Ten years ago and within the year before I hit the big Five Ooh I went through the difficulties of a major health issue and finding myself unemployed. I definitely didn’t feel ready for retirement and believed I still had a great deal to offer, so embarked on a job hunting exercise, sending out the CVs and going for interviews, with little success.
Realising, after a fairly short time that 50 year old interviewees weren’t embraced with quite the same enthusiasm as 20 year old job seekers I decided a fresh approach to the dilemma of employment was necessary.
So with that in mind and in need of some guidance I dug out the getting work guide What Colour is Your Parachute which promised to help me in pinpointing the areas I would ideally like to work in. The other consideration I had was I had experienced the corporate world of work and didn’t want to go back there.
A little bit of research later saw driving instruction emerge as one of the strong contenders in my list of ideal jobs, and whilst my absolute dream job would be working as a tennis pro reality kicked in!!!
With my decision made I successfully embarked on training to become an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) fortunately passing each of the three elements involved; the theory test, the driving test and the instruction ability test, on first go.
Qualification achieved the next thing was to endeavour to make a successful living, with that in mind I joined with two other freshly qualified ADIs in setting up an umbrella website and branding, all of us continuing to be self-employed but working under the same banner and we were off.
It was brilliant being able to get advice and support from my two fellow instructors when needed and just having the camaraderie to shoot the breeze if need be.
Oddly in my life a lot of changes have happened around birthday years with a big 0 beside the number, and the zero with the six beside it was no different.
In the year leading up to my sixtieth birthday I again had to deal with a health issue, which got sorted, but I was also fortunate in being successful in the Road Safety Authority’s competition for driver testers.
I had applied in light of my health, as an alternative to driving instruction while still remaining in the same field, although on a different side of it and completed the training, but realised
that it wasn’t for me.
Ultimately however a combination of factors helped me arrive at the decision not to pursue the driver tester role, these included the sheer size of the daily workload of the tester, and also the lack of freedom and really just being used to being my own boss.
The intervening ten years of being self-employed and being my own boss had spoiled me and although I wouldn’t have the same consistent wage landing in my bank account each month, on balance I felt it was the best decision for me.
Sometimes the grass seems greener on the other side, having briefly experienced the life of a driver tester, I have to say they deserve great respect for the difficult job they do, sometimes in very trying circumstances.
I finished my training in November and decided to take a time out until after Christmas. Although I did do some driving instruction in that period I was primarily focused on my future in terms of work, would that be driving instruction or should I look at pursuing something different.
Ultimately I realised that I enjoyed driving instruction but that I needed to look at improving my time management, for instance taking time off to avoid the risk of burning out and getting back into some of my hobbies that had gotten pushed to the side over time.
My birthday was in February and while I was on a brief holiday break in East Cork to celebrate it I got a call in relation to Ladybird Driving School, the fact that it was Ireland’s only all-female driving school peaked my interest and I decided it was at least worth the conversation.
I would be able to continue to be self-employed but would belong to a group that would have an umbrella website and I would, as before, be part of a team, which is something I enjoy.
Long story short by the end of March I had invested in a new white Ford Fiesta which I had liveried with many fine looking ladybirds and once again I was happily helping new drivers to get on the road to their full driving licence.
Ultimately what I would say is that if you find yourself at a loose end after more than fifty plus years on earth driving instruction can be a great career path.
Among other things it offers a decent livelihood, flexibility and most importantly job satisfaction, nothing beats the feeling of taking somebody from starting to drive for the first time to successfully passing their test.
If you are female and think driving instruction could be for you why not give Ladybird Driving School a call and let a new chapter in your life adventure begin.
Why not let Sixty be the new thirty,