What’s Next by Fran Lewis


Imagine walking into work one day and being told that you are no longer needed. That your job does not require a human to handle it and although you might be an auto mechanic, electrician, painter or even a teacher you have been replaced by a computer, drone or even a robot. What would you do if you had to start all over again? What would you do if you had to do something else with your life?

You are told that your position no longer exists and that many others have also been phased out due to budget cuts. Computers can do your job faster and younger people have more drive and energy. Your boss states that if you wish to remain in the company you will have to take a pay cut and a demotion in position. A corporate lawyer who is not a partner is offered a job as a paralegal. A Registered Nurse is offered a job as an aide. But, what if the decision was in your hands and you could decide on any career you wanted–even though you are older: what would you do? Where would you look and how would you go about beating out others who might be younger but do not have your knowledge and experience?

Thinking about it, if I had to start over again I guess I might consider going into another field other than education. The way things are going you never know if teachers are going to remain in the classroom or if children might learn more online, from online teachers and or from some form of artificial intelligence. You just never know when you might have to start your life again. Your company, as companies have done in the past, may outsource to other countries, leaving workers here unemployed. Some might even find that their jobs are no longer needed, that others can do more than one task, forcing you to have to move to another area, another company or apply for unemployment.

Forget that I retired early because my mom had Alzheimer’s. Forget that I decided to go into another career as an author, interviewer and editor of a magazine. Before choosing another career I might have to be trained in the new field as well as research the requirements, job availability and age requirements, if there are any. Of course, working for someone much younger might prove uncomfortable as you try to fit into a company where most people are under 40. It might create situations that at times alienate (for example, during times when workers socialize before and after working hour)s. As an educator I worked with people of all ages and found that in some cases the younger teachers were in their own group and the older, middle range not as much. So, what would I do right now if I decided that I wanted another career, had to go back to work in order to make ends meet or just because I wanted to do something other than review books, do radio or my magazine? Good question! I was recently told that I have a great memory for facts and information by an author who I was interviewing who said I recalled more facts about his book and understood the deeper meaning. I would love to do research for a medical company. I would love to learn more about forensic science. Starting over again would be hard for anyone, depending on the reasons. What about if you are forced to move to another state or country for health reasons or because your job insists you work in another area of your company?

Think about this the next time you go to work and realize that things are changing. Maybe people are being forced into early retirement. There might be talk of a company take-over or, worse, the company is going under. What would you do if you had to start over again? What obstacles do you think you would face? How would you overcome them?


Fran Lewis: Fran worked in the NYC Public Schools as the Reading and Writing Staff Developer for over 36 years. She has three masters Degrees and a PD in Supervision and Administration. Currently, she is a member of Who’s Who of America’s Teachers and Who’s Who of America’s Executives from Cambridge. In addition, she is the author of three children’s books and a fourth that has just been published on Alzheimer’s disease in order to honor her mom and help create more awareness for a cure. The titles of her new books are Memories are Precious: Alzheimer’s Journey; Ruth’s story and Sharp as a Tack and Scrambled Eggs, Which Describes Your Brain? Fran is the author of 11 titles. Her 12th title: In Her Own Words is in final edits.

She was the musical director for shows in her school and ran the school’s newspaper. Fran writes reviews for authors upon request and for several other sites. You can read some of her reviews on Ezine.com and on ijustfinished.com under the name Gabina. Here is the link to her radio show www.blogtalkradio.com, Fran is a member of Who’s Who of America’s Educators and Professionals and is the editor of MJ Magazine.

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10 thoughts on “What’s Next by Fran Lewis

  1. Kenneth Weene

    My own major disruption came when I burned-out as a psychologist and moved to Arizona. What to do with myself? Fortunately, I didn’t have to worry so much about money, but I did have to find meaning. Luckily, I had my very first vocational love waiting for me, writing. Boy, has that been a wonderful rebirth.

  2. John B. Rosenman

    You raise an important question, Fran. What will you do when your job vanishes or implodes? This happened to me when half the staff of my English department was fired — oh, excuse me, not renewed. I was out of work for over a year, tried various short-term jobs, including a cook and busboy and DOER OF ALL THINGS in a 24 hour a day restaurant. Not for me! Then I landed a job teaching in a HBCU. It’s a terrible feeling to learn you’re not needed anymore, especially if a family is dependent on you. In my case, technology didn’t render me useless or obsolete. I read once that the average person changes major jobs or careers four times in their lifetime. With me, writing was always my center when I wasn’t teaching or serving on those darn committees.

  3. Kathleen Ball

    I was a bank teller when the first ATM machines came out. The replaced a teller window with the machine and we were horrified. No one used the darn thing. but it did replace a teller position and put more work on the rest of us.
    My husband had been with the same company most of his adult life. They switched the location of the accounting and we moved to Texas. It is rare for someone to stay with the same company.
    I really enjoyed your piece Fran

  4. fran

    One of my family members was let go about 2 years ago the reason being the person needed his salary for his soon to ex wife’s alimony. Needless to say with 3 kids and one going off to college things became tight really fast . Resumes sent and having to restart over again he became disheartened who is going to hire someone my age he,kept saying. Three college degrees and over 20 years in the field it was hard. That is what triggered writing this piece . Thank you for sharing your comments. Fran

  5. James Secor

    Sometimes I wish I’d continued as an electrician rather than returning to school, pushing myself to fulfill the middle class urge-to-education and prove I could, indeed, accomplish something to my father. I only got the education; only one in the family. But jobs have been scarce and not long lasting. As an electrician, I’d have been continuously employed and richer. I was due to be fired via political pressure when I had corruption in VR that went all the way to the governor’s office; I beat the rap and found a job; teaching lit, writing and drama in China. A useful use of my doctorate, I suppose; but I really enjoyed disability advocacy (and activism). I have not done well retired: no shape or structure to my life. . .and I really miss teaching and mentoring. Well, Obama’s coming to town Thurs, maybe I can find a way to aggravate the hell out of the Feds scouring the city, making life difficult for everyone, esp people who have to drive anywhere. Excitement is otherwise hard to find here. . .unless it be a basketball team that can blow a 20 pt lead in less than 10 mins.
    Changing jobs was never a problem for me: when it was over, I just forgot about it and found another. Except for the disability gig (at which I was exceptional). Taking off for China (the unknown) at 55 ought to have been frightening. It was just not really wanted.

  6. Trish Jackson

    Thanks, Fran for this interesting subject. I absolutely agree — the world is changing rapidly and who knows what will happen to anyone’s job in the future. I am sure of one thing — the days of people being able to work all their lives in one field and retire with a nice fat pension are gone. More and more people work from home as independent contractors and as the job market changes they have to adjust with it.

  7. Bryan Murphy

    After 20 years’ teaching English as a foreign language, I wanted to do something more intellectually challenging. But what, without going back to square one and re-training? My answer was to step sideways, into a different language-related profession, translation, that had the unusual advantage of being meritocratic. After a few difficult years as a freelance, one of my clients offered me a staff job with a fat salary and a pension. I took it, and countered the later boredom with further careers as an actor and voice artist. Nowdays, I enjoy my modest pension and at last concentrate on my own words, as a writer.

  8. Cynthia B Ainsworthe

    Thanks Fran, for posting such an interesting piece. The work environment has changed drastically. Gone are the days when an employer would have a sense of loyalty toward the employee and vice versa. How very sad.

  9. Micki Peluso

    Fran, you’ve enlightened us with a broad perspective of the changing times. Times which seemed to change so quickly that those hoping for a pension and retirement were left without a lot of options, or the time to educate themselves in other professions. Thank goodness writers don’t have to retire, but we also don’t get pensions. We can’t be fired, but neither can we be secure in selling enough of our wares to live on–something only the best sellers seem to be able to do.

    Much of this was ignited when women insisted on getting into the job force which changed the economy to the point where it could no longer support a one worker family. Women wanted the right but not the obligation–but that’s another story.


  10. Delinda

    Poor Hubby no longer has the stamina to work as a tax accountant. He was eager to leave 60-84 hour work weeks behind him when he retired. He lasted six months as a retiree with no plan and no purpose before he found a job as a bookkeeper/accountant for a non-profit. It is mostly a volunteer position buy having something to do may save his life.


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