Gary Heitman of Plymouth is just one example of how changing careers can change your life.

Eyeing the repeated rounds of layoffs at Ford, IT manager Gary Heitman didn't need a GPS to know which direction his 30-year career with the automaker was heading.

So he volunteered for a buyout in 2006, figuring the next offer might not be so generous.

Heitman, who'd been making $160,000 a year, knew he couldn't afford to retire on a pension of half his salary.

The widower had two teenagers, Ashley, now 17, and Derek, 14, to raise and put through school.

He also knew that finding a comparable IT job at his age would be tough.

So Heitman worked his contacts and said yes to a $60-an-hour parttime job scouting new business for a staffing agency he'd worked with at Ford.

The salary, plus his pension, brings him close to his former income, so his retirement plans -- he hopes to quit by 2013 -- are intact. The bonus: He gets to spend more time with his kids. Even on the days he travels, he's home in time to make dinner.

Gary was featured in Money Magazine as part of a story called "Rescue Your Retirement."

He has the following advice for others who want to pick themselves up and start over:

Use your network of family, friends and business associates
Don't be afraid to ask for help
Always maintain a positive attitude
Develop a powerful resume
Be prepared to work hard
Take advantage of free resources offered by colleges, churches or government programs

Do you have a story similar to Gary's? Click on the envelope icon below and email me your story. It could be the next featured article on Positive Detroit!


Anonymous said...

So important too keep a positive attitude in this economy and to be creative about how to keep moving forward and making progress. Great post!

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