Encore Career Redefined
An Encore career or a career that starts in the 2nd half of life has gotten a new focus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has forced many who are older out of their jobs and careers.
Many of you have had the opportunity to re-evaluate your career direction. Why are you doing what you are doing? Why are you leading the life that you currently have?
I recently interviewed Michael Clinton, author of the soon-to-be-released book Roar: into the second half of your life (before it’s too late) for my podcast.
He discussed his 4 step process of ROAR:
- Reimagine Yourself
- Own who you are
- Act on what’s next
- Reassess your relationships to get you there
These are steps to get you started moving forward to your encore career.
First, let’s define the term “encore career”.
Encore Career Definition
The best definition I could find was in a recent post on Investopedia.com that stated:
An encore career is a second vocation beginning in the latter half of one’s life, popularized by author and social entrepreneur Marc Freedman. An encore career is typically pursued for its public or social purpose and a sense of fulfillment as well as for financial reasons.
While encore careers can be found in any sector, they tend to be clustered in five areas: healthcare, the environment, education, government, and the nonprofit sector. Freedman describes the encore career concept in his book Encore: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Life.
The original concept was when we reach our time for retirement we would pursue efforts that provided social good.
I claim that is too narrow a definition in today’s post-COVID-19 world.
Encore Career Redefined
Too many of you have pursued career directions that may have been financially lucrative but sucked the life out of you. You chose those career paths because of direction from family, counselors, or friends. Sometimes your career path was chosen by chance, an opportunity appeared at the right time. Others chose a path because they did not know what they wanted.
I will redefine it as: An encore career is typically pursued for personal fulfillment which can include its public or social purpose and a sense of fulfillment as well as for financial reasons.
My problem with the original definition is not everyone is wired to want to pursue public or social purpose causes. Besides many of our generation need to make money in retirement.
Types of Encore Careers
Encore careers come in many flavors. What your encore career will be should be defined by what makes you fulfilled and your need to earn an income.
I recently sat down with someone who I met over 30 years ago, our sons play soccer together. He was retired but was heavily involved in the local Rotary chapter and his church. The need to earn an income was not there. He could afford to pursue causes that were near and dear to him. He had developed a patchwork of volunteer efforts where he had a choice on what he worked on and how much time and effort he gave.
This was a far cry from his previous life in sales and business development in the foodservice industry.
Some of you have the luxury of being able to classically retire like your parents.
Another example is one of the members of the Career Pivot community who is now a city council member for the city where he lives in Maryland. This position does provide a small salary but that is not why he pursued the position. He wanted to give back to his community or as he has said to me multiple times, he wanted to work on the things in his community that mattered to him and quit complaining about them.
Work at Something Related to Your Previous Career
Maybe you liked what you are doing however, you want to do it less and on your terms.
My orthodontist in Austin is a classical example of this. He loved what he did but did not want to continue to work 5 days a week. He sold his practice to a much younger man with the agreement he would see patients 1-2 days a week. Some patients want to continue to see him and arrange their appointments to come in on the days when he is working.
Another example is scaling back and becoming a consultant. One easy way of doing this is taking on fractional or interim roles at employers in your industry. I interviewed the CEOs of Bolster.com and Patina Nation on my podcast. Both of these platforms are there to match employers with consultants to fill short-term needs at their businesses.
Check out the following podcast episodes:
- Discovering the On-Demand Executive Talent Marketplace with Matt Blumberg
- Fractional and Interim Leadership Roles with Mike Harris of Patina Solutions
Pursue Something Totally New
I am probably a classical example in this category. After leaving my last tech startup in 2011, I was exhausted and never wanted to work in tech again. I was 55 years of age and not ready to retire. Besides retiring at that wage was a stretch.
I took the first 6 months to rest and re-evaluate what I wanted to do. I pursued training in The Birkman Method, worked with a branding expert to create the Career Pivot brand, and hired someone to build my website.
The Career Pivot business was launched in February of 2012. This was a far cry from developing and delivering a sophisticated curriculum for leading-edge technology products.
My intent was to make enough money to pay for health insurance and fund vacations and other endeavors.
Next week I will discuss the encore careers of 3 Career Pivot community members who have successfully launched an encore career.
Your encore career does not need to fill a need in the community but it does need to fill a need for you.Marc Miller
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