7/2/2013 8:45 PM ET|
10 ways to get a dream retirement job
Whether out of necessity or boredom, many Americans are going back to work after they retire. Here are some tips to find the right job.
Years ago, Americans worked for one company or union – and then retired with a plaque, a pension and a pat on the back.
Today, though, with longer life spans, Americans are “retiring” and going to work at jobs or enterprises that fulfill new dreams.
Dakota Hoyt, 68, is a case in point. She spent more than 30 years as a successful school administrator before retiring with a handsome pension. When a friend started a training business for teachers, Hoyt began working part time for the organization. The friend eventually grew too sick to continue running the business at about the time Hoyt got her “second wind” and wanted to increase her role. Her story is included in the new book about later-life choices "The Wonder of Aging: A New Approach to Embracing Life After Fifty" by Michael Gurian.
Ultimately, Hoyt was chosen to succeed her friend as executive director. “What I thought would be exhausting isn’t,” says Hoyt. “I’m doing what I’m called in this life to do, again, and it fulfills me. I love it and will do it until I can’t do it anymore.”
This post-retirement stage of work actually has a name, according to Gurian. He calls it “the age of distinction.”
“Like many others, Dakota Hoyt is going gangbusters,” Gurian told The Fiscal Times. “For many people in the 65-to-80 age bracket, this is about distinguishing oneself and leaving a legacy. People like her are certainly glad to make a living, glad to have a business plan -- but this is also about their lives as elders, with something still to offer society and others.”
Management consultants, career experts and others are increasingly seeing new post-retirement careers play out.
“Retirement can be the ultimate career reboot,” says Michele Woodward, an executive coach in the Washington, D.C., area. “When people have rigidly defined themselves by their lifelong career, as in, ‘I’m a doctor, damn it’ -- by shifting that position, they can totally change their lives. There can be a new freedom in calling themselves a ‘former doctor’ who can now do something else.”
Today, “we can have a whole series of careers throughout our lives,” adds Woodward, noting that Lou Gerstner, the former head of IBM, recently bristled in an interview with The Washington Post when the word “retirement” was used to describe his current situation. “I don’t use that word,” Gerstner responded. Instead, he said he prefers the term “portfolio life.”
“We’ll be seeing more of this,” says Woodward. “This is a radical change from the experience of our parents and grandparents, whose working lives basically ended at retirement.” The good news is that “there’s a strong ability to continue earning and taking advantage of opportunities as they come along.”
Moving well past 'work'
Career professionals aren't the only ones changing things up later in life. Woodward recently got a LinkedIn notice from “a woman who had been at home with her kids for over 20 years and is now working as a mortgage loan officer at a large bank. She changed her definition of herself into something new and full of learning.”
Gurian began collecting anecdotal evidence about these work changes in later life, then quantified his findings and researched the biology and psychology behind the shift. “At around age 65, at what’s typically been called retirement age, not only is the brain different than when we’re 55 -- we have a new psychological and emotional freedom,” says Gurian. “Many of us have supported a family, put the kids through college, had success in our respective fields -- we’ve done all that. Now we have enough income to concentrate on other things. We become much more focused on wanting to leave a legacy through this new focus.”
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