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
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