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Over 40 and Redefining Unemployment through Entrepreneurship

How three women took the chance of a lifetime

by Waves of Gratitude Team  |  1849 views  |  0 comments  |        Rate this now! 

Cheryl Nordyke is no stranger to adventure when it comes to her employment. Nearly 10 years ago, after going through a divorce and losing the grandmother who raised her, she and her 5-year-old daughter packed the moving van and made the trek from Southern California to New England to start a new job and a new life.

The job was one for which she was recruited. As a customer of the Massachusetts-based software company for four years prior to the move, she knew the product and knew she could sell it. So with a cut in pay, but the promise of big earnings if she worked hard, she started fresh.

It didn’t take long for Cheryl to reap the benefits of what she sowed. The first year with the company and the nine years that followed, she was the top producer, bringing in more than 15 million in upfront sales revenue and countless ongoing revenue in monthly support fees, add-ons, and the like. So it came as a shock when her employer eliminated her job as New Business Development Director. She, for the first time since she started working at the age of 17, was unemployed.

Unemployment rates during the last 20 years have gone up and down as this country watched the dot.com-era boom fall to recession and slowly recover, only to see a country wage a war it couldn’t afford. During all of this, Cheryl and others just like her have had to adjust. But adjusting and coping were not enough for Cheryl. What made her successful in sales was her different outlook and approach to problem-solving and it’s what has turned her unemployed status to one of entrepreneur.

During her time at the company, Cheryl was able to help long-time friend from California, Carrin Torres, also get consulting work in the finance department at the same software company. When that ended, Carrin went back to being a stay-at-home mom in a struggling marriage. When the marriage ended, Carrin was in the position of looking for work. That work turned out to be much less than she needed to support four children; not only the future looked bleak, but everyday life. This issue of under employment is as much of a financial shock to families as unemployment.

Faced with a job search that could take months to land at her previous mid-six-figure salary, Cheryl took a chance. She put all of her life savings and retirement account on the line and decided if she can make a good living for someone else, then she could certainly do the same for herself.

While working at the software company, Cheryl met Kim Wierman. Kim was re-entering the workforce full time after spending 12 years at home raising three sons. Her husband’s health issues and the high cost of his company’s health insurance had Kim looking for a job with good benefits, but one that would allow her time with her family. She thought she’d found the ideal situation. She was able to cross-train for several weeks to build skills and confidence after having been far removed from corporate life for more than a decade. The marketing job turned out to be more than she expected, but she welcomed the opportunity and worked hard to reach goals set by the company. That hard work ultimately did not pay off and her job was also eliminated. In its place a managerial job with the same description was created. Kim was offered neither the job nor any other at the company and found she also involuntarily unemployed. Just three weeks later, her husband died suddenly of a heart attack and she was faced with being the sole provider for her family.

About the Author

Waves of Gratitude Team is dedicated to writing articles and providing products to inspire us to be grateful. The team is Cheryl Nordyke, Carrin Torres, and Kim Wierman, co-authors of the book "But What Do We Know." Cheryl, the mother of one daughter, has also written several children’s books. Carrin’s background is in motivational training and personal coaching in the business arena; she has four children. Kim, a mother of three boys, has worked as a professional writer and editor since 1986, having published work as a ghostwriter for more than 10 eBooks and printed books.

Read more by Waves of Gratitude Team

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