E176 Professional Pivot with Reyna Marder Gentin

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Is 50 too late for a professional pivot?

Maybe you are looking for a professional pivot. Have you lost interest in your job? In your career? Your industry? Are you just showing up at work hoping to get through another day?

I hear from so many of my listeners that the scariest part of a pivot in your 50s is that you will, in fact, become a new person. Gasp!

When that happens, it means that you will be saying goodbye to that person you used to be. Our guest offers a beautiful perspective on moving on to something new with fond feelings for your past.

In this episode, criminal defense attorney Reyna Marder Gentin reflects on 2014 when she shed the “I am a public defender” label. Adding to that troubling idea, she had no idea what she would say instead to describe “what she does”.  She just wasn’t sure. Although she did not have financial pressure to find another paycheck, she was not ready to retire. Reyna tried piano lessons and going to the gym. Neither gave her a sense of a new identity.

Luckily for her, a friend “dragged” her to a memoir writing class at Sarah Lawrence College. She now credits that friend and that class with changing her life. The class gave her the opportunity to write about her lost sense of identity.

Through that process, she found the perfect combination of her professional skills and her newly found talent as a writer. The result: Reyna is now a published author. Unreasonable Doubts, her first novel is a legal thriller, love story featuring a lead character who is a public defender facing the same professional burnout that Reyna experienced in her late 40s,

Reyna shares with us the details of both her experiences of leaving a career you are proud of but DONE with and that of finding a new purpose and passion in becoming a writer.


About Reyna Marder Gentin

Reyna Marder Gentin on Experience 50 PodcastReyna Marder Gentin attended college and law school at Yale. She was a litigation associate at Debevoise & Plimpton before clerking for the Honorable Leonard B. Sand in the Southern District of New York. For many years, she practiced as an appellate attorney representing criminal defendants who could not afford private counsel. Reyna studies at the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College and her fiction and personal essays have been published in print and online.

In November 2018, Reyna’s debut novel, Unreasonable Doubts, was published by She Writes Press. Equal parts legal thriller and love story, Kenneth Feinberg called it “thrilling and informative, a superb novel that should be read by all those interested in how our criminal justice system really works.”  Floyd Abrams agreed, calling Unreasonable Doubts “a delectable book about a charming and savvy young lawyer dealing with demanding personal and professional issues of enormous interest to any reader.” More on Reyna HERE.


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