If you’re 50, or over, you still have a lot to offer society. In fact, this age could be the start of your “encore” performance in life where you can still change the world in your own unique way. Encore.org aims to help Boomers do just that. Their mission is built around the 3 “P’s” – finding purpose, passion and a paycheck in your “second act” career.
And, Encore.org even sponsors a prize – The Purpose Prize – $100,000 awarded to people age 60 and over who are not going quietly into that dark night of retirement. Rather, they’re leaving old roles behind and moving gung ho into new adventures where they’re accomplishing some pretty amazing things to help society.
People who join Encore find leads to new careers either using old skills in a new way or going back to school to learn new skills to put to use in a different way. For example, Jan, 56, who got laid off from real estate, was on unemployment, and caring for aging parents. In taking care of her parents, she learned how to make her parents home safer and designed other ways to help “empower” them. She found that she was good at caring for older people and decided to expand on that. She took courses in Gerontology – the study of aging – and soon opened 24 Hour Angels, a caregiving service for the elderly, with her sister.
Then, there’s Michael, a former corporate human resources executive, who decided he’d had enough with corporate ladder climbing. He decided to give back to his community by managing Human Resources for the Girl Scouts, a nonprofit organization. He not only enjoys what he does much more now and has reached a level of fulfillment that he didn’t have in his former capacity, and his paycheck is about the same as it was in corporate America.
Some tips from successful “encorers” for those seeking second act careers:
1. Know what drives you. Are you attracted to leadership positions or behind the scenes work?
2. Know where the jobs are that you seek. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes lists of fastest growing occupations. Don’t forget to include nonprofits like Michael’s Girl Scouts. Contrary to what many people think they do pay people to do work for them.
3. Expand your network. Join LinkedIn and Facebook to connect with professional organizations, people in the field you’d like to enter.
4. Volunteer as an unpaid intern. Offer a few hours a week to a business, organization that you are interested in to learn how it works.
5. Brush up on skills. Take a class, get a certificate, and participate in a workshop to update your skills.