“An encore career is work in the second half of life that combines continued income, greater personal meaning, and social impact. These jobs are paid positions often in public interest fields, such as education, the environment, health, the government sector, social services, and other nonprofits.” -Wikipedia
As Baby Boomers entered their late 50’s or 60’s, the whole field of “encore careers” was born. It’s a powerful idea that fits with human development. It seems that we spend the first half of our lives proving that we are capable and gaining our sense of self worht from this doing. By the time we reach 35 or 40, we are beginning to change perspective, mostly because we have “been there and done that.” We have discovered that all the doing in the world doesn’t address the deeper need for meaning and value that cries out within our souls.
By the time we approach our 50’s, we are usually more inwardly motivated. We are ready to make a statement that expresses our hearts, instead of trying to get approval or join the latest fad.
I say, this authenticity that seems to come with maturity needs to be applied to all aspects of living: Relationships, work, spiritual life, play, hobbies and self care. I also believe that anyone at any age can apply the principle of being true to who you are, knowing that you will develop and refine it as you heal and grow.
Because people stay in the work force longer, they tend to change careers several times. Be encouraged as you walk through this. I think the primary reason is that our inner world governs our outer one: AS you discover more about who you are, what you like or don’t like, you might find that your work activity and environment need to change. Go for it! Don’t be afraid to take an entry level position: Learning and building new skills are part of the adventure.
Another powerful factor in career development is finding the right mix of commitment to a job and time for a satisfying personal life. Again, this may facilitate a career change or two. There is no shame in this: You are much more than what you do.
Perhaps the most basic truth behind “encore” careers…or relationships play, hobbies and self care is that who we are trumps what we do. Words and actions are merely the reflections of our inner person. I am not entirely convinced that this applies to the second half of life alone; it is simply more recognized by then.
I myself continue to explore and wrestle with my own direction and choices. I find myself asking new questions. Instead of exploring “encore careers,” I am seeking ways to live more authentically. This begins inwardly. It is alive, fluid and multi-faceted. It is part of the journey on which I have been my whole life and won’t end until I go home to Heaven.