Do You Really Want a Full-Time Job?
I am over 60 years of age and I do not ever want a full-time job, ever again.
Let me be clear, I have no intention to retire, but I want to work on my terms which means I want to work:
- When I want to work
- On things, I want to work
- Only work as hard as I want to work
I do not want a full-time job, and surely do not want to work for someone else full-time.
The reason I am writing this post is that I have talked to multiple people in the last couple of weeks, who are over 60 years of age and are pursuing what I consider a pipe dream, which dictionary.com defines as any fantastic notion, hope, or story.
That pipe dream is a full-time job in a new industry or profession. I am not saying it cannot be done, but I was predicting that the path there would be very difficult and if they attained that full-time job, it would not be as they expected. They were suffering from MSU (Make Stuff Up) disorder.
Getting an Associate Degree is Programming After 60
I met a gentleman who was sick and tired of what he was doing. He had worked in manufacturing for 30+ years, single, over 60 years of age, and worried about having enough money to retire. He had taught himself to program 15-20 years ago and really loved it.
He planned to go back to school full-time for 2 years, take a student loan, and then get a full-time job working as a programmer. This would mean he would have acquired some significant debt, not contributed to his retirement accounts for 2 years and dipped into savings for living expenses.
My questions for him were:
What kind of programming would he be specializing in? No one just hires a Java programmer without specialization.
Does the area of specialization have legs? Will the area of specialization still be relevant in 2 years? Things are changing so fast that skills that are hot today can be obsolete in 2 years.
What companies or organizations in his area have jobs in the area of specialization?
What are the demographics of the employees doing the programming at those companies, and are these people you want to work with? If they mostly hire 25-year-old guys, would you want to work with them as peers? (For most of 60+ year-olds the answer is no).
He could not answer any of the questions.
He was going to be 63 or 64 years old when he graduated. I then asked him, at that age, do you really want a full-time job, working as a peer with a bunch of kids (20-35 year-olds), and be working 50-60 hour weeks?
He was going to have to think about that, but the answer will probably be, NO!
An Alternative Scenario
In the Career Pivot Membership community, there is Jim. Jim runs a small to medium size professional association that is highly political. His board of directors drives him crazy with their petty politics and games. I should also add that Jim is closer to 70 than 65 years of age.
Jim wants control of his work life and he does not want to stop working. Jim is very mission-driven, he needs a purpose.
Jim is taking an alternative path by starting a portfolio career. He will not have a single full-time job but multiple part-time jobs that he can control. He will be doing the following:
- Part-time advisor for his local Small Business Development Center, working 3-4 days a week
- Teaching one class at the local university as an adjunct professor
- Starting a consulting business working with local municipalities on a variety of issues
- Turn on his Social Security benefits
Does this change scare him? HECK YES!
Will he be working harder than before, for less money? HECK YES!
Will he feel more fulfilled at the end of the day? HECK YES!
Will this stretch him and energize him? HECK YES!
It took a good bit of soul searching and a lot of encouragement from the community to make this change. Jim will probably not have another full-time job, and that is fine with him. He will have more control of his own professional destiny.
One of the common themes in the community is everyone wants freedom. The full-time job often does not give us the freedom that we crave in the 2nd half of life.
The Full-Time Job Fallacy
I was born in the 1950’s, raised by parents who told me to get an education and then go to work for a father-like company that would take care of me. I should work there for 30 or 40 years and then retire.
Those days are gone. Many of us still crave the security of a full-time job or the security of the regular paycheck. When we reach our 60’s, that progressively makes less and less sense. That full-time job restricts us, prevents us from pursuing the goals that we have delayed because of the obligations of raising our families, taking care of our parents or other societal obligations.
I am 62 years old, and I no longer want a full-time job. I want the freedom to control how, when and what I work on.
I am sitting writing this post in Ajijic, Mexico, on the 16th of August, 2018. It is 11:00 AM and the outside temperature is 71 degrees Fahrenheit. It will get up to 79 degrees today, which is much cooler than the 100 degrees it will reach back in my hometown of Austin, Texas. This temperature is normal for the summer rainy season.
I left my last full-time job in January of 2011, and I have not looked back. My wife and I are in the process of moving to Ajijic, Mexico, not because we have to, but because we want to. If I had a full-time job, I would not have the freedom to make this move. You can read more about our journey here.
Do you still want that full-time job?