides. Like Dan, most of us experienced the subtle, gradual fraying of family connections, the awareness of losing some essential part of ourselves, the self-doubt, the fears, the gnawing financial concerns. But we also felt that, despite the fear and anxiety, we had no choice--that we had to leave our physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining jobs. As Karen E., 46, remarked: "There must be more to life than this." Some of us went to work for another employer; some of us went into business for ourselves. Dan quipped, "I started my own business so that I knew at least one person who would hire me." Some of us had clarity about our new vocation; some of us only knew that we had to quit what we were doing. Generally, the new vocations we want to get into pay less than the ones we want to leave. Indeed, our career-change survey shows that three-fifths of respondents make less than they did in their former jobs. So the majority of us have had to downshift economically to make our career moves a reality. Dan earns half what he made in his last position; I still earn less than half. The accompanying fear of economic insecurity at first paralyzed us, even in two-income households. It's far and away the greatest stumbling block in switching careers. We fully empathize with the enormity of such a decision, especially when children are involved. Yet we did it. We faced the fear, we talked openly and honestly with our spouses and families, we worked through it, and then we discovered a glorious paradox: By working through the anxiety, we discovered that we already had more than we needed. That is why, despite the downshifting, 75 percent of us are able to meet our household needs, and a third of us have money left over to spend on luxuries. We found that by letting go of the job, the big income, the title, the status, and even the house, if need be, we received in return the gift of freedom from economic insecurity. It is not easily come by, but it is decidedly worth all the angst we encounter getting it. As difficult and frightening as downshifting feels at first, the journey leads to rewards on many levels--practical, emotional, and spiritual. Sure, we hit bumps, potholes, and the occasional land mine along the way. But most of us have grown through the process. One bonus is that nearly all of us now are blessed with improved family relationships. Today, we experience happiness, satisfaction, and fulfillment in our chosen vocations and in our personal lives that we once only dreamed of. Downshifting wound up making us richer in the things that really count. It is a thread that runs through nearly all our testimonies. So if you are ready to join us on this wondrous, scary, exhilarating, and immensely fulfilling career-change pilgrimage, we offer you a message of hope, the knowledge that you are not alone, and the promise that you can accomplish this successfully. We are all here for you. So Why Not You? Hanging on to my own six-figure-income job involved compromise, inauthenticity, and lying (or stretching the truth). Although I worked with many fine people over the years, I frequently had to "make nice" with incompetent, egotistical, and downright brutal bosses, unreasonable clients, and untrustworthy coworkers. Conscientiousness and honesty didn't much matter; bringing in ever more business did. I traveled and entertained a great deal, so I was away from home at least two nights a week. I watched Wall Street ethics decline from "a handshake is a contract" in the 1960s to the winner-take-all, me-first, ethics-be-damned feeding frenzy of the 1980s. And I was unhappy. I was unhappy with what had happened to my profession, with my seeming inability to extricate myself from it, what was happening to my home life, and what was happening to my soul. I undertook my career change in 1988, at age 50. In the years since then, working environments have clearly worsened. Men and women now become stressed out, burned out, fed up, and downsized as early as their 30s. Regardless of the career, be it health care, engineering, social services, teaching, or Wall Street, employers demand ever-greater productivity from each worker without commensurate gains in compensation (other than stock options) or improvement in working conditions. This change is reflected in an informal survey I conducted. I asked men, women, and children to give me a spontaneous, one-sentence definition of work. A sampling of their replies includes these: "Work is what we do to earn money by using our skills." "Work is how I support myself and my family." "Work is where we spend most of our waking hours." "Work is where Mommy [or Daddy, or Mommy and Daddy] goes every day." Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines work as "Bodily or mental effort, exerted to do or to make something; purposeful activity; labor; toil." Not one of those surveyed (including the dictionary) defines work as something to be enjoyed, let alone loved. How truly sad. Why shouldn't work engage us on a deeper, more satisfying and gratifying level? Why shouldn't we be happy in what we do--look forward to each new day, regardless of the real-life problems that inevitably arise? What's your definition of work? Do you enjoy what it is you do? Love your job? What would you like your definition of work to be? Here is the first piece of writing for your notebook: Sit down, think carefully about what you want your career to be like, and write it out. Revise it until it reflects what you're seeking. Then type it (or print it neatly) and hang it over your desk at home, or by your mirror, and look at it every day. And then have faith that you will someday live your definition--if you are willing to do the necessary footwork and make the necessary trade-offs. I wrote my definition, and today I live it: "Work is what I do to be fulfilled as I earn money." Please note what takes precedence in the sentence: "Work is what I do to be fulfilled." The money comes second--but it does come. And please don't fall into the trap of giving up before you've begun, simply because you don't believe that you can do it or you can't afford it. You owe it to yourself and to your loved ones to begin the process. It will take you only as far as you believe it will. Excerpted from Do What You Love for the Rest of Your Life: A Practical Guide to Career Change and Personal Renewal by Bob Griffiths All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.