Author Betty Hechtman doesn’t think seniors are “too old” to follow their passions in a new job. In fact, a second career could be just what many over-65 folks are looking for.
Hechtman notes that many folks in their sixties and beyond are looking to blend the notion of a second career with lifelong passion. “No matter what age you are, if there’s work you feel called to, you should most definitely give it a try — you may well experience a joy unlike any you’ve ever known.”
Hechtman was on the eve of her 60th birthday when her first mystery series prompted a bidding war between St. Martin’s Press and Berkley Books. This was no guaranteed success. Hechtman has had a lot of practice reinventing herself. She has volunteered as a farmworker on a kibbutz in Israel, waitressed and worked in retail sales, and made connections as a telephone operator, among a host of jobs.
“I’m glad to see the tide turning again – especially for all the baby boomers who don’t want to retire but do want to do something gratifying.”
Hechtman offers these tips for people considering an encore:
• Consider working in one of the five most popular encore fields. Most people seek second their careers in health, education, government, environment and non-profits — all fields expected to provide abundant job opportunities in the next couple of years, according to Encore.org, a non-profit that supports second careers “for the greater good.” If you need training to qualify, now is the time to get it, Hechtman says. “Invest now in the education, and you can soon have a job that feeds the heart, the mind – and the body!”
• Do your homework. There’s nothing more disappointing them jumping in to something new only to become disillusioned and frustrated because you didn’t take the time to prepare. If your dream is to open a particular business, research the market. Is there a demand for what you hope to sell? Should you give it a trial run as an online business before investing in shop space and other overhead? Start by checking the resources at Score.org, a nonprofit supported by more than 12,000 volunteers dedicated to helping small businesses off the ground. For other encore pursuits, you might take classes or spend a few hours a week working as a volunteer to learn the ropes.
• Join a group of like-minded people. This is particularly helpful for aspiring artists who want to paint, play music, write a book or indulge some other creative talent. You can brush up on your skills and make valuable contacts by becoming a part of a community theater, joining a writers circle, or finding a group of hobbyists. You may find your skills develop much more quickly with the support and guidance of collegial peers who are all helping one another achieve a dream.