The rise of "Second Act" careers

While most people in the generations before us planned carefully and waited eagerly for retirement, times are a-changin’.

Over 40% of professionals over 55 continue to work nowadays, compared to 29% in 1993. As humans start to live longer lives, many senior professionals choose to continue their careers and retire later.

There is also a growing amount of people who decide to start "Second Act" careers in their retirement, instead of playing golf and knitting sweaters. An AARP survey reports that 79% of Baby Boomers plan to work into their retirement years, at least in some capacity.

"Second Act" seems like a trend...

Retirees often build their "encore careers" using transferable skills from their first careers, and many decide to follow their passions or try something new and different.

After working for 30 years, many professionals evolve in their jobs, get promoted a few times, and end up in roles that are immensely different from the roles that they initially were inspired to apply for. If you're a salesperson, you may end up being a sales manager as you rise up the ranks, and all of the sudden, you find yourself managing people instead of creating value for your clients and bringing in new business. As a researcher in a scientific institution, you could start leading major projects, and end up spending half of your time applying for funding or doing client presentations, while what you really love is doing the research.

As older professionals start to have less responsibilities in their personal lives, a lot of people go back to where they first started and rediscover what they loved about their careers.

Suddenly, getting a big corporate paycheck becomes less important than working less hours and doing something worthwhile. When there are some savings in the bank and the kids have left the family home, even living on 100% commissions isn't so tough anymore!

What now?

At 50 or 60 years old, you're free of major financial and family commitments, and still young and interested in making the most of your career. The possibilities are endless… So what should you do in your Second Act career?

Of course it depends on your skills, interests, desired lifestyle, and a whole bunch of other factors. Here are a few simple questions to get your creative juices flowing when you are deciding what you want to do in your Second Act:

  • Why did I choose my first career path in the first place?
  • What was always missing from my day job?
  • What do I find exciting about the future of technology/art/cities/communication/any other field I am interested in? How can I get involved?

Whether you choose to become a flute player, a store manager, or a financial advisor, the important thing is that this time, you do it for yourself, not for a big corporate paycheck, and not to meet the high expectations from your family and/or society.

To finish off, here is a little bit of shameless self-promotion (but the relevant kind). At 2PS, we are actively searching for 2PS Ambassadors in various locations to help us take our project further across the planet. Senior professionals interested in our philosophy and wanting to drive change in the broken professional services indusry are invited to apply.