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What’s Next for Boomers? A Little R&R…. & Also R

Reinventing, redefining, re-careering


Boomers are entering that next stage of their careers and, in true Boomer fashion, are making it their own. A generation that for so long has worked to support themselves and their families is now reexamining, turning inward, and asking some tough questions. What haven’t I done but want to do? Do I even want to retire? How can I make a difference in the next stage of my career? How can I use my skills to do the most for people? What if I want to do something that I’m completely unqualified for but have the passion, energy, and determination to tackle?

Welcome to the “encore stage” for Boomers. When approaching this encore, no two Boomers are alike. Some are counting down the days to a relaxing retirement of empty nesting, traveling, or relocating. Others are “re-careering,” aka closing the door on a 30-ish-year career only to open the wardrobe door of another one, often to a world of mystery, unknowns, and exciting new challenges. Though the doors open to vastly different worlds depending on the Boomer, here are the three most common re-careering themes on the other side.

Theme #1 – Giving Back
Many Boomers are sitting on non-profit organization boards, volunteering (this is the activism generation, after all), or taking on leadership roles in charitable organizations. After decades of hard work, Boomers are feeling the need to give back. According to a recent MetLife report, 21% of Boomers are choosing encore careers in order to make a difference (that comes in after the #1 choice, which is to supplement income). These encore careers have many manifestations. It could be a financial advisor taking on “ordinary clients” or an IT Director turned charitable giving officer. The optimistic and idealistic Boomer bunch are ready to make the most of their next decades, partially because they can and also because it’s part of their generational DNA. Look no further than encore.org, an organization dedicated to tapping into the skills of experienced workers to improve communities and the world.
Theme #2 – Entrepreneur Times
With the ability to create an LLC with the click of a button, innovation has never been more accessible, and Boomers are excitedly signing up. They have years of work experience and a large network of connections, backers, and comrades. According to Gallup, they are twice as likely as Millennials to say they want to start a business in the next year. Their experience gives them a leading edge both externally within certain demographics as well as internally for personnel management and mentorship. What better generation to go into an entrepreneurial mode when their Boomster cohorts are shaking up preconceptions of what aging looks like and what cities they live in?
Theme #3 – The Return
Many Boomers leave their respective organizations only to be called upon by HR and current leaders to come back. Boomers’ knowledge of process, procedure, and company history is crucial to advancing business goals. They’ve built up such a wealth of industry and organization knowledge that often when they leave, their absence can be keenly felt. Companies like Boeing and Proctor & Gamble have conquered the challenge of engaging retirees with YourEncore, a company dedicated to distributing talent back into their respective companies. We’re seeing Boomers return to environments where they speak the language but are working fewer hours and have more flexibility to do the work they love at the pace they desire.

What kind of retirement encore career do you want?