The other day I was reading the Amazon reviews of my book, Roadmap for the Rest of Your Life. Like any author—or anyone who is being evaluated, for that matter—I have great interest in what people say about my work. I’m pleased that most everyone has positive things to say. But I want to address the things said that are not so positive, not to be defensive, but in fact, to agree with some of it. It’s through feedback that we learn and while sometimes our egos get a bit bruised, it ultimately will mean growth and a better me. When you’re on your job, your supervisor will be evaluating you. Most of the review will be subjective. And that’s the point. It’s your supervisor’s perspective. With any luck, that boss will not only address your shortcomings, but also your strengths. And with your shortcomings, the hope is that the criticism will be constructive, allowing you to learn, not force you to put up walls or resistance.
The primary criticisms of my book have to do with the degree to which I get into the details in planning for the rest of your life and whether the information I present is available elsewhere.
The fact is, almost everything I said is available elsewhere (there really isn’t too much new in the world, is there), with at least one major exception—the Level of Activity scale. My purpose in writing this book was not to create the wheel but to point out that the wheel has already been invented and that it’s available to all of us. Use it and you’ll find that your life rolls along more smoothly. Miss using it and you’ll likely hit every bump in the road. I really hope that I’ve covered all the major topics but if I’ve missed a key area, please point that out and I’ll rectify it. And I take to heart that the Internet has made information available to anyone. Weeding out the right information is a challenge, certainly. But keeping to reliable sources, and not just one, should give you the whole picture. Future editions and future writings will emphasize areas to get a more rounded picture.
As for the level of detail, I truly hope that no reader is using my book as the ultimate authority on anything. There are many sources of detailed information about all of the subjects I touch upon. Few of us fit the “average” but it’s impossible to consider every possibility. So in addition to presenting the normal story, the book uses Life Stories to illustrate some of the more unusual circumstances. Many magazines and newspapers use this anecdotal method that give readers the chance to relate to a specific situation. I have rarely fit the mold. But sometimes I can find insight from other life stories. Again, future editions of my book and future writings will bring in specific resources where readers can get more information.
Toward that end, here are two sites that I highly recommend where readers can get both detailed and broad views of topics that will interest you as you enter your second adulthood. One is www.AARP.org, although I’m not particularly enamored with the look of the site. It certainly has detailed and broad information for those of us 50+. But the organization and look aren’t to my liking. The other site I like a lot is www.nextavenue.org. It’s a product of PBS stations (ergo the dot org) and covers most topics well. The look, feel, and navigation are superior to most sites. Check both of these out and please provide feedback—to me as well as to the website masters themselves.
To say that poor reviews or negative recommendations on a job don’t hurt would be a lie. Of course they do. I don’t want to hear anything bad about me. “The reader missed the whole point,” I’d rebut. But that would also be a lie. The reader, or your supervisor, did not miss the whole point. Your job will be to pay attention to what is being said, not to the hurt you’re feeling. And to learn from the message.