Step 1 Career Reinvention: Appreciate the Past

As I go forward with a
major part of my reinvention and seek a new career at 61, I believe it is
important you understand all sides of this journey.  So we begin with what I leave behind….

Teaching was never part of the plan.  In fact, the original plan was to take
Barbara Walter’s job at The Today Show,
but I don’t think she was ever worried. 
However I have learned from experience to never say never.  While working as our private school’s
communication director (in order to provide private education for three
children), I suddenly found myself starting a high school newspaper.

That was sixteen years ago. 
With seven eager students, and one old PC computer, we began a program
which would blossom into something pretty incredible.   After a contest to name the publication, it
became The Revelation, four black and
white, in-house copied pages.  That first
staff lit a fire in side of me.  I asked
them to go interview at least three students for one of the articles…they interviewed
67!  The first Editor-in-Chief would be
the first one to write professionally and major in journalism.  Sharing my passion of journalism with these
kids was the most fun I had experienced at any job.

The Revelation is
now a 32-page news magazine, slick, four-color. I could write a book of the
experiences we lived, as high school students interviewed Presidential candidates,
celebrities, entertainers, authors, and told major news stories in a high school
publication.  The local newspaper city
columnist wrote about us, because he ran into these young reporters all over
town.  It would also blossom into a
broadcast news team.  They competed
against college journalists to place in the Lone Star Awards, judged by The
Houston Press Club.  Consistently for
twelve years, they brought home Gold Key National Awards from Quill &
Scroll/The American Newspaper Editor’s Association.   I learned when you inspire young people to
climb tall mountains, the majority will reach the top…and keep going.

I am honored to say many former students now work in
communications from newspaper reporting to public relations and marketing.  Some have told me the high school experience
actually prepared them for thriving business careers.  Many led their college newspapers.  In the past four years, the broadcast team
has begun to have the same success.

Most of the employees working at our school to provide the
private education experience for their own children, would leave after those children graduated.  But, I remained.  It was difficult to let go of something I had
been a part of from the foundation up… and to let go of the students.  Working with teens will keep one young and

Last Friday, May 22, my time came to a close.  In the past two years, new leadership has
taken our school in a new direction.  We
had the same superintendent for over thirty years…he and his wife loved the
journalism department.  Even when we
ruffled feathers with an uncomfortable editorial or two…even when we reported
stories many wanted removed…even when a retraction had to be printed…they stood
by the publication and all the lessons learned. 
They shared the vision to see young people leave our school with an
understanding of the world around us, with a desire to question and know more,
and with a passion to tell truth.  They
knew iron sharpens iron.  Alan, I cannot thank you enough.
But without going into too many specifics, I know it is time to move on.

Here we go at 61…hanging up the NEED EMPLOYMENT
sign.  I must replace my salary and dust
off the resume!  I will miss my students
so much…I will miss watching them surprise everyone with accomplishments…I will
miss their dances and music and joy…and I will miss the glory days of The Revelation and KSAC. I believe teaching was just for that place,
those students, at that time.  My
communications career has been diverse and that is where I will concentrate my

I have provided this background in order to give you all
sides of this new journey…I truly hope I can help inspire and encourage any of
you also beginning again later in life.
The day I told administration I could not sign their
contract, this quote appeared on Glenda’s Blog, SO WHAT TO TWENTY:

Go confidently in the
direction of your dreams.  Live the life
you’ve imagined. – Henry David Thoreau

Have a wonderful Wednesday!


    1. I think this blog is a huge part of this journey…we will see where else it might go? I have been inspired by bloggers like you Shelley…thanks for the encouragement!

  1. Pam, you must be so proud of all that you accomplished in this position. You've really changed lives and inspired young people, which to me is a highest calling. I know that you have drive and determination, and will find an avenue that allows you to use both your passion and skills.

    1. Working with the students was amazing…young people today have so much potential and I think often get a bad rap in most media. They never ceased to amaze me every year. I think I could start a successful business with teenagers. Thank you for the encouragement…I am so curious to see where all of this leads!

  2. Pam I am so impressed by your post. What a wonderful legacy to leave behind. Your job allowed you to nurture and encourage young people. I think that is amazing. It is really incredible what one person can do for another. Congratulations on your years of success with the "Revelation", it looks like an excellent publication.

    The one thing that I am constantly reminded of in life is that the only thing for certain is "change". I know that whatever your next endeavor is you will be a success. I can't wait to see what it is.
    Thank you for sharing your journey.


    1. This is such a huge change for me…we will see how it all goes. I am blessed and honored to have 16 years worth of friends in the graduates I taught…an incredible group of young people. Thanks so much for your words, Cherie!

  3. Pam, my cherished friend, you leave behind a legacy that most aspire too. The accomplishments of your students are a direct reflection of your dedication and care. As you begin your second chapter I believe all signs will lead to happiness. xoxox

    1. Thanks so much, Katie. Teaching was a great ride…fun from the beginning. But, I know there is a lot of road left to cover…we will see where it all goes…and hopefully our bills will be covered as well!!

  4. What a gift you must have been to those eager students. Teaching really is a gift and so important. You were lucky to have all the wonderful experiences you did and to leave these kids with so much to take forward. I know what it's like to see that "it's time". If it is any encouragement, my BFF is in the process of interviews for the biggest job of her life and she is 65. She tactfully asked the people who requested she apply "are you sure they are seeking someone as senior as I am in my career?" and they said "Yes, they seek experience." You sure have a lot of good experience to offer. Good luck on your search–will be thinking good thoughts for you!

    1. Thank you Carol…what a great story! Please share with us what she is doing after all is said and done. I hope someone is looking for experience and a visionary who works hard to bring success. That would be me! I am appreciate all of the good thoughts and prayers.

  5. What a great post Pam. I'm excited to see what's next for you. I think that pendant necklace is one of your good luck charms, it looks amazing on you! xx

  6. Thank you, Jill! I love that necklace…I found it on sale at the Limited…a place I never really go, but a scarf in their window drew me inside that day…I have worn this necklace a lot since I bought it.

  7. I'll be watching with interest to see how your journey unfolds. I think fresh starts are wonderful and good for us, at any age!

    1. It is crazy weather in San Antonio these days. We really needed the rain, but some of the tragedies are just sickening. I wish we could have received the rain without so much tragedy. So far, my family is safe…but I do have family in Houston and have been keeping a close watch on them. Thanks for your comments.

  8. What great accomplishments you had growing the newspaper! I started writing because of Barbara Walters too. It's wonderful that you touched so many young lives through your work, and I know the next chapter will be just as successful.

  9. Pam, We miss you already. What a blessing you have been to me over the past three years! I have watched in amazement at all you can draw out of these students by helping them find their passion and be confident in their talents. You are an irreplaceable treasure. I do know that your love of journalism is living on in the lives of the students that you inspired, and they will inspire others, and the inspiration will go on…. Who knows, maybe it will be one of your students who will take Barbara Walters job. 🙂 Keep in touch! Love you! Shelly Landers

    1. Oh, I miss you guys, Shelly! Seeing my friends and students every day will be the hardest parts. But, I love the idea that one of these guys would be a Barbara Walters one day…may it be!

  10. What a wonderful part of your career to reflect on, take pride in and enjoy. It's hard to move on before you're absolutely positively sure you want to–I had to do it recently with the magazine I was working for–but you have so many great launching-off points, your wonderful blog a case in point. Wishing you the best as you transition to the next level of your career.

  11. I know that wherever you go you will be a huge success! I look forward to watching it all unfold. Just know that I will be rooting for you all of the way!

  12. What an incredible story and journey you're on, Pam! Often times I write for myself…knowing what I need to put in my spirit. It is always a joy to know others are touched by my posts. Congrats to you for making your dreams come true!

  13. Always keep us posted…we are all very interested. I cannot imagine that you won't find the next part of your life is much better than the last. Teachers have a way of building on what they know.


  14. "They" are the ones who will be missing something: You! An involved, caring, knowledgeable, inspiring teacher and leader. It is there loss, although I know you are feeling loss as well.
    xoxoxo, Brenda

  15. Really enjoyed reading about your journey, Pam. There is certainly something awesome waiting out there for you as you are such an inspirational women. Take your time, have a break and then move on.

  16. You must be feeling such bittersweet emotions about now. Congratulations on your accomplishments and on knowing when it was time to leave. I left teaching after 33 years last year. It was not easy, but I knew it was the right thing to do. I am still finding my way, learning new things and exploring options as a freelance writer. From what I have read about you, you are a go -getter and will find many new things to fill the teaching void. You already have a great blog. Oh, and you will get to buy yourself more casual clothes!

  17. Pam, reading between the lines, I'm inferring your choice to leave teaching was a thoughtful one, made with difficulty, but on principle. However, you are not going into the world naked, as you have been on a new journey for a few years now, one that has taken you down paths you didn't know existed. It's as if you could foresee changes, and set a course preparing to meet them. It has now come full circle, and it's all up to you. You know you have the vision and renewed energy to write new chapters……..looking forward to reading them.

  18. Aww I am so sorry about the new of your job and wish you a lot of luck with the future. I am now following you on Bloglovin and look forward to visiting you blog. Take care.
    Julie xo

  19. You will find something you love. Something you couldn't even have dreamed of for your self. Sometimes God takes us out of our comfort zone to bring us into a new place were we have to trust Him. Having been recently fired I can see that God has been with me through it all and he has orchestrated a plan far better than I ever could have. He will be good to you and bring you a new job that will fill you with joy, refreshment and liberty. I hope your have your head held high as your look for that amazing new job! Keep me posted!

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