Ready for a Second Career?
By Elijah Thomas
Try something new instead of fading away into retirement
Older workers are increasingly jumpstarting their careers again late in life, as millions confirmed their participation in a second job for a MetLife Foundation survey. For some, this might mean part-time work that supplements Medicare or retirement income. For others, these are full-time jobs with a local company or nonprofit. Some are even starting their own businesses.
There’s a sense of personal fulfillment in continuing to make important contributions, and earning a paycheck may help make ends meet. Whatever your goals, this new trend has re-written the rules on how the golden years unfold.
Retirement has typically been portrayed as a life of luxury, with mornings filled with tennis or golf, long afternoons with friends and evenings spent in rocking chair moments. The financial reality for many, however, is quite different. Some older workers simply can’t afford to quit their jobs — in particular those who aren’t comfortable with their level of retirement savings or investments. The days of traditional pensions are long gone for the vast majority.
In other cases, retirement-age employees may feel that they have more to offer, in particular those with knowledge and experience that can be of help to others. That’s led them toward new employment opportunities. More than a quarter of older workers are interested in creating a startup or new nonprofit, according to the MetLife Foundation survey.
Job participation has been down for years now, beginning during the advent of the pandemic. Some workplaces remain badly understaffed. These businesses are increasingly in need of dependable, knowledgeable workers. That makes starting a second career easier than ever. Just remember to tailor your candidacy to highlight your particular area of expertise. There will always be younger — and thus, cheaper — workforce options, but they won’t have the years of experience you do.
At the same time, you don’t have to continue forward in the same role — or even the same industry. Don’t be afraid to branch out. If you’ve always had an interest in a particular field, but want to brush up on the latest trends and techniques, consider enrolling in a training program through local universities or community colleges. You might end up in an entirely new second career that highlights skills your old bosses never knew you had.