After you’ve done what you should do in your career, have you considered what you might like to do? For some it’s a question that becomes more relevant the closer they get to retirement, for others it’s part of a wake-up call that comes at mid-career. Either way it’s a chance to kick start your default setting and redefine who you are and what you do.
Interesting how following the tried and true path can free you up to do what you might not have previously dared to dream. Once you’ve paid your dues it can be time to relaunch toward greater fulfillment and purpose in your work.
While the idea of 3 to 5 career shifts over a lifetime may seem daunting, it can be the logical confluence of marketplace dynamics and lifestyle needs – a kind of organic career evolution. Ideally each new role brings a mix of challenges to reignite your energy. Adding skills and increasing your confidence supports career flexibility and also encourages you to reach out for the next stretch goal.
At the same time, Nancy Collamer, M.S., Second-Act Careers, 50 Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi- Retirement, says for many people approaching retirement earning a living may now be a secondary goal compared to the desire to make a difference in the world. “They don’t want to just leave legacy, they want to live one.”
According to a 2011 study by Civic Ventures, a nonprofit think tank on boomers, work and social purpose, “as many as nine million people aged 44 to 70 are already working in ‘encore careers; that combine personal meaning, social impact, and continued income, and an additional 31 million people in the same age group say they are interested in finding encore career-related work. That means roughly 40 % of all boomers hope to be able to find a way to give back through their second act careers.”
If you are among those who want to do leverage your career into doing something more consider jobs where you can mentor or train youth, encourage start-up businesses, work with disadvantaged groups, expand your influence at a national or global level through associations or non-profit organizations, consider becoming a Board member for a foundation or working in the arts, culture and education sectors.
Areas where your contributions, either paid or volunteer, could also support change would include underserved environmental sectors, wellness & nutrition advocacy, healthcare for seniors, joining a local organization you feel does valuable work, fundraising for a cause you believe in, working at a grassroots level on community programs, or becoming part of a public awareness campaign.
Second act career planning takes innovative thinking, but it’s creative time well spent.