Back In The Driver's Seat

Posted on Aug 1, 2010 :: Small Business Spotlight
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Prophit Marketing

In the days of Ward and June Cleaver and earlier, our parents and grandparents found careers and may have stayed with them for years, even decades, but times have changed. When that paradigm shift hits baby boomers, as it has in the recent recession, it can turn lives upside down.

“With the massive layoffs and downturn in the economy, baby boomers took a big hit,” says Barbara Wulf, a professional certified coach who runs Beckon Call Career Management & Coaching from her home in Menasha. “A lot of these people were key players in industry. Now the rules of the whole game have changed.”

Now, she says, some of the people who made those rules are updating their own resumes. Wulf coaches people – often those in the second half of their life – back on track and helps them find more balance in their career and personal lives.

“One of the most important things Barb did as my coach was to help me realize that I needed to look at all areas of my life. Focusing on only a few areas and neglecting others can create an imbalance,” says Becky, a tax accountant who didn’t want her last name used due to the sensitivity of the business.

Eileen Kelly, a client from Minnesota, adds her testimonial to Wulf’s website. “Barb helped me to keep focus on the important areas of my life that go to the back burner when more pressing, and sometimes less important, demands are made of my time,” she writes.
Wulf is not a therapist or a career recruiter. Rather, she defines her role as assisting people in “getting back in the driver’s seat of their life … helping them move from Point A to Point B without all the detours.”

For years, Wulf, a native of Berlin, Wis., had worked in career planning and development, both in Minneapolis and at Fox Valley Technical College, as well as working with at-risk teens in the Appleton Public Schools. But she felt something was missing in her own life. “I started to ask myself, ‘What’s next?’” she says.

After attending the Coaches Training Institute, Wulf founded her coaching business in 2000 – helping fulfill her own life goals as well as aiding others.

“That was kind of ‘cracking open the door.’ I was a little bit on my own quest.”

Wulf recently added ReCareer certification to her toolbox, following guidelines defined by author Richard P. Johnson in his book ReCareer: Finding Your Authentic Work. The author advocates finding a purposeful career to stimulate the mind and fire the soul and spirit.

“ReCareering is about finding the right fit,” says Wulf. “During the first half of most baby boomers’ lives, she notes, “we worked the long hours, worked various shifts, drove the long commute and spent time on the road away from family. We did what we needed to do to pay bills. ReCareering is the process of being selective, being creative,being fulfilled and being intentional about how you spend your time.”

A job change in midlife, while not always expected, can provide opportunities. Wulf says that a gamut of people can utilize ReCareering, including the unemployed, non-employed (those who leave the workforce voluntarily), underemployed or empty-employed (those who desire a more fulfilling job).

“I consider myself the vessel – the space for the client to do the work,” says Wulf, whose clientele is 75 percent local, with some clients she serves “virtually.”
Ideally, she says, “They start to create goals for themselves.”

Ironically, the downturn in the economy has also impacted Wulf’s business. “When the recession hit, business did curtail,” she admits. “The whole job market kept shrinking. People didn’t want to spend money.”

But she says business has started picking up a bit as people realize that finding another job or career is more than just “updating a resume and getting on LinkedIn.”

That’s where career coaching comes in. “It challenges you to jump in the deep end and wrestle with the things that cause us sleepless nights,” says Wulf.

Beckon Call Career Management & Coaching in Menasha,