Work & Volunteering

Retirement Work & Volunteering Options

Continue Working? Change Careers? Volunteer?

Are you in your 50’s, 60’s or even 70’s and still wondering: What am I supposed to do when I grow up? If so, welcome to a very large crowd. Fortunately, when compared to previous generations, we have many more retirement work & volunteering options. However, more options can be confusing and cause us to freeze. This is true because of a phenomenon called “choice overload”. We’ll give you plenty of options below, but we’ll also give you some ways to help determine your personal retirement direction.

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Retirement Work & Volunteering Options – Articles & Information From Next Phase of Life

Ageism in the Workplace: How to Protect Yourself

Ageism in the Workplace: How to Protect Yourself

Ageism in the workplace is a serious issue that can damage your chance of finding a job or moving up the corporate ladder. Ideally, advancing in age should be considered a beautiful thing, a telling testament of long years of acquiring knowledge and experience. Yet, if a hiring manager passed you by simply because you were too old, or opted to give the promotion you deserved to someone younger, but far less experienced – you, may be an unfortunate victim of this insidious form of discrimination. read more…

Entrepreneurial Mindset – The Most Critical Characteristic

Entrepreneurial Mindset – The Most Critical Characteristic

My wife is from eastern Nebraska also known as the cornhusker state. Traveling thru eastern Nebraska, just about all you can see is corn and more corn. The lack of visual diversity often causes abstract thoughts to dominate my self-talk as the miles click by. During a trip one summer, I realized that an ear of corn can teach us much about a critical characteristic of an entrepreneurial mindset. read more…

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Baby Boomers And The Gig Economy – Why It Works

Baby Boomers And The Gig Economy – Why It Works

The gig economy is big and growing. It’s projected to have double digit growth over the next five years. And we’re not talking small numbers. The customer revenue generated through this sourcing channel is anticipated to expand from $204B in 2018 to $455B by 2023. That’s no tiny growth curve.

What is interesting is that these type of hiring practices really aren’t that new. read more…

Is Teaching In Your Future?

Is Teaching In Your Future?

I’m a retired Computer Scientist originally from the Boston area. I grew up in the suburbs, close to the ocean, toward cape cod.  It was a great place to live as a young person. No bills, no worries, and way too much free time.  Anyway, schools were good, and lots of opportunity to play. read more…

Retirement Work & Volunteering Options

Retirement Work and Volunteering Options

Continue Working? Start a Business? Volunteer?

When compared to previous generations, we have many more retirement work & volunteering options.

 Are you in your 50’s, 60’s or even 70’s and still wondering: What am I supposed to do when I grow up? If so, welcome to a very large crowd. Fortunately, when compared to previous generations, we have many more retirement work & volunteering options. However, more options can be confusing and cause us to freeze. This is true because of a phenomenon called “choice overload”. We’ll give you plenty of options below, but we’ll also give you some ways to help determine your personal retirement direction.

It can be painful when you don’t get these issues right. The following excerpt is from Retirement Reinvention by Robin Ryan – a highly recommended book on how to find more joy and purpose in retirement. “I just took early retirement from my company at age fifty-seven. I loved my work, but because the twenty- and thirty-somethings were taking over, I had no choice but to leave. My last year there was horrible. So, I gave up and retired. Now I feel so angry and cheated. I’m a workaholic! I loved working! Who decided that when you hit a certain age you are no longer needed?

“My brain still works fine! I’m looking for a new job, but I see the age discrimination thing everywhere I go. I’ve been retired for one month and I’m climbing the walls! I’m really getting tired of housework, but that’s all I have to do. I have no hobbies. My job was my life. I’m becoming more and more depressed every day. I feel so useless. I don’t think my life should be considered over at fifty-seven but it seems to be. I tell people I’m retired and their eyes glass over like I’m completely irrelevant now…..My self-esteem is so far down, I don’t know if I can feel good about myself every again.”

This story about retirement work & volunteering options is compelling, and sadly, all too real. Ms. Ryan doesn’t say what happened to this man – hopefully there is a happy outcome and he now is happily engaged with a retirement work & volunteering pursuit. Fortunately, there are many senior jobs and other retirement work options available.  That is the theme of this article and our NextPhaseofLife.com website.

Retirement and Work

Retirement Work and Volunteering OptionsRetirement and work is supposed to be an oxymoron but we don’t believe this is the case. There are many retirement work & volunteering options after retirement and these work options can be far from what you experience in a typical full-timer career. We’ve met many people and talked to readers who have no desire to go back to work after retirement and others who tell us they would be bored silly if they didn’t have something to do outside the home other than golf, tennis, shopping, etc. Good thing because we are fortunate to have a tremendous number of retirement work & volunteering options available – so there really is no excuse to be like the sad gentleman quoted above.

So, should you work after retirement? The decision depends on a lot of factors. There are no doubt some reading this who would rather go for a root canal than a job interview and others (like me) who will never retire (health permitting) but for a sizeable number, the answer is that it depends. Here are a few reasons you might consider going back to work:

    • You hate not working. You have no desire to play golf (or anything else) every day and you would be bored without at least part-time work.
    • You need the money. A little income is great (a lot is even better) when it means the ability to delay taking your social security or drawing down your investments.
    • You like to meet new people. Working gives you exposure to many people you would not otherwise have the chance to meet. I know people who work in jobs like UBER or coffee shops primarily for the human interaction.
    • You want to learn new things. Depending on the position (yes some are mind-numbing) you can be exposed to lots of new information, keeping your brain cells churning. 
    • You want to stay healthy. Some retirement jobs keep you on your feet or even let you work outdoors.
    • It’s in your DNA. Some of us just have to feel they have accomplished something. Some jobs can leave you with a strong sense of fulfillment.

Retirement Career Options

Retirement Work and Volunteering OptionsSo what are some of the retirement career options? There are a myriad of choices available. One of our Next Phase writers, Larry Stein, had a very successful career in the IT field and after retiring, became an associate professor teaching IT classes at a local university. He shares his story in the article, Is Teaching In Your Future?

Another article discusses the benefits of consulting as a second career: “Those of you who have spent years in a knowledge-based profession, may find that your best option to transition from full-time employment to a part-time scenario is to become a consultant. There are many flavors of consultants including: management consultants, technical consultants, HR consultants, marketing consultants, legal consultants, financial consultants, and many others.” 

Here are a few more options for your next phase career, all of which are in relatively high demand:

    • Teaching. There are lots of opportunities at the college, K-12 and private facilities.
    • Tutoring. This can range from general tutoring to highly specialized. You can work from home, via telephone, web conference, or at a school or private tutoring center.
    • Sales representative. Tons of these jobs are available but many are all or mostly commission-based. You can work from an office, home or a retail store. If you like to move around, you can be a manufacturer’s rep for a domestic or international company.
    • Nursing. These jobs are plentiful and range from personal and home care to registered nurses.
    • Real estate agent. There are always openings for this career option but you must be very self-directed to succeed.
    • Property management. In this profession, you help homeowners find renters and handle maintenance and administrative issues.
    • Drivers. This is another area where multiple choices exist including truck drivers, delivery drivers, taxi drivers, chauffeurs, bus drivers and UBER and Lyft drivers. Of course, you will hear how autonomous vehicles will eliminate the need for drivers but this will not be the case for some time.
    • Ministry. This category includes far more than just churches and there are lots of jobs available – you don’t have to be a pastor.
    • Writers. There is always a demand for individuals who can string a few coherent sentences together.  Jobs can range from full-time to part-time and contract (often paid by the content deliverable). Note that you don’t have to have an English degree – or any degree for that matter. What you do need is the ability to communicate, educate, inspire and persuade. 
    • Child care. if you enjoy children, why not make a few dollars and do them a favor by using at least some of your time helping with their needs.
    • Senior care. The senior population is growing fast so there is a lot of opportunity in this area.
    • Pet care. Perhaps animals are your passion. If so, you can work for a pet store, humane shelter, or perhaps become a dog sitter/walker.
    • Financial services. Why not put your expertise with numbers to good use as an accountant, bookkeeper or tax preparer.
    • Photography. Why not take photos of weddings, graduations or other significant life events?  There are also needs for business photographers for product and event shoots.
    • Musician. This is a tough way to make a living, but if you are passionate about music, why not give it a try? By the way, there is an old joke that the definition of a musician is “someone who loads $5,000 of equipment into a $500 car to drive to a $50 gig.   
    • Retail or restaurant. No shortage of jobs here and you can probably find something that lines up with your personal preferences.
    • Travel and tourism. A large category that includes jobs on cruise ships, local tour guides, museum docents and even overseas adventure guides. 
    • Computer and IT. If you worked in the IT field and have current skills, you can certainly find something to keep you occupied, not to mention the excellent compensation. Examples include software development (programmers), IT administration or IT services for businesses or individual customers.  

While the income from such retirement careers will probably not match what you made in your full-time profession, and you may have little job security, there are certain benefits. First of all, your age and wisdom can be something of an asset instead of a liability. You are often there to teach and/or supplement younger workers, not to compete with them. Plus, you gain a great deal of flexibility in things like working hours, days off, and so forth. You may feel more like a valued asset than a “wage slave”.  

Jobs for Seniors

Are there plenty of jobs for seniors who want to work after retiring from their primary profession? The answer, apparently, is yes. According to an AARP article, As of February 2019, more than 20 percent of adults over age 65 were either working or looking for work, compared with 10 percent in 1985, says a report from United Income, a financial planning and investment management company targeted to those aged 50 to 70. There wouldn’t be twice as many 65-plus individuals in the job force if there were not enough senior jobs to support them. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics believe this trend will continue, with approximately13 million Americans who are 65 or older expected to participate in the labor force by 2024.

Many people who are thinking of retiring but hesitant to jump head first into the leisure class pool are taking a phased retirement work approach. By this, I mean that they keep their existing job and employer, but start to reduce the amount of hours. This can be a one-time reduction (e.g. 40 hours to 20) or a phased reduction (40 to 30 to 20, etc.). In some cases, the responsibilities remain the same while in others they are reduced. For example, you can move from a managerial to a single-contributor role. Either way, such an arrangement is good for both the employer and senior worker.

Part-Time Jobs for Seniors

Retirement Work and Volunteering Options. Part-Time Jobs for SeniorsWhile there is no doubt those who retire from their primary position face age discrimination when seeking full-time positions, there is much less of this with part-time positions. In fact, some of the best jobs for retirees are part-time. Employers know that senior workers tend to be reliable and part-time workers don’t usually receive benefits. Many seniors enjoy the camaraderie and social aspects of part-time work and they like the feeling of having a purpose as part of their retirement direction, or as one of our readers put it, “a reason to get out of bed in the morning”.  

Some of the best jobs for retirees are part-time, ranging from a few hours per week up to 30-plus. In fact, some of these types of jobs available for seniors are so much fun that they hardly seem like work. You have probably met so-called retired people who drive you in their UBER or Lyft car, wait on you at your favorite restaurant or give you great advice at Home Depot or Lowes. 

If you were part of the executive team in your career, one senior work option is to become a fractional COO, CFO, CMO or whatever other executive position for which you are qualified. Professionals like doctors, lawyers, accountants and engineers can also find part-time and contact positions. One Next Phase reader is a retired CIO who helps companies put together proposals for large government contracts. The work is intense and his contracts only last a few months, but the compensation is great and it helps keep his skills sharp.

Retirement Business Opportunities

According to the 2020 Guidant Small Business Trends Report, baby boomers (born 1946 to 1964) make up 42% of small business owners and the silent generation (born 1928 to 1945) accounts for two percent. Chief reasons for people start a new business are the desire to be their own boss and wanting to pursue a particular passion. These reasons are as true for the 60-something as they are for the 30-something – although the type of business, objectives and approaches to the venture may differ considerably. While the younger business owner may pursue a high-growth, high-risk strategy, the post-retirement business owner may prefer a safer, lifestyle-oriented approach. The good news is that 76% of business owners describe themselves as either very happy (48%) or somewhat happy (28%).

About 20% of new companies are started by 50-59 year old individuals with another 7% in the 60-plus age range. Interestingly, according to Harvard Business Review, as this graphic shows, older entrepreneurs are more likely to succeed.

Retirement Work and Volunteering Options. Retirement Business OpportunitiesThere is way too much to say about how you can increase the likelihood of success in business for the scope of this article, but we strongly recommend three strategies:

    1. Base your business on your ‘sweet spot’ – as discussed below. Trying something you are unfamiliar with may be tempting, but will often prove to be harder and more problematic (two things you don’t need).
    2. When possible, start very small, without risking significant capital, and then build upon your initial successes to scale the venture.
    3. If you are a new entrepreneur, find one or more mentors to help you, especially if they are from the same industry you are considering. Two good sources of mentors and entrepreneurial courses are the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Service Core of Retired Executives (SCORE). Both organizations exist specifically to help entrepreneurs launch their new ventures. Find your local chapter at SCORE.org or https://www.sbdcnet.org/.

Senior Volunteer Opportunities

Regardless of the senior job environment, you can be sure there will be plenty of volunteer opportunities for retirees. Estimates are that about 25% percent of the volunteer population is made up of those 65 or older and if you add the 55-64 group, the number is over 35%. Retirees tend to have more time on their hands and a thirst to make a difference. This is a powerful combination driving their participation in volunteer opportunities. Yet, despite this, the age group 35-54 has a greater proportion of volunteers than those age 55-plus. It appears we have some catching up to do!

So, what do you do as a senior volunteer? According to the Corporation for National Community & Service, the most common forms of volunteering are:

    • Collecting, serving, preparing, or distributing food
    • Fundraising or selling items to raise money
    • Engaging in general labor, like helping build homes or clean up parks
    • Tutoring or teaching
    • Mentoring youth
    • Collecting, making, or distributing clothing

Retirement Work and Volunteering Options. Senior Volunteer OpportunitiesMany retirees want to engage in a volunteer activity that has nothing to do with their primary career, which gives them the opportunity to learn something new and have completely different experiences. Others prefer to leverage their primary career, to make the most impact. For example, a CPA may help with a charity’s fundraising or bookkeeping or an HR person may help recruit new volunteers. Some prefer to work behind the scenes while others want to be where the services are performed and clients are helped. Either way, the important thing is that you get in the game. You can always adjust how and when you participate as you learn more.

As for where to find opportunities, here is a list of organizations that offer special senior volunteer opportunities, courtesy of newretirement.com.

These organizations are primarily national or even international in nature, but of course there are many local organizations that can use your help. I hope you are one of the fortunate ones that have the financial means to donate at least a bit of your time. Volunteering can become addictive and is certainly a great way to “pay it forward” and enrich others and yourself.

Your Retirement Direction

As someone who has toiled for years tending to other peoples’ needs (families, bosses, co-workers, friends, etc.), it is now time for you to set your own retirement direction – to be the captain of your own retirement, pre-retirement of semi-retirement ship. The folks at the Refirement Network refer to this as “refiring” instead of retiring. I think this is a great way of expressing what it means to set your own retirement direction. 

So how do you refire and determine your own retirement direction? Figuring out what it is that you actually want to do is often the most difficult step in the process. This is where a many retirees or pre-retirees flounder. It’s a revisit of the old question: What do I want to be when I grow up? A great many 50-somethings, 60-somethings and even 70-somethings feel that they need to be doing something to keep their minds and bodies sharp, as well as give them a sense of purpose.

We talk about retirement direction in our Next Phase article called, Finding Your Next Season Sweet Spot, defining the term sweet spot as “that place where your passions and talents meet in a way that creates significant market value (if you are still employed or run a business) as well as personal value that fulfills you and nourishes your soul.” 

Finding Your Sweet Spot Retirement Work and Volunteering Options. Finding Your Sweet Spot

So how do you find your sweet spot and retirement direction? One option is to hire a coach who can help you deal with every aspect of retirement, including work, volunteering, finances, relationships and so forth. Alternately, you can ask yourself (and others who know you well) some clarification questions. Here’s a list to get you started:

    1. What do I most love doing?
    2. What am I passionate about?
    3. What am I really good at?
    4. What do others say I am good at?
    5. What comes most easily to me?
    6. What is my superpower (what I do easiest and best)?
    7. What gives me pleasure?
    8. What makes me happy?
    9. What makes me angry?
    10. What gives me a sense of fulfillment?
    11. What types of people (or purposes) do I want to serve?
    12. Where do I want to work (location)?
    13. Who do I want to work with?
    14. How much people interaction do I need?
    15. What was my favorite job?
    16. If I could start my life over, what would my profession be?
    17. What would I most enjoy learning?

Perhaps you have never asked yourself these types of questions. If so, no better time to start than right now. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose so please give this your attention. Whether you work full-time, work part-time, start a business, volunteer, or decide that you really want to just travel, putter in the garden, or work on your golf swing, discovering what gives you joy and purpose is mandatory to a great retirement. There are a wealth of retirement work & volunteering options when you take the time to look.

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Next Phase of Life!

A Collection of Expert Information and Inspiration designed to help you navigate the complexities of pre-retirement and retirement.

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