Freelance After 50 Newsletter

F50 Issue #22: Star Trek and Exploring Your Next Career

Published about 1 month ago • 5 min read

F50 Issue #22: May 14, 2024

Explore New Careers and Boldly Go Where You’ve Never Gone Before!

“Acting was the thing that made me happy when I was thirteen years old, and that is still the case seventy years later. I have so much more work to do. I am not done with the stage. I still want to try another TV comedy. I still have so many characters inside me that I need to let out. And, thank heavens, the door is still open. So why would I ever stop?”
— Patrick Stewart (from his book, Making It So, Pages 442-443)

In 1987, the Los Angeles Times wrote that an “unknown British Shakespearean actor” had been chosen for the leading role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in a new television series called Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Patrick Stewart was 47 years old when he got his big break, and it changed his life. He went from “unknown” to international star, and decades later, he’s continuing to enjoy his career.

If you’re a Star Trek fan, you may have seen him reprise his role in a new series called Star Trek: Picard. But if you read his book, you’ll discover that Picard is just one of many different roles he’s played during his long career.

This echoes what many of us experience as we near the age of 50+. In fact, according to research conducted by Zippia and shared in a Career Foundry article, “the average person changes jobs 12 times in their lifetime.”

Sometimes these job changes are unexpected or necessary. But sometimes they happen because, like Patrick Stewart, we feel like we have many characters inside us that we need to let out.

As Will Hillier says in his article titled “How to Make a Successful Career Change at 50,” one of the advantages of starting a new career is the personal insight you’ll gain:

“As you grow older you will know yourself better. A career change at 50 offers a unique opportunity for personal and professional development because you’ll have learned what you want out of life. But if you’re willing to embrace the change, you can challenge yourself in fresh ways, pick up novel skills and expand your horizons.”

And in an article titled “Career Change At 50: It’s Not Too Late,” William Arruda shares this powerful quote:

“‘Why not explore doing something else?” says leadership speaker and bestselling author Fawn Germer. ‘You may be stuck in your comfort zone, but the land of comfort is no longer a safe place in a workforce that is so driven by change. You may surprise yourself when you discover that your greatest success hasn't even happened yet.’”

So, for a moment, let’s return to the Starship Enterprise. Like many of you, the characters had well-established careers where they gained transferable skills perfectly suited to freelancing after 50.

As we discuss their options, see if you can recognize any of these characters in yourself.

Five Characters with New Careers to Explore

1. Jean-Luc Picard

As you may already know, Picard is the captain of the Federation starship USS Enterprise. In addition to leading the crew, we can imagine him sitting alone in his quarters, enjoying “tea, Earl Grey, hot,” while dictating information about the spacecraft’s journey into his Captain’s Log.

Possible New Careers:

  • Writing
    • Offering writing services to clients by sharing knowledge, perspectives, and stories in publications like online newsletters, blogs, articles, reports, and guides.
    • His enjoyment of solitude and dedication to chronicling adventures make him perfectly suited to this role.
  • Project Management
    • Organizing tasks and mobilizing team members through online tools like Asana, Trello, and ClickUp.
    • His critical thinking skills and ability to see the big picture while handling all the moving parts would benefit this role.

2. William Riker

Riker is the Enterprise’s first officer or “Number One,” as Captain Picard calls him. His role often involves taking a team down to the surface of a planet to survey and liaise with the inhabitants.

Possible New Careers:

  • Remote customer service
    • Using tools like Zendesk, Help Scout, and Freshdesk to manage clients’ customer support systems.
    • His communication skills, problem-solving skills, and friendliness would help him discern what customers need so he could respond appropriately and nurture their relationships with businesses.
  • Virtual assistance
    • Being “Number One” for a business owner by assisting them in tasks like executive support, project management, appointment scheduling and management, marketing support, and more.
    • His focus, organization, self-motivation, and attention to detail would be key.

3. Geordi La Forge

In the first season of The Next Generation, La Forge was helmsman, but then became chief engineer in the second season. In a crisis, the captain and crew rely on him to troubleshoot tech issues and come up with creative solutions to complex problems.

Possible New Careers:

  • Multimedia production
    • Producing live or recorded content using a variety of digital channels and software, like Camtasia for video editing or Audacity for podcast production.
    • His ability to troubleshoot technology glitches, think on the fly, and deliver a finished product in a changeable environment make him the perfect candidate for this role.
  • Inventor
    • Making life easier for people by generating ideas for all kinds of processes and products, like household goods, safety products, and more.
    • His creativity, research skills, and ability to learn from mistakes would ensure his inventions are in demand and original.

4. Deanna Troi

Troi is the Enterprise’s counselor. In the seventh season, she takes the bridge officer’s exam, allowing her to expand her bridge duties and take command of the ship in addition to serving as counselor.

Possible New Careers:

  • Coach
    • Asking key questions to help clients discover the answers or next steps they should take to solve their problems and achieve their goals.
    • Her empathy and obvious care for those she counsels enhance her ability to help, encourage, and empower them to reach their full potential.
  • Tutor/Trainer
    • Using video conferencing software like Zoom to offer in-demand virtual tutoring, training services, or workshops in her area of expertise, often designing online learning curricula.
    • Her eagerness to help and empower others would encourage clients to persevere and gain a greater appreciation for learning.

5. Dr. Beverly Crusher

Crusher is the chief medical officer of the Enterprise. She’s also certified to command the Enterprise if needed.

Possible New Careers:

  • Consultant
    • Offering advice and guidance to help clients solve problems, often meeting with them through video conferencing platforms like Zoom.
    • Her experience commanding night-watch shifts on the main bridge of the Enterprise and treating patients with compassion and foresight give her valuable knowledge that could help others face challenges she’s overcome in the past.
  • Educator
    • Using software like Kajabi and Zoom video conferencing to provide up-to-date education in her area of expertise through online courses, live webinars/workshops, or a YouTube channel.
    • With her medical background and command experience, she’s a strong leader and communicator who could inspire confidence in students.

These are just a few of the many careers you may enjoy pursuing after 50. Do you see any of these transferable skills or personality traits in yourself?

Handy Tools

Perplexity is a quality AI tool that can serve as an alternative to traditional search engines. Simply enter a question, and you’ll receive concise answers written in plain language, with numbered footnotes linking to original sources. You can also ask follow-up questions, and Perplexity will answer them in the same context

Perplexity is available as a desktop, iPhone, or Android app. Choose the Standard plan that’s free forever, or access additional features and more Pro searches by upgrading to Professional for $20/month.

Insider Resources

If you’d like to take a deeper dive into finding purpose and fulfillment in your work, check out Simon Sinek’s book, Start with Why. It discusses how powerful leaders inspire others by understanding the WHY behind their products, services, movements, and ideas instead of just the WHAT.

With that in mind, are you ready to boldly go where you’ve never gone before? If you can relate to any of those five Star Trek characters (or any other characters), don’t hesitate to contact us, and we’ll help you set your coordinates for the right galaxy and your ideal freelance career path!

Until next time,

Co-founders of Freelance University

431B 41st Avenue NE - Unit 94, Calgary, AB T2E 2N4
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Freelance After 50 Newsletter

Craig & Kelly Cannings, Co-founders of Freelance University

Ready for an exciting new chapter in your life? Join 19,000 subscribers who are pursuing a second-act freelancing career to gain the income, flexibility and freedom they desire!

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