“To be somebody you must last.”
Ruth Gordon is probably best known for Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and Harold & Maude (1971). Most notably, she made these films while she was in her 70s!
She was born October 30, 1896 and left us August 28, 1985.
Ruth Gordon was an actress and a writer. I did not know that! But I did know she acted with the glamour pusses of her day. Her first big role was opposite Greta Garbo in Two-Faced Woman in 1941.
Many years ago I read she said something to the effect of “personality lasts longer than looks.” I swore I would never forget it, but I did. (If you find the exact quote, please post here.) But I have embraced the gist of it because she was timeless.
Garbo’s career lasted as long as her looks; Gordon’s career lasted her whole life.
In 1970 Natalie Wood named her the godmother to her firstborn Natasha Gregson Wagner. In the 70s she appeared on Rhoda, Newhart, Columbo, Taxi, and SNL.
HOW TO STAY RELEVANT
In our 50s, depending on career path, the ice grows thin. Our salaries are as big as our offices; younger people want what we have and owners realize they can save money by hiring them instead. As Chief Writer of an ad agency, I was told “You are a luxury we can no longer afford.”
There is nothing scarier than freelance or consulting in our late 50s and beyond. In south Florida, the job market (beyond basic retail or customer service) is nearly non-existent. It can feel like a wasteland for professional or creative types.
But I’ve developed some methods that work well for me.
Follow your passion – whether you get paid for it or not.
You are wise, you know things they don’t teach in schools. I’ve found it never fails; every time I donate skills (to individuals or organizations that represent a higher purpose) it comes back in good karma. Contacts are made and work comes in.
Write that book.
If you are connected on a spiritual level, everything happens for a reason. Last year I realized my freelance drought was an opportunity to write a book that would help others experiencing financial hardship.
Work came in as soon as I published the book. http://tinyurl.com/k9mgrmo
Release the money hungry 80s mentality.
Remember the days of the big salaries? I was making $92,000/yr. as a marketing writer when I got Lyme Disease. Those days are long gone. When I went freelance for the ad agency, they felt $40/hr. was fair; and that’s good money for Florida. But most of the time I charge $30/hr.; less if the task is more administrative than creative.
Remember the days when your employer reimbursed for all of your business-related expenses? Fuggedaboutit. Be grateful for the work. Recognize that the small companies that are willing to hire us – well, they’re struggling too. I’ve stopped asking for mileage, tolls and other reimbursements. It’s my way of saying “thanks for the work.”
It’s me working to help them grow their business.
Social media is free and it WILL NOT BITE YOU.
Actually, if you’re that afraid of it, just go away. You are thinking like an OLD person and there’s nothing I can say to change your mind.
A recent post … friend me, I’m Micki Suzanne on Facebook. I may ask how you know me, just say “from your blog.”
This week a project came in via Facebook; the “new client” is someone I worked with in 2000. The kids are growing up and starting their own companies! I am unspeakably honored that he remembered me and wanted me for this project.
Then again, I put myself out there. I am on Facebook like dog fur on my sofa. I’ve been on Facebook for years, but in the past 9 months I’ve been more about positive news, more intelligent environmentalism, only primo itty kitties, less political hissiness and fewer f-bombs.
And a touch of self-promotion – as much as I hate it. But I am working on some fun stuff that helps others.
For the record, Linked In is bullshit. Retired friends and long-lost acquaintances will ask to connect. Social awkwardness ensues as the savvy professional declines the request to mix silliness with actual services.
I love my Fort Myers Writers Meetup Group. I can relate to the people and we keep each other inspired. I also see professional relevance from the marketing end, but I haven’t gone there yet. I do everything for free.
Seven years ago I started a singles group with about 5 people; today we have 472 members.
If you don’t see a group you like, START ONE.
If you are driven, there is no such thing as 9 to 5. My hours are 24/7 because my work comes in via text, email and Facebook. I have no day off, and that’s ok.
Because every day is an opportunity to STAY relevant … like our hero Ruth Gordon.