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Janet Kraft

Janet Kraft

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

I'm Janet Lee Kraft, a woman who wound up her corporate career 17 years ago and enjoyed semi-retirement -- at least until life necessitated a return to the working world. My new corporate job is as Community Outreach Coordinator at ELG Estate Planning. One facet of my job is to create a presence for the firm in the Puget Sound. This has proven to be much harder than I thought, but I am learning a lot about how to approach this through the women in Ellevate.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

I'm a new member, and am just learning my way around and getting acquainted. But I'm meeting fabulous women in all stages of life, and I find that inspiring.

What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?

My most memorable career accomplishment is writing an end-of-life book (and the accompanying workbook) called, "Leaving Lightly: Getting Your Affairs in Order so All You Leave Behind is Love." I researched and wrote that during a time of unemployment, and my personal and professional lives have focused on this topic ever since.

What are some career challenges on your radar?

While no one likes to talk about their age, I have earned every single white hair and every wrinkle, and I am determined to make that count. Involuntarily going back into corporate America at retirement age has been a challenge that I didn't see coming. And, my "career path" looks VERY different from most of the women in Ellevate. I had always heard that "older workers" were discriminated against, and I chalked that up to conspiracy theorists. I was wrong. I know that now. And it's scary.

We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?

I spent most of my working career doing work that, for the most part, paid the bills but deadened my soul, so in my mid-forties I left corporate America to attend an interfaith seminary. My work as an interfaith minister fed me emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, but it was a financial train wreck. After 17 years of ministry happily performing hundreds of sermons, weddings, funerals and baby blessings, I had to return to corporate America out of financial necessity. But I was so incredibly lucky in that, by this time, my former boss (and friend of 30 years) owned her own law firm, and when I asked for a job, she instantly said "yes" and told me to write my own job description. I can in some respects combine my ministry with what I'm doing for the law firm. It doesn't get any better than that!

What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?

When my boss told me to write up my own job description, I wrote up my ideal job. She agreed to it. It has since morphed to fit the needs of the firm, but in large part, I am doing work that I really enjoy doing, which is public speaking, teaching, writing and coming up with creative marketing ideas. And I LOVE that I'm working remotely. Gosh, you just can't beat the commute!

What is your morning ritual?

I need three hours before I begin my work day: one hour to putter around the kitchen, drink tea, check personal email, glance at Facebook, and catch up with the news; one hour for my meditation practice, and one hour to get myself ready.

What is your favorite social media site? Why?

I wish I wasn't, but I find a lot of value in Facebook ONLY BECAUSE it allows me to keep up with friends around the country that I would never keep up with otherwise. And also, many of the memes, videos and pictures are quite entertaining.

What would you say your personal superpower is?

Creativity is my superpower. I think WAY out of the box, and I'm fortunate in that my boss supports that. It makes me happy, and it takes the firm to places it would not normally go.

Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?

I insist upon working 3/4 time precisely because I NEED a work/life balance. I have done that for most of my working career. I suffer financially because of that, of course, but it's a trade-off that is worth it. My no-fail tactic for balance is daily meditation. It's my priority. If I can't start my work day with a calm and positive demeanor, then I'm not giving myself or my firm my best effort.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.