I overheard a conversation at a restaurant recently that went like this:
“Jenny is retiring from her teaching career next year, but she doesn’t have a clue about what she’ll do next, because she doesn’t want to stop working altogether.” Does this sound like you or someone you know? Chances are the answer is “yes”.
Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, comprise 30% of the population in Maine—a significant slice of the workforce.
Research shows that the majority of boomers expect, for a variety of reasons, to work at least until they are 72—but not necessarily in their primary career and definitely not in the same way.
Boomers who retire from careers of many years may return to the workforce, but want to have more control over their time at work, less responsibility, flexible hours, opportunities to learn on the job and to make a difference.
From my perspective as a career counselor who works primarily with this demographic, I’m noticing the following:
- Just entering their 50’s, the younger boomers have not begun their exodus from primary careers, but they are starting to think about what’s next.
- Middle boomers seem to be floundering as they prepare to enter retirement and leave positions, organizations and careers that have been a significant part of their identity. They are floundering, in part because they are pioneers reinventing this life stage and because they are not clear about options since employers have not yet figured out a way to incorporate them back into the work place.
- The older boomers seem the most ready to end working altogether and focus on family, travel and leisure time pursuits, while still interested in being of value in their communities.
Here are a few great resources to help you explore your options in retirement:
The Third Chapter by Sara Lawrence Lightfoot, The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife by Marc Freedman, and Claiming Your Place at the Fire: Living the Second Half of Your Life on Purpose by Richard Leider.