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Bradley Hilltopics

Spring 2009 • Volume 15, Issue 2  

Switching gears | Bradley at 47. Doctor at 52. | Dancing to a different tune | Lost and found in Manito | Preserving Florida’s heritage

 

Switching gears

By GAYLE ERWIN McDOWELL ’77

When it comes to career paths, people are more likely than ever to travel down more than one. Meet four brave Bradley alums who really switched gears.

Sticking with one lifetime career, and often the same employer, was the norm for decades. Now itís not unusual for individuals, especially baby boomers, to reinvent themselves — or at least try a new path. Why? Some people are looking for a greater challenge while others are happy to trade a higher paycheck for a low-stress lifestyle. Some workers want to have more fun while they earn their living, possibly turning a hobby into a career. Maybe their dream is to live by the ocean, mountains, in a metropolitan area, etc. Some want to leave their “employee” status behind and become their own boss. Itís not uncommon for workers to regret or tire of their original career choice. Maybe they tried to follow in a parentís footsteps or to meet someone elseís expectations. Especially after 9/11, many people want to go home at the end of the day, feeling that their work has made a difference in the lives of others. One growing Web site, encore.org, focuses on “finding work that matters in the second half of life.”

Often, however, people donít decide to rearrange their lives on their own. Instead, unforeseen circumstances nudge them toward searching for new lines of work. Job loss — and the fear of job loss — are common reasons to shift gears. Health issues and concerns also instigate new careers.

Bradley Hilltopics has been on the lookout for alumni who made drastic career moves — not the teacher who advanced to become the school principal or the graphic designer who opened her own firm — but rather alums who switched gears entirely (some more than once). Meet a former truck driver who became a doctor in his fifties, an engineer-turned-swing dance instructor, a singer who is now an award-winning filmmaker, and a former Caterpillar employee who became a successful potter and business owner — with a couple of stops along the way.

Randy Sutter '03

RANDY
SUTTER ’03

Bradley at 47. Doctor at 52.

Joel Ply '93

JOEL
PLYS ’93

Dancing to a different tune

Larry Kruzan '07

LARRY
KRUZAN ’07

Lost and found in Manito

Caroline McKeon '72

CAROLINE
McKEON ’72

Preserving Florida’s heritage

 

Switching gears | Bradley at 47. Doctor at 52. | Dancing to a different tune | Lost and found in Manito | Preserving Florida’s heritage