It is not a secret to anyone who knows me that I have spent the last few years struggling to find my place in the world. What is super weird is that up until 2009 I had spent my whole life on a direct path, in fact you could say I always knew exactly where I was headed. And then seemingly overnight, I lost my way (or maybe it is more appropriate to say I began to find my way). I veered off course and have been taking a series of new paths, most of which have dead ended, ever since.
Who knew I was heading off in search of my encore career; where I could make a living while making a difference?
Yesterday as I was turning away from the non-fiction new releases shelf at the library, with three new books under my arm, I felt a weird sense that I was missing something important. I scanned through the new titles seeing nothing relevant. Just as I was about to give up, The Encore Career Handbook, by Marci Alboher and its very relevant tagline “How to make a living AND a difference in the second half of life” jumped out at me.
I had heard the words “encore career” from someone a few weeks earlier and hadn’t yet followed up on the lead. So finding this book was a sign for me. And sure enough from page one I felt an immediate sense of relief that I was not alone and I wasn’t going crazy (or worse yet), having a senior moment. There are others in the world like me, possibly 31 million others according to the book, who are currently in flux and in search of meaningful work. In fact it is fast becoming the new normal for those of us in our second half of life.
To those that attempt to label older workers I suggest you stop trying to quash us. Quash: to put down or suppress completely, to subdue; set aside. I cannot speak for all over 50 workers, but I can say that I am far from done. The book has given me hope that I can, and will, figure out my next move.
I am not an old dog. I can be taught new things, in fact, I am anxious to learn. I will make money and make a difference. Quite possibly my encore “job” will not be labeled a job at all, but rather a “purpose”.
There is great power in purpose, and in numbers. Look out, world-- as soon as those of us in search of our encore careers find our way--we will proudly be showing off our tricks.
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