For many of you, a second act in your professional life may be far off in the distant future. For others, retirement is looming and you may not be quite ready to let go of gainful employment. Enter the encore career—or rather any professional endeavor(s) that you engage in after you’ve exited your main career.
Encore careers are quickly becoming all the rage, probably because we are living longer, our economy is volatile and many are retiring at a much younger age. So whether you’ve got thirty or three years until retirement, there’s a lot you may want to think about, and plan for, so your encore career will be exciting and fulfilling.
Revisit Your Dreams. Retirement is a great time to do something that you’ve always wanted to do. I know someone who’s always wanted to be a fire fighter. For whatever reason, he never pursued the path in his prime but is now happily engaged leading a team of volunteer fire fighters in his retirement phase. I’m certain you know of people who have gone back and picked up their dream right where they left it. Age doesn’t matter. The dream is still very real, and people are proving time and again that just because you may be older and wiser, it doesn’t mean you can’t live out your childhood fantasies as your encore career.
Retire Your 9 to 5. Retirement isn’t reserved for sixty-five and up. Many professionals are entering into their encore career at a much earlier stage in life. Sometimes it’s due to their partner’s continual support, other times it’s taking advantage of a corporate buyout. For some it may be the desire to leave the daily grind and for others, it’s all about turning on the switch of an encore career earlier than expected. Perhaps, retiring your nine to five isn’t such a bad idea if you’re ready to hustle.
I have personally witnessed—and worked with—numerous individuals who’ve started a side hustle that has transitioned into something big and bold and the next thing you know, they’re retired at thirty-five and living the dream. This can be you, too. Even if you prefer a slower, steadier pace towards your encore career, you can still start something on the side and see where it goes. Who knows, this might be the beginning of an empire.
Rework Your Network. ‘Time flies’ and ‘life goes quickly’ pretty much sum up many of the reasons it doesn’t hurt to think about your future way in advance. So why not revisit your network now and start brainstorming your future with them. In other words, start doing some in-depth informational interviewing, not in hopes of planning your next job (although that might be an added outcome bonus), but instead seeking mentoring, stories, partnerships, inspiration and advice for the next chapter in your career. Your network is rich with ideas and support for your encore career. Perhaps they are looking for a corporate consultant; odds are your intellectual capital is worth a fortune. What about partnerships? Maybe the colleague from your last company is looking for someone to open a winery with. Or maybe your friend from your book club has a great story about her aunt who knits scarves for the needy. Who’s your inspiration? Who can support you? Who can you partner with?
Encore careers don’t have to be enormous endeavors, nor do you need to go it alone. As they say to high-school kids, “Start now thinking about your future.” It’s great advice at any age.
How To Be Career Happy? Start Prepping For Your Encore Career