Never Too Late for a Change

According to government figures, the number of American workers over the age of 55 will grow more than four times as fast as the total labor force by the year 2012.

But how many of these Americans with be with the same jobs and companies in the future? To make ends meet, many will change careers, either because they have to, or they choose to.

Charyl Ganz knows all about career changes. Ganz earned her degrees in architecture and interior design and spent almost 20 years working for AT&T.

"I've always had a love for cooking, from very early work with my mom in the kitchen," Ganz said. "but the situation was, 'you are going to school. You're going to get a degree.' And that's what I did."

But it wasn't enough.

"It was after retirement, I wasn't happy, and I needed something to really get me excited." Ganz says she thought, "why don't I go back and go through the cooking situation which I've always loved."

And that's exactly what she did. Bored with retirement, she decided to pursue her love for cooking at age 57. Originally based in Michigan, she decided the best thing for her was to move to New York and study at the Culinary Institute of America.

"I sold my house, I sold my car, and all my collectibles," she explained. "I came with two suitcases, myself and a vehicle and said, 'here I am, totally dedicated to training and education.'"

With such a big career move, second thoughts were still there.

"Every once in a while it crossed my mind, 'with all the things you've collected, the places you've been, you're giving that up,'" she reminisced. "But they didn't mean as much to me anymore and I've got a long life to live yet. That meant much more than the things I've collected."

Ganz says she is much happier now.

"It's this excitement working with food and the whole experience with the chefs, and it's a lot of fun."

Ganz's goal from her career change is to help her friend open a restaurant and resort in Italy.

And advice to people who might be considering the career change themselves?

"Go for it. Have fun. Be open to the experience and what you can gain from it."
by Jenn Eaker