Coming Out of Retirement

mm Bill Pace

Driven by a ton of different positive and negative forces, fewer people are retiring these days. Of those who do, most are waiting longer to retire than previous generations. Some people are simply extending their current careers. But a lot either have shifted or want to shift to a different career. Often seeking an “Encore Career”, these people want to find work with the right balance of “passion, purpose, and a paycheck”, the tag line for Encore.org, an organization leading the movement to productively extend work in the later years of life. Check them out. They’re doing great work.

But what about those people who HAVE retired but want (or need) to get back to work. What about them? Maybe they can’t afford retirement or maybe they are just plain bored. But for whatever reason, retirement isn’t floating their boats.

Most people re-entering the workforce, especially those coming out of retirement, feel like their best shot is to go back to whatever it was they were doing before.  Maybe that’s right for you, but don’t decide too hastily. This is your chance to recreate yourself. Treat this period as a gift of time that enables you to explore possibilities you couldn’t (or wouldn’t) in the past. Be brave and be adventurous.

Here are some suggestions for getting back in the game:

  1. Take time to reflect on your priorities for your next career. What is it you really want to achieve?
  2. Rank your criteria for assessing what to do next. How will you decide which path is best for you?
  3. Take a fresh look at your interests and skills. Don’t get mentally stuck with what you used to do. How can the totality of you make a positive impact at work?
  4. Think broad, not narrow, and big, not small. Maybe one of your hobbies can lead to a new career. Who knows?
  5. Talk, talk, talk to as many people as you can to identify possible work areas that might be right for you. Once you’ve identified possible areas of interest, find people who can help you understand what that type of work is really like.
  6. Network, network, network. Use this whole process to expand your personal and professional networks.

Indeed, re-entering the workforce can be scary for some, if not most, of us. That’s normal. But you’ll be surprised how much support and counsel you can get for the next phase of your journey, if you just ask.

Bill Pace is Managing Director of ClearlyNext, a guided online career program that helps people of all backgrounds and incomes figure out what to do next. Read more >