- LATIN AMERICA
- MIDDLE EAST
- United Kingdom
- United States
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- iHaveNet.com: Career
By Christine Larson
Pamela Harris, then 61, realized the future she'd anticipated just a few years earlier was going to be different than she'd thought. For one thing, Harris still got tremendous satisfaction from her law practice. For another, the financial meltdown had eaten into her profits and her investments along with everyone else's. "It became clear I was going to have to rethink," says Harris, who lives in Falcon Heights, Minn. Rethink she did. Today Harris is pursuing a master's degree in library and information science at
It doesn't take much imagination to see that retirement at age 65 is increasingly a nonstarter. Home values have plunged in city after city; since the housing crash began, prices have dropped as much as 70 percent in Phoenix, for example, and up to 65 percent in Miami. While the stock market has bounced back from its low point in 2009, the
It's little wonder that more people are working into their 70s (or planning to). "The old vision of leisure-based retirement is yesterday's conversation," says Marci Alboher, vice president of
Mid-career folks can begin by imagining a job they might actually want to do into their 70s, bearing in mind that what was entirely satisfying during their wealth-building 30s may feel empty in the senior years. "As people get older, they care more about how they're spending their time, and their motivation changes," says Laura Carstensen, director of the Stanford Center on Longevity. Encore Careers (www.encore.org), an online publication from
"I realized I wanted to give back to the community," says Ed Jones of Tempe, Ariz., 62, who took part in a job-training program for older workers at
Evaluate, too, the environment you think you'll prefer long term. "Many of my clients move from full-time employment to consulting" when they realize they want to do the same tasks but on their own terms, says Los Angeles executive management coach Brenda Eddy. She advises clients to scout out projects they could do for their employer on an independent basis after they leave. Landing and accomplishing an assignment "establishes you as the go-to person for project work" and should help you sell yourself to other clients.
Anita Porter started working for
It's no coincidence that nearly half of this year's AARP winners are healthcare companies; health is one of several industries experiencing a shortage of skilled labor. Because such industries tend to be more creative and open-minded in attracting and retaining talent, they're a good bet for older employees looking for new ways to work. Besides healthcare, fields that are facing shortages now, or expect to, include nonprofit management; primary, secondary, and special education; social services such as child care and assistance for the elderly; engineering; software development; and library science.
Like Ed Jones, many people are finding their way into these fields via a training program tailored for older workers.
Some programs serve more as entryways to a new field.
The $50 Human Services Paraprofessional Training Program that Ed Jones took included 40 classroom hours exposing students to opportunities in professions short of workers plus 80 hours of unpaid field experience with companies that had made in-class presentations. "Before, employers saw I spent 34 years with
For-profit companies are also popping up to help older career switchers.
Starting in fall 2012, the
The long view.
A good way for younger workers to invest in their future value is to start preparing early for self-employment. In 2009, nearly 1 in 5 workers over 65 was self-employed, compared with about 10 percent of workers overall, and those numbers are apt to keep growing. Paradoxically, one of the best routes is to spend a few years with a corporate behemoth. "You'll have a lot more credibility when you go out on your own if you have even two years at a GE or an
Taking the long view at mid-career might well suggest a time-out for more education. Since 1987, the number of graduate students over 40 has doubled, according to estimates by the
Before going back for a degree, though, you might consider whether there are shortcuts to the credentials you're seeking. More than 200 nursing programs in the country offer accelerated RN training lasting 11 to 18 months for people who hold bachelor's degrees, for instance; standard programs typically take two to four years. The Career Switchers program offered at 23 community colleges in Virginia allows college grads with five years of work experience to earn provisional teaching credentials in just 16 weeks. "You want the best academic credential you can get, but you don't necessarily need an M.B.A.," says Eddy. Even a several-week executive education program at
Perhaps the biggest impact of the changed working landscape will be felt by the young people just entering the workforce. They'll clearly need to be ready for frequent changes in direction -- no more putting the career on cruise control. "In driver's ed, they told us to look right in front of us, but also scan the horizon for what's down the road," says Kanigel. It was her experience -- and career experts agree -- that actively using "that same kind of close, medium, and far vision" is the key to negotiating all curves ahead.
Available at Amazon.com:
Careers - Working Into Your 70s: A Smart Retirement Move
Article: Copyright ©. All rights reserved.