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What To Look For In Your Encore Career

January 15, 2018

Many boomer professionals are not only pushing back their retirement, but exploring new career paths. Learn how to find a fulfilling encore career.

Last week we discussed the concept of the encore career and how it might appeal to so many boomers. With that in mind, this week we turn our attention to what is needed for a successful encore career. It is clear that this is a path that interests many boomers and part of that appeal, as we discussed in the previous piece, comes down to having more control over their careers this time around. But in order to have that control, one needs to approach their encore careers informed and with a plan.  Despite your years of experience in the workforce, it’s a daunting thing to take on new challenges no matter your age. So when you are considering your encore career, what do you need to keep in mind?

Why do you want to keep working?

Absolutely your purpose for going back to work is one of the most important factors. As we’ve said many times before, there are a number of reasons for rejoining the workforce. A lot of attention is paid to the fact that many boomers may not have saved enough to comfortably retire which forces them back to work. Some people are scared of the boredom retirement could bring and use work as a way of staying active. Others seek to explore their passions or bring new purpose to their career. For many people, their reasons for returning to work could be a combination of all three. The truth is there is no wrong answer for why you want to return to work, but understanding your own reasons is important. Knowing why you want to keep working allows you to set out your goals, approach it the right way and achieve what you want to get out of it in the end.

What changes do you want to make?

Consider what you like about your current or past career. What were some of the highlights? Is there anything you don’t like about your current position? If you could do it all again, what would you change? What would your ideal career look like? These are all excellent questions to ask yourself when exploring your options for an encore career. Again, this is your chance to take a second crack at your career, but this time on your own terms. Identifying what you liked and what you didn’t like means you can help to shape your encore career to fit your preferences. This could include preferences like working from home, no business travel, more collaboration or any number of other details that will make this career all the more fulfilling.

What would make it all worth while?

Now comes the most difficult question to answer. It takes a bit of the insight from the previous two questions but also requires some serious self-reflection as well. What you need to do is reflect on your new career path and think about what the end goal is. Again, why are you returning to work? But go deeper than that. Pursuing a passion is a good reason to return to work, but after you’ve returned, what direction is next? Returning to work is a sacrifice. As much as you might think retirement isn’t for you, you are giving up time to go back to work. What would make that decision undoubtedly worth while? When it’s all said and done, what would make you happy with the decision you made? See, not an easy one to answer. But the beautiful thing about an encore career is that it puts you in the driver’s seat. You are the one making the decisions and the answers to these questions can only come from you.

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