After the Webinar: Side Hustles and Second Careers. Q&A with Wendy Hummell

Webinar presenter Wendy Hummell answered a number of your questions after her webinar, Side Hustles and Second Careers. Here are just a few of her responses.


Audience Question: As you’ve mentioned, we, here in the law enforcement and first responder profession, have a ton of experience and expertise in the types of professions we’ve all worked in. If we’re not really sure what we might want to do as a side hustle, but maybe need to do it for our thinking about future careers and want to try it out first. How do we home in on those potential ideas? I mean, clearly based on everyone’s participation in that last polling question, a lot of people had a lot of ideas. How do we home in on what makes sense? 

Wendy Hummell: Yeah, that’s a really good question and it’s going to be different and unique for each person. And I think how it starts is doing the work of sitting down and figuring out what it is that you might want to do. And that’s why I created that PDF. It’s a four-page PDF with a lot of prompts for you to start jotting things down. I also really highly recommend doing some sort of a personality profile, or strength finder to kind of see where you’re at. But I think it just depends on, for some of us, we need to see how much money needs to come in? And then figure out what is it, within what I really would like to do. And sometimes you don’t even realize what it is until you start to really think about it. Because I have found that a lot of people I know haven’t been proactive in thinking about retirement. They leave and then they’re in that “Well, now what?” And a lot of fuel force was kind of pressured into finding a job that maybe isn’t exactly what they were looking for. So, I recommend really taking the time to sit down with some of these questions and really just start writing down anything that you can think of. Depending on the person. So, I am a really big fan of whiteboards. I also really like sticky notes, those little post-it notes with different colors, and just starting to write down every single thing that comes to mind, even if it doesn’t really seem feasible. One other thing that I want to mention is there are a lot of people who can help you figure this out. We have an in-house therapist where I work, we also have an EAP. I highly recommend taking advantage of resources like that because therapists just aren’t there. It depends on who they are and what your specialty is. The therapist and coaches. There are such things as retirement and transition coaches, that can help figure some of these things out. If you’re looking for somebody else to help you, kind of give you some input.


Audience Question: You mentioned a number of tests that we could take, what were the names of those tests, again? 

Wendy Hummell: The DISC personality profile, the DISC. And then there’s the strength finder. And these are all free, by the way. There are other ———- that you can take, that you have to pay for. And then the last one is called Via Character Strength and that is a positive psychology strength assessment. That’s actually my favorite one.


Audience Question: Eric is within seven weeks of retirement, is there a job board or a networking opportunity for first responders looking for that next career? I have a thought or two, but Wendy, how about you? 

Wendy Hummell: Yeah, well, first of all, congratulations! That is amazing. But as far as a job board, I guess my question would be, and I know that he can’t answer me, but what is it specifically that you’re looking for? But I do want to share a resource that I recently learned about that could be beneficial. There’s a podcast that I just learned about that is run by a retired law enforcement officer and all he does is interview and share stories and opportunities with other retirees. So, I’m going to find out what the name of that is, because I just learned about it, and I can share that. But as far as I think my question would be, it would depend on what it is that you’re looking for.

Host: You know, and I, I, I agree. 1000%, the ones that I would also chime in with, for Eric or anybody else, I have found LinkedIn to be invaluable. So, you set up a profile page. It’s kind of like Facebook for professionals. It is not strictly a job board, though. It has job functions. People and companies post job opportunities all the time on LinkedIn. But finding and meeting new people, experts, people who just think like you, it’s been amazing. I will tell you, that the majority of our speakers here at Justice Clearinghouse are also on LinkedIn and continue to share other ideas, and other articles that they do as well. So, Eric, if you’ve not started a profile page on LinkedIn, I would recommend you take a look at that as well.


Audience Question: How does an organization assist someone who’s retiring and has been trapped in an addiction for most of their career? We don’t typically retire well and much of the traumas and turmoil we didn’t deal with the first time really start to weigh heavily when we leave. Wendy, I think you were talking about that in conjunction with your wellness program that you have there at Sedgwick County. 

Wendy Hummell: Yeah, that’s a really good question. And I can tell you that that is something that’s really important to us in our wellness program, because I am a retiree, and nothing was extended to me when I retired. In fact, I probably could have used it. And I know a lot of other people that could…. there’s not a lot of focus depending on your agency on that. Once you’re getting ready to retire, the focus is more on, you can go talk to the people when it comes to your pension, the financial piece of it. But all of those other things the compartmentalization, the mental and emotional issues. Those things, they don’t just go away like some people think they will want to retire ——– a lot of times they can bombard you and you don’t even realize are there until you’re gone because you have space and time and quiet. And so, this is something that is really important. And so, I can tell you what we are trying to do here. We have people who are retirees who are on our peer support team. We encourage retirees to take advantage of the resources that we offer. We have an app, we have a peer support team. There are other resources and things that we do here to support retirees because we understand that just because you leave the agency and leave the job, that doesn’t mean that everything that you did while you were a part of the agency doesn’t matter. I think we do a very poor job in general, in law enforcement, in first responder professions, in just allowing people to leave without really taking this particular part of a retiree’s health into account. So, I don’t have a great answer. I just know that each agency really needs to make sure that they do this. I can tell you that one of the things that we’re doing in our wellness program is we’re starting to do lunch and learn, and so really try to hit on different topics for different people. One of the things that we discuss is absolutely talking about retirement, just not that financial piece but the bigger picture. And making sure when people get ready to retire, this is probably the biggest thing that we really, really do here, is encouraging those retirees to go seek some sort of support, whether it be through our EAP, or in-house therapists, or outside of that. To start to do those things, unravel those things before they walk out the door.

Host: Well, I can only imagine having those retirees be part of a peer support program. It’s not only a good resource for them if they need support, but also for your people on duty who have somebody who’s been through what they’ve been through without seeing them every day on the job, as well, I would imagine.

Wendy Hummell: Yeah, and I think the one thing that we really discount is a lot of the institutional knowledge that walks out the door when someone retires, and how we can capitalize on that not just for the benefit of those newer people. But also, how beneficial that can be and kind of turning it back about purpose and meaning for that retiree to be able to feel like they’re making a difference and contributing.


Audience Question: Do you think you would still feel fulfilled had you not continued working with law enforcement in some capacity during your retirement? Kind of like what you did, you went from Wichita PD to Sedgwick County. You were still kind of within law enforcement. So, do you think you would have had that same level of fulfillment if you had not necessarily gone to Sedgwick County? 

Wendy Hummell: So, you may not like this answer, but I don’t know. But really, I can tell you that I did struggle personally for a little bit of time. And in that, I over-identified a little bit with my job and the way that I retired, which is probably a story for another day. But I knew that it was important to me to work with first responders with what I’m doing now. And so, whether that me being hired in the position that I’m in, which wasn’t what I planned. I planned on doing this work in a different way. I just didn’t know what it looked like. I thought, maybe I would just teach and present outside of a full-time job. So, I can’t really answer that. I can tell you now, five years post-retirement in the development and the growth that I’ve had for myself, that if I left this full-time job today, I would, I would, I would absolutely feel fulfilled, and have purpose and meaning, but I don’t know that I would have felt like out right away after I retired.


Click Here to Watch a Recording of Side Hustles and Second Careers. 



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