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What Do You Want to Do When You Grow Up? Starting the Next Chapter of Your Life


Psychology Today, Oct. 2001
PT BookShelf column

"First there's childhood, then a career and finally "the great plateau." So says Dorothy Cantor, Psy.D., former president of the American Psychological Association. Preceding or beginning with retirement, the great plateau is when you get to do what you really want— provided that you prepare for it. Here, Cantor tries to help you do just that. Through excerpting interviews with several people in mid-plateau and utilizing the superb writing skills of free-lance writer Andrea Thompson, Cantor's book provides a way of thinking about your future that may make the rest of your life the best of your life."

From the inside flap...

Do you remember the answer you used to give when you were asked what you wanted to do when you grew up?

What Do You Want to Do When You Grow Up? is the book for grown-ups who want to rekindle their childhood dreams with a midlife career change. This is also a book for people who have found fulfilling work lives but have no idea what they will do with themselves in retirement.

We've all been given advice about financial planning and the importance of exercise and eating right. We've been sensible, we have lived in the Real World. Still, no one has asked us: What have you learned about yourself on the job? What has made you happy? Satisfied? Proud? Have you neglected a talent that you nurtured as a youth? What would you be happy never doing again and what would you like to do that you have never done? In other words, for you, what is the Good Life?

In What Do You Want to Do When You Grow Up? Dorothy Cantor shows that everyone is different when it comes to deciding what it takes to keep growing and learning during one's work life and after. Through questions and reflections concerning your past ambitions and your present realities, through the work stories of people in the midst of transition, Cantor provides the simple tools that can broaden your horizons. With this book and a bit of spirit, you have all you need to make a plan for your next adventure—your future.

From the back cover...

"Jimmy and I have always believed that whenever one door closes, another opens. What Do You Want to Do When You Grow Up? is a book for anyone who is retiring from the workforce and seeking a new direction for finding personal fulfillment. Dorothy Cantor shows you the way to take stock of your life and map out plans for a future that will be meaningful and deeply satisfying—with perhaps the kind of excitement and enthusiasm you felt as a child, just starting out on your grand adventure."

—Rosalynn Carter, former First Lady and author of Helping Yourself Help Others and Helping Someone with Mental Illness

"A remarkable, on-the-mark book for anyone twenty-five to eighty-five who is planning a job change or contemplating retirement. Dr. Cantor in What Do You Want to Do When You Grow Up? breaks new ground in decision making about our work life. A nationally respected psychologist, she shares her expertise with wit and with wisdom."

—Norine G. Johnson, Ph.D., president, American
Psychological Association

"Whether we are literally at a time of retirement or at one of life's many crossroads, Dr. Cantor's calm and concrete suggestions ease the apprehension of change and help us be open to wonderful new experiences. In effect, she dares us to dream and to live our dreams."

—Bill Bradley, former U.S. senator

"What Do You Want to Do When You Grow Up? gives the reader the chance to turn midlife crisis into a midlife opportunity for reflection, change, and personal fulfillment. Practical, thought-provoking, wise, this book should be every reader's psychological travel guide to the middle years and beyond. We can't start the journey too soon."

—William S. Pollack, author of Real Boys and Real Boys' Voices, director of the Center for Men at McLean Hospital, assistant clinical professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard Medical School

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