How to Switch Careers Later in Life
When my friend Susan moved back to California with her family in the summer of 2014, she began job-hunting for the first time in fourteen years. At 56, this might have seemed a daunting endeavor — a generation ago. As it was, Susan sent out resumes somewhat casually for a few months, and by late autumn she had two solid job offers within easy commuting distance. Now, at 58, she’s considering spreading her work wings in a grander direction, and has already had one interview.
Whereas once upon a briefcase few employers would have given a second glance to the resume of someone less than a decade from retirement, today, with longevity creating an entire additional generation of life for many active adults, the 50s are prime time for companies to harvest talent at its peak.
Consider Alice Longworth, who says getting laid off at 62 was “the best thing that ever happened to her.” She decided to leave non-profit fundraising and start fresh in graphic design, something she’d always enjoyed. After taking courses at both the School of Visual Arts in New York and NYU’s School of Continuing Education, Longworth interned at age 66 (which makes the movie, The Intern, starring Robert DeNiro as a 70-year-old intern, seem not at all far-fetched), later landing two part-time positions that utilize her new skills.
Driven to Help
And as we explored in this post, Longworth is on the youthful side of the career reinvention spectrum.
With the advent of just-in-time services to rival traditional businesses, mature adults are also expanding the definition of what elder employment can look like. For instance, while two years ago we explored elder driving and when your reverse mortgage clients and prospects ought to consider relinquishing the keys, today older adults aren’t just requesting rides from services such as Uber and Lyft — they’re providing them!
Carol Sue Johnson, 73, is an Uber driver, one of a growing number of seniors who are augmenting their retirement income by getting behind the wheel on a part-time basis. Drivers are in such demand, in fact, that in 2015 Uber and Life Reimagined (a subsidiary of AARP) formed a partnership to recruit more 50+ drivers. Older drivers are prized because as a group they are careful, insured drivers who keep their vehicles in good repair, and tend to have fewer accidents than their younger cohorts.
And older drivers appreciate the freedom and flexibility, as well as the cash. Since they’re not depending on these ride services for full-time income, they can fit driving into their schedules, leaving them plenty of time to enjoy other activities while supplementing their Social Security or other sources of income (such as a reverse mortgage).
So however your still-spry reverse mortgage clients choose to spend their days, a part-time job that meets their needs may be the perfect way to reimagine work that’s a lot like play.