Women Over Fifty—Your Encore Career

Posted on September 10, 2008. Filed under: Careers at Midlife, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I’m reading a fascinating book, ENCORE: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Life, by Marc Freeman.

Here are some of his thoughts:

Retirement as we’ve known it is in the midst of being displaced as the central institution of the second half of life.  It’s being supplanted by a new stage of life opening up between the end of midlife and the arrival of true old age, a period that essentially amounts to the second half of life, at least adult life.  And that’s just the half of it:  The new phase under development is every bit as much a new stage of work.

 We now know that baby boomers are going to work longer than their parents did, whether they have to or want to, or most likely of all, will be propelled to extended working lives by some combination of the two.  Four out of five boomers consistently tell researchers that they expect to work well into what used to be known as the retirement years.  And half of those between 50 and 70 say that they want to do work that improves life in their communities.

The movement of millions of these individuals into a new phase of work constitutes one of the most significant transformations in work this country has witnessed since millions of women broke through to new roles in the labor market, roles that had been off-limits to their mothers’ generation.  And much like the movement of women into the workplace, boomers’ extended stay on the job is likely to have reverberations for all generations and for the very nature of work in America.

Longer working lives bring with them many potential benefits for individuals—a longer time to earn and save, as well as purpose, structure, physical and mental health, and an expanding social circle. The people I profile in the book and many others are finding encore careers doing the most important and rewarding work in their lives.  It’s not easy, but they are questioning their values, following their passions, rethinking their training, networking, volunteering as a way to paid employment, and selling their experience as an asset. Today’s typical 55- or 60-year-old is not interested in heading permanently for the sidelines.

Interesting stuff—and, yes, we boomers will continue to change the world. Our Encore careers will be one more major movement to add to our legendary list of far-reaching accomplishments. What a generation!!! 


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3 Responses to “Women Over Fifty—Your Encore Career”

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It’s wonderful to be able to make a different career choice at midlife and beyond. Those before us stayed with the same company or doing the same work until they got the “gold watch”-I don’t ever want to dust one of those off! Yes, new work breathes new life into our souls!

Very insightful article! Thanks for the inspiration :). Baby boomers of all ages have much to experience and lot’s to offer. I’ve written a few articles as well on volunteer vacations and meaningful travel.



My first career was teaching, 30 years of no bathroom breaks! My second career is that of an entrepreneur. There are many opportunities and this time, I get bathroom breaks because I am my own boss!

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