Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Encore Career

After I decided to end my thirty-seven-year insurance career, I started looking for the next step. After all, I’m only fifty-eight and have too much energy to spend the next thirty years sitting in a rocker on the front porch. Besides, I don’t feel done. I may be done getting up at 5:40 a.m. to attend marketing meetings, but there are still many things I want to learn and accomplish. There’s also the financial angle. I’m grateful to have this flexibility, but I’m not ready to abandon earned income entirely.

When I started investigating the possibilities, one of the first concepts I encountered was the Encore Career. The best way to learn about encore careers is to go straight to the source. In its own words, Encore.org is “a non-profit organization working to promote encore careers—second acts for the greater good”. This site is packed with information and resources to help older workers considering a late-life career change who are looking for a way to help others or make a meaningful difference in the world, principally by working for a non-profit organization.

A major survey undertaken jointly by the MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures (d.b.a. Encore.org) found that a significant percentage of older workers interested in making a job change indicated they still had life goals to fulfill (28%), as well as a desire to make a positive change in the world (21%). Others felt a spiritual calling to a new line of work (12%). Another aspect to consider is how much you want to work. According to the survey, people in this type of encore career worked about thirty hours per week instead of the usual thirty-five to forty. If this sounds like you, Encore.org has information about classes, internship opportunities, and organizations looking for workers.

If this type of experience appeals to you, consider leveraging your existing business skills into a new, more meaningful activity or taking the opportunity to learn something completely new. Depending on your former job, going the non-profit route might not replace your previous income, but it could be an exciting opportunity—if you can afford it and are looking for a way to add value to your pre-retirement years.

As we age, our priorities often change. Considering an encore career is part of the process of finding your passion. If you’ve done some serious interest and career exploration, as we discussed in the last post, and your recommended options include non-profit ventures, now might be a good time to give them a closer look. 


  1. Thanks for the link. I've bookmarked their site for when I give up teaching. I kinda thought writing was your encore career...

    1. Barb, writing is part of my "portfolio career". Check back on Friday to read about that option.