Encore career, or second-act career, are terms that are becoming more and more used as a vast number of Baby Boomers are moving past the careers they’ve had for years. In fact, according to a 2008 MetLife survey, “more than 5 million people ages 44 to 70 had begun encore careers”.
These are new careers, and a lot of the time, these new “encore careers” are ones Baby Boomers have chosen for themselves, and in many instances it is because these careers provide what their previous ones did not.
More often than not, someone will choose an encore career to fulfill a inner desire of public service and giving back to society. A lot of Baby Boomers who have switched their careers in mid-life will announce proudly that the primary reason for their switch was based on their wanting to do something positive for the world.
Self-fulfillment, excitement, actually providing something other than a paycheck to those around them… the satisfaction of doing something they LIKE to do, not what is expected of them. These people want to learn new skills, change how and maybe where they live. Basically speaking, after years of waiting – they are wanting to finally pursue their dreams.
For a long time, the average 50 to 60 year old American saw retirement as a leisurely ride to their Golden Years. After they had worked at one company for 30 years, they got a retirement party, some memento commemorating their service to the corporation, and a pat on the back.
Then they traveled about for a while, seeing the kids and grandchildren, sightseeing… until they got tired and went back to their homes and a sedentary lifestyle. Fun for a while, but when they got home, they didn’t know what to do with their time or their energies.
Things are rapidly moving away from that – Baby Boomers are realizing that even though their work lives and personal responsibilities have changed; they are still fit, still fully energized, still looking to make a difference, and they are asking, “What and how can I do to something that actually has some meaning?”
They want jobs that supply more than simply an income, they’re looking for careers with meaning. And why not – considering they will very possibly be doing them another ten to twenty years?
These Baby Boomers have never been had a shortage of imagination, ambition, or passion for change – whether that was social or entrepreneurial. These people may be starting afresh in their new career choices but they bring decades of experience to these new chosen fields.
Now, these Baby Boomers are retiring and they are reinventing what it means to ‘retire’. It means that they are carrying some of that 60’s attitude of wanting to change their lives and the world forward to today and transforming what it means to be aging in today’s world.
You might be reading this and asking yourself, “Ok, now what?”. Today is not too late to begin thinking about what it is that makes you happy and how you can use that for a career that you really enjoy – a career that leaves you excited every night when you go to bed knowing that when you get up, you get to go do whatever it is that you want to do.
If you are interested in a second-act or encore career, you might look into:
• Researching fields you’re interested in and finding people who do the same work.
• Going out and conducting information interviews.
• Check out sites such as VocationVacation which allow you to experiment with something you might be interested in without making a life-changing plunge.
• There are a wide range of encore career sites on the Internet which offer career networking opportunities. A lot of the time, they also provide links to community colleges across the country that have retraining programs for people wanting to break into a new career.
• By attending community events or conferences for the industry you are looking at you can talk to the people already there and get insights and a better feel for your new encore career.
• Locate and read trade publications and blogs for your chosen industry. These are always a great source of information and will also give you a sense of what is going on in the industry.
• After all that, take time to assess whether you need to update your skills. There are some industries where what you know will make you the perfect fit. There are other industries where you might be looking at a 10 years learning entry timeframe.
• By turning their hobbies into businesses many Baby Boomers take their enjoyment they gain from their hobby to the next level and create thriving businesses for themselves.
• Others are taking the decades of expertise and knowledge gained in their former careers and using that in mentoring young business people through programs designed for just that purpose (SCORE being the most famous).
o Something that a lot of people don’t consider when thinking about mentoring is the vast difference they can make through their church – these avenues to help are sometimes overlooked and nearly every Pastor and Priest will welcome your assistance with open arms.
Working with a Life or Transitions Coach will assist you in keeping you grounded, and at the same time will keep you focused on your goal with accountability, cheerleading, and reframing some of the bumps along your journey to change.
There was a time when people would look to Harland Sanders, Mary Kay Ash, and Ray Kroc as example of the extraordinary – people who had started over later in life and become extremely successful. Not anymore! Now, people in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’, even into their 70’s are redefining their lives and beginning new careers and lives for themselves.
While altruism is one of the major reasons for entering into an encore career, there can also be a financial motivation. Some seniors look at the economic times we are in and worry about the amount of their benefits, or want to ensure that they are covered by good health insurance. Others may not have enough retirement benefits to make full retirement an option, so they seek out a career which will support them into old age.
Whether it is due to the sluggish economic times or because you want to make a difference, give back something, or explore new vistas – Baby Boomers are not looking at retirement as a time to settle back, drive 55 in the fast lane, or visit every KOA campground in ten states.
While they may still take time to quietly work in their gardens, go places they always dreamt of, and take life at a little less hectic pace – Baby Boomers are looking at the ‘Second Act’ or ‘Encore Career’ as being what they WANT to do, not have to do.
What are some of the things you would like to do? Think about it and give me a call. We can start working on what you want to do when you grow up.