Ready for Your Encore? How Retirees Can Have an Impact

Turn off the TV and all its bad news. There’s a trend that’s been gaining momentum, and it’s an uplifting one. One that you can take part in yourself. It’s called the encore career.

If you recall, an encore comes at the end of a performance, when all has been said and done. The curtain may have dropped, but the audience doesn’t want the musician or actor to leave just yet. They want to hear more, see more, and so they call the performer back on to the stage.

An encore career is the same thing: You may have retired, but the skills you have developed over a lifetime are still in demand. They’re still needed. And so you come back on to the stage for your encore.

Help Others, Help Yourself

An encore career usually isn’t about finding work because you need it to pay the bills. The income may be nice, but for a few instances, there probably won’t be a lot of it—and sometimes none at all.

Rather than growing your wealth, the value of encore work is more intrinsic. It is the satisfaction of knowing that you have been able to help others, and in so doing, you have helped yourself.

Retirement can have its downside for many people. All of a sudden, you have a lot more time that you need to fill. At the same time, you may find your social network shrinking as you no longer see your colleagues every day.

You might have enjoyed the feeling of productivity and being useful that your career provided. Now you may encounter a void where those work hours used to be. You may not be exposed to as many new ideas, and your contact with younger people shrinks, a loss for both you and them.

An encore career can help relieve the more detrimental aspects of retirement. You will make new connections in your encore career. You will stretch your mind by learning new skills and information. And you will come across people of all ages, so you can impart your knowledge and wisdom while gaining access to fresh approaches that you may not have found on your own.

Perhaps most important, you may find fulfillment. Encore.org, which connects people ages 50-plus with encore roles, defines an encore job as one that “combines social impact, purpose, and often, continued income.” It can give you satisfaction knowing you are doing your part to help your community and the world beyond.

How to Get Started

The internet is rich in resources for encore careers. To get started, take a look at Encore.org to get a feel for the opportunities available to you. The website, whose tagline is “Second acts for the greater good,” has several offerings to help people 50 and over pursue purpose. Those include:

  • Generation to Generation: A campaign to mobilize adults in improving the prospects of children and youth

  • Encore Fellowships: Matching skilled professionals with social purpose organizations in high-impact, paid transitional positions

  • The Encore prize: Supporting innovations that bring experienced talent to social problems

  • The Encore Network: A coalition of leaders and organizations committed to turning longer lives into a valuable asset

But perhaps the best place is to start locally, where you will find diverse organizations eager to bring you on board for the greater good. We’ll take a look at these organizations in our next article, covering their mission and programs in more detail in the hopes that you’ll find something that sparks your interest. Until then, we’ll leave you with this quote by angel investor Ron Conway:

“I believe that we all have a responsibility to give back. No one becomes successful without lots of hard work, support from others, and a little luck. Giving back creates a virtuous cycle that makes everyone more successful.”