We often talk about how boomers have redefined the concept of retirement for the modern professional world. It’s not hard to see how people have come to that conclusion, as retirement has become an almost outdated concept with no defined age, and many have abandoned retirement altogether to pursue other career ambitions. But in that regard, maybe it’s not so much the concept of retirement that boomers have redefined, but rather the concept of career.
It seems much more appropriate, seeing as boomers seem to have little interest for retirement in the first place, but they do certainly seem interested in exploring new areas of career. Which brings us to the concept of the encore career.
The simple definition of an encore career is the professional path taken once you leave behind your so-called “primary career”. It’s a path that boomers have warmly embraced, and you might even say they invented it when it’s all said and done. There are some different reasons for the encore career, including financial necessity, but unlike returning to your previous career, there is something more to the encore career that suggests a new outlook concerning the professional world.
Encore career is really, at the risk of sounding over-dramatic, a second chance. Boomers have long ago understood that come the age of 60, they are not ready to kick up their feet and preoccupy themselves with golf for the rest of their lives. However, while staying in the workforce is appealing to them, they develop a new perspective of their place in the professional world. While financial gains can still remain a factor, passion and purpose begin to rise on the priority list. They seek opportunities to pursue those long held dreams or to participate in work that holds a special significance for them.
Starting to sound familiar?
By now, you know if an encore career is what you want. And for those who don’t choose this path, there is nothing wrong with that. Some can find contentment in retirement through their lifestyles, interests and hobbies, and more power to them. But if an encore career sounds like that very thing you’ve been seeking, the question becomes, what are you waiting for?
Some boomers fear the pursuit of their encore career because of the small but loud voices criticism and negativity that say it’s too late to start again, and you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. It’s true, leaving behind a career that you’ve held for 20-30 years and trying something else can be terrifying, as can putting yourself in the vulnerable position of pursuing a passion. But in reality, it’s not so much starting again as it is taking a do-over, but this time on your own terms. As for the thoughts that you’re too old to learn the new skills necessary for an encore career, let me remind you every change you’ve adapted to over your career. No generation has been witness to more significant changes to the professional world as boomers have. Your whole career has been learning new tricks.
Remember, boomers have changed the concept of career so why not take advantage of it? This isn’t your second act, this is your chance to do things your way, everything that came before was just a warm-up.