Sunday, October 21, 2007

Encore careers

I had not heard the term 'encore careers' until I read a commentary by Marc Freedman in the Nov. 2007 Ode magazine.

Marc is the founder and CEO of the think tank, Civic Ventures (Helping society achieve the greatest return on experience) has written a book called Encore: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Life. I have it on hold at the library but judging from the commentary piece in Ode, this looks to be a great premise.

I'd like to use this post to highlight some quotes from Marc's commentary...

After setting up shots of dreamy seniors on sailboats and golf courses...

"But wait a minute: Who looks forward to endless retirement anymore, 30 years of R and R? Who can afford it - even with the most diligent savings plan? For reasons of money and meaning, the golden-years vision being peddled by the financial and real estate industries is already obsolete. Stretched from a justified period of relaxation after the mid-life years into a phase lasting just as long, this version of retirement has been distorted into something grotesque, something that no longer works, for individuals - or for society."

"But this troubling conclusion amounts to scenario-planning through the rear-view mirror. Retirement as we've known it is far from an eternal verity. In fact it is already being displaced as the central institution of the second half of life, soon to be supplanted by a new stage of life and work opening up between the end of mid-life and the eventual arrival of true old age. Indeed four out of five boomers consistently tell researchers they expect to work well into what used to be known as the retirement years."

Here's the part that I find most inspiring and I see it clearly in the wonderful boomer launches I work with...

"...boomers should be encouraged not only to continue contributing, but to rethink the purpose of that work - in short, to dust off their idealism of the '60s and '70s, and get to work making the world a better place. It is the perfect opportunity for the generation that set out to change the world and got lost along the way. Now, as tens of millions of boomers careen toward what were once the golden years, I believe more and more people are interested in living out a distinct and compelling vision of contribution in the second half of adult life, one built around an 'encore career' at the intersection of continued income, new meaning and significant contribution to the greater good."

Good words from Marc Freedman of Civic Ventures.

The service economy is growing without pause through all kinds of economic turmoil. The wisdom accumulated by older workers can be applied in unlimited creative and valuable ways.

I see small, smart, self-funded, boomer enterprises emerging everywhere to fill this need and to take advantage of this growing opportunity to serve.

These new enterprises do not have to fit anyone's model but our own. They can operate at a pace and scale we choose. I've written before about the slow startup movement, and I think it's a perfect fit for boomer entrepreneurs and this enormous opportunity. Start early and start slow. Plan carefully and launch at your own speed. What's important my friends, is that you start.

You should consider this more than just an interesting idea. It's a big, big social trend. Welcome aboard!

Civic Ventures

Ode Magazine

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