“A total life reboot”
When Denis Lowry was in his mid-30’s, the large computer company he worked for sent him to graduate school to get a master’s degree in management. The program he was selected for was an intense one-year course for high-potential men and women at one of the nation’s top business schools.
Denis’ training and work experience to that point had been as an engineer. But while he was in school, he began to feel that he might be more interested in finance than engineering.
His opportunity to reboot came a few years later while he was serving as a manager of research and development.
“In 1993, the company decided to eliminate my department, and I knew I would have to relocate once again,” Denis said. “However, I had only one year left before retirement and a year’s worth of severance pay coming.”
Counting the benefits of reinvention
“The math was easy and the company would pay for the retraining. So I took their offer and spent a year getting my Certified Financial Planner designation.”
He rebooted at age 53. He chose a path that included both a continuation of gainful employment and volunteer work, and counts a number of benefits from his reinvention.
“I was able to move to a location of my choosing,” he said. “I can work part time and choose my own hours. I am responsible only for my own work and do not have to manage other people. Instead of working on one big problem for a long time, I get to solve many different problems in a short time.”
“Also, I know that if I was fully retired, my wife of 48 years (Marilyn) would make my death look like an accident. Right now, two days of work, two days of home work and a day of community service, works real well for us. There’s no known limit to how long I can continue this.”
Denis was inspired by his business school classmates.
“They were all mid-career folks and many of them had already had more than one career,” he said. “Our discussions about where we wanted to go from there were meaningful.”
“I found that eventually I would have to decide which would be more fun – staying technical (engineering) or going over to the soft side (finance). Did I want to be a ‘quant jock’ or a ‘poet’?”
He opted for the ‘poet’ route – and his ‘poetry’ now helps people master the rhyme and reason of financial decisions.
Rediscovering his happiest role
What was the biggest obstacle he had to overcome?
“Initially, I thought I wanted to work directly with clients, but I’d always been more comfortable as a staff guy than a manager,” he said. “It took me a while to re-discover that I would be happiest working as an analyst behind the scenes rather than trying to manage clients.”
Denis sums up in three words the most helpful advice he received: “Find the fun. What’s fun is different for each person and in each job some fun can be found. Your goal should be to find the job that is the most fun for you.”
“That takes both some introspection and some exploration. Then you may be lucky enough to find your fun job. However, luck is simply the place where preparation and opportunity meet. Know yourself and look for the opportunity.”
The advice he would give a potential rebooter echoes the same sentiment: “The philosopher Joseph Campbell said it well: ‘Follow your bliss.’ Discover the meaningful things that make you really happy and make them your next career.”
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LC’s note to Denis in 2020: “You wrote the article above in 2007. It was one of the first stories on rebootyou.com. What’s changed since then?” Denis’s reply:
When my wife of 52 years died in 2011, I was caught up in a lot of questions. Questions that were bigger than “How do I reboot my career?” They were: Why her? Why now? What about me? Finally, I settled on the only concept that made any sense to me. She was gone because God’s mission for her on earth had been accomplished.
I don’t know what her mission was. To show me how to be a better human being? To raise two very fine children? I’ll probably never know, but I do believe her death was part of God’s plan. Well, if God had a plan for her, what was His plan for me now that she was gone? Again, there was no way to know, but I started looking.
The answer to the “why” question
I came across a quote attributed to Mark Twain that seemed to sum things up. “The two most important days in your life are the day when you were born and the day you find out why you were born.” Obviously, it wasn’t just to be an engineer or a financial planner even though I’d spent 45 years in those two careers and I’m now fully retired. I discovered the answer to “Why am I here?” is TO GLORIFY GOD.
Apparently God has an ego. He wants to be praised for creating the universe. He created man with free will to choose to praise Him or not. I am learning how to praise Him. I am still a work in progress, but I publicly announced that I was beginning anew by being re-baptized on Pompano Beach, April 20, 2013, born-again, into a more personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Then, and almost as importantly, on April 11, 2014, I married another wonderful woman, (another Marilyn!) and a long time born-again Christian, who is helping me on the journey to find and follow God’s plan for us, until He calls us home. A total life reboot.”