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BOOK REVIEW: Rethink Your Career – In your 40s, 50s and 60s by Joanna Maxwell

| 11 August 2017 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Rethink Your Career – In your 40s, 50s and 60s by Joanna Maxwell

ABC Books
1 June 2017
Paperback, $32.99
Reviewed by Natalie Salvo

Non-Fiction/Self-Help & Personal Development


The pension age continues to rise and the idea of one job for life no longer exists. This means that we need to get savvy about our careers and get comfortable with the idea of reinvention. But these notions can be difficult for some people because you’re venturing into the unknown and often into rather risky territory. Rethink Your Career – In your 40s, 50s and 60s is here to help people navigate this difficult territory in the form of an informative and practical resource by work reinvention expert Joanna Maxwell.

I wrote this handbook for people who are looking to reinvent their working life so it can take them through their 50s, 60s and beyond. I wrote it for people who want to take charge of planning the coming decades in the next stage of their life…
The interviews, advice and exercises are tailored to meet your needs and circumstances. And I am 59, and have lived, worked and researched this demographic. I get it.

This guide is well-written and researched by someone in the know. Maxwell has successfully held several different careers including working as a lawyer, journalist, trainer and career coach. In this volume she uses her own experience as a case study as well as drawing on the experiences of many of her clients to help readers know how others managed to do it. Ray Martin writes the foreword to this book and is one of Maxwell’s champions because he describes how he realised his passion for photography after a long and illustrious journalism career. One thing that is apparent from all of the above examples is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this problem and that everyone must develop their confidence in order to forge their own unique ways forward.

If you believe the newspaper stories or the common portrayal of old people on television, you might think that we are all similar, but it isn’t so. One of the things we know about aging is that people become more individual, not more alike, as they age. So this is a time for creating your own pathway, for building a life that works for you.

A good starting point for the older job-seeker is to work through the exercises described here. Maxwell gets readers to compile their own mind maps where they have to consider what elements would contribute to a “satisfying” life as well as getting them to reflect on their working identity, particularly in the context of the three different life arenas: learning, working and rest/relaxation. There are sections designed to get readers to consider the things they enjoyed doing as a child and to get them to write things in their non-dominant hand because the latter exercise can help capture things that had been deeply tucked away in memories. By rediscovering the things that previously gave us joy and happiness, one can then utilise these as a starting point or steps to leverage and build upon as a way forward in a new career or in starting your own business.

Maxwell covers a lot of different ground in this book and it builds in a logical and linear way. There are sections called: reimagine, review, research and redesign. Maxwell is practical and forthright in her advice and tells people they should research and interview those working in their chosen profession and shadow these individuals as a way of getting a taste or a feel for a new job. This is important to gain a realistic perspective because what we imagine a role to be like and the reality of it can be vastly different.

As with any tool you use to navigate your career (including this book), assessments are only helpful if you are prepared to take them on board, reflect on them and really do the work needed to integrate the results and apply them to your career search.
You will also have to take into account the other things we look at in this book, such as your interests, your needs from work, your beliefs about yourself and what’s possible for you and, of course, your values.

Rethink Your Career is an accessible and informative guide that can be used to navigate the rough waters of career change in a period that was once considered the closing chapters of your career. Maxwell proves that times have changed and offers research and case studies which prove that life is too short for people to throw in their towels so quickly or to phone it in when it comes to their work. Rethink Your Career ultimately provides some practical advice and compelling food for thought for those people seeking to change and work in more fulfilling careers.

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

About the Author ()

Natalie Salvo is a foodie and writer from Sydney. You can find her digging around in second hand book shops or submerged in vinyl crates at good record stores. Her website is at:

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