Jimmy Iovine knows how to redeploy. The 59-year-old legendary engineer and record producer’s story is remarkable on many levels, but for you….a boomer eyeing a second career, there’s an important lesson here.
Iovine was featured in the April 12th issue of Rolling Stone in a terrific profile written by David Fricke. I read the story with great interest for lots of reasons. The guy is amazingly cool and has a career that has seen him work with John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, U2, Patti Smith, Dr. Dre, Eminem and Lady Gaga, to name a few.
Iovine has a gift. As his father once said about his son, “He’s got magic ears,” according to the Rolling Stone article.
And he does.
He made lots of extraordinary records since he started in the business in 1975 at the age of 21—Born in the USA and Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker’s Damn the Torpedoes, to name two that spring to mind.
If you’re a fan, like I am, of Born in the USA and Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town, you get it. I recently watched the HBO Documentary film, The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town, and Iovine’s engineering genius is all over it.
He stopped producing records when he was 38. He tells Rolling Stone, he doesn’t miss it. Why? ”What I felt in my twenties, I stopped hearing in my thirties. I didn’t feel a thing.”
That can happens to all of us at different stages, and it’s really hard to admit. We cling to what we have always done even when it is clearly time to press onward.
Iovine knew it was time to make a turn. And did. He used his “magic ears” to launch a line of headphones in 2008, Beats by Dr Dre that now reportedly accounts for close to one-quarter of the national market for headphones and had gross sales in 2011 of $500 million, according to the magazine. And Iovine even appears on American Idol.
Ok, so not everyone can make such a dramatic segue into a second career, but it’s the kernel of truth here that we all can learn from to help us find a new path.
I always tell people looking for a new path to think redeployment not reinvention. Making a successful career path change depends on knowing what your skills and passions are and finding new ways to use them. It is not about starting over from scratch.
And that’s not as hard as you might think. It can take some undercover sleuthing. Nicholas Lore, founder of the Rockport Institute and author of The PathFinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success told me recently “When you’re looking for a midcareer change, you have to be a detective looking for clues to what makes you tick.” He describes how he loves to sail, but was never going to be a professional sailor.
But the constant, spur of the moment decision-making is what he really loves. So for Lore, it was a sign that led him to start his career coaching business –one of persistently helping others solve their career challenges.
As Iovine tells Rolling Stone–It’s about listening. “What always got me to the next step was sound–and the emotion of music.” Whenever he started a new direction, he says, “I didn’t know how to do it. I just learned how to do it.”