How Starbucks Saved My Life


In 2003, at age 58, I lost my business, my 401K, and probably my mind. I was in six-figure debt.

Today, I operate multiple businesses, have published a guide on how Baby Boomers can remain in the work force, and coach as well as lecture on career transitions. An address I made at the New York State Bar Association had been published in "Vital Speeches of the Day." A number of jobless who read it called me and confided that it saved their life.

That then brings you and me to that life-and-death question: how come some of us can bounce back from a professional bottom and some, even in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, can't?

My hunch is that they simply give up before the miracle. In any economy, a fall from grace is brutal. In this one, there are times of despair. Yet, some of us hang on, even though nothing seemed to be happening. Sure, I was doing all the right things. And there were clear signs of professional progress. Progress, though, doesn't pay the bills.

Then, eight months ago, everything started happening. In his book "Starbucks Saved My Life," Michael Gates Gill chronicles his migration from great expectations to gratitude on just having work. Perhaps the universe intended I go on a similar journey before I could appreciate what I had accomplished - my return to success - for the miracle it was.

Everyone of us who has the strength and hope to hang on and regain the ability to make a decent living is, yes, living out the miracle.