8.4 million Americans have have launched "encore careers," including these six Islanders.
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Was: a school nurse/counselor
IS: A POLICE PSYCHOLOGIST
Four years ago, Carol Goldblatt was a school nurse and counselor for elementary and high school students at ASSETS. One of the many things she loved about her job was witnessing how kids with learning differences tend to think outside the box. “I tapped into their natural resilience,” says Carol, who became sufficiently intrigued to pursue a doctorate in psychology at night over six years while working full-time at ASSETS and raising three children.
Carol herself is an out-of-the box thinker, readily describing her style as ADHD, which helps explain how her doctorate in clinical psychology from Argosy University joins the doctorate of law (J.D.) and master of public health (M.P.H.) she earned from UH along the way, after a bachelor’s degree in nursing (B.S.N.) from the University of Miami.
Ultimately, Carol found the perfect job for her multidisciplinary background, her stop-at-nothing attitude and her early interest in criminal justice: police psychologist for the Honolulu Police Department. The area of expertise—only recently recognized as its own proficiency by the American Psychological Association—is one that suits Carol well. As the first post-doctoral police fellow at the HPD, where she is now a permanent employee, Carol’s work is as varied and as intense as she wants it: whether she’s counseling police officers and their families, assessing new recruits, teaching at the academy, getting called to the scene to help deal with a mentally ill individual, or accompanying the HPD hostage negotiation team.
While the difference between helping kids versus cops may seem vast, when seen through the therapeutic lens of Carol it is not. “I bring in all of my skills to help one individual at a time in a space that is safe and sacred.” It is thanks to her own quest for a good fit that many others seeking counsel feel like they’ve found one in her.
Was: a professor
IS: A PAINTER
It’s a good thing roger whitlock’s book manuscripts never got published … or he might not have morphed from an English professor into one of Hawaii’s—indeed, one of the nation’s—premier watercolorists. Though he always loved both painting and prose growing up in Seattle, Roger didn’t touch a paintbrush for 25 years while he pursued a successful career teaching college-level English—even winning the Regent’s Medal for Excellence in Teaching at UH, where he taught for 31 years. “Undergrads were especially fun to teach; many of my students became friends.”
In a funk about his own writing, Roger signed up for a beginner’s painting class in 1985 that met every Thursday night at the Honolulu Academy of Arts—and he re-took the same class for five years! An art student by night and an English professor by day, Roger began to dream not about stories he would write but about images he would paint. It was when a fellow student asked to buy one of Roger’s early watercolors and, later, when he won top prize in the first Hawaii Watercolor Society competition he entered, that the leap from professor to painter took hold.
After retiring from UH in 2001, he continued to refine his painting skills, studying with Robert E. Wood and financing his travels by selling paintings of places he’d visited. He’s had more than 20 solo shows since 1994, gained national recognition and was recently named one of “Nine Hawaii Artists to Collect” by this magazine (March ’08).
In the face of his success, there’s a humility about Roger and a sense that he can’t wait to get started each morning: “I feel incredibly lucky to be doing what I love.” His first love, teaching, has been a through line in Roger’s second career. He still teaches an advanced watercolor class at the Academy once a week and insists that he learns a lot in the process. There’s one lesson Roger will tell anyone who is contemplating a career change: “Don’t wait until you retire to pursue your passion; it will take time to grow into … so start now.”