How to Choose a Second Act Career, with Nancy Collamer

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Transcript

Mac Prichard: 

Hi. This is Mac, from Mac’s List. Before we start the show, I want to let you know about my new book, Land Your Dream Job Anywhere. I’ve been helping job seekers find meaningful, well-paying work since 2001; and now, I’ve put all my best advice into one easy-to-use guide. My book shows you how to make your resume stand out in a stack of applications, where you can find the hidden jobs that never get posted, and what you need to do to ace your next job interview. Get the first chapter now for free. Visit Macslist.org/anywhere.

This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life. I’m Mac Prichard, your host, and publisher of Mac’s List. I’m joined by my co-host, Ben Forstag, and Jessica Black from the Mac’s List team. This week, we’re talking about how to choose a second act career.

Mac Prichard:

A traditional retirement in the United States means you quit your job at age 65; and for the next fifteen or twenty years, you fill your days with nothing but hobbies. Here’s the problem with that model – many people can’t afford it. Those who can often get bored fast. And not working at all can be bad for your health.

Our guest expert this week is Nancy Collamer. She says there’s a better way: second act careers that offer satisfying paid or volunteer work. Nancy and I talk later in the show.

Whether you choose a traditional retirement or a second act career, you’ll want to plan ahead. Ben Forstag has found a website with advice you can use to reinvent yourself in your 50’s and beyond. He tells us about it in a moment.

How do you pitch a prospective employer if you’re uncomfortable talking about yourself? That’s our question of the week. It comes from listener Ryan Wilson, in Portland Oregon. Jessica Black offers her advice shortly.

Mac Prichard:

As always, let’s check in with the Mac’s List team here in the studio. When you two think about retirement, what comes to mind? Do you plan on stopping work altogether? Or will you work part-time as a volunteer? Or perhaps for pay?

Jessica Black:

I’ll never stop working. I will…well, maybe not for pay always…but I will volunteer probably until the day I die.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, tell us more about that, Jessica. Why can’t you imagine sitting at home and reading, or maybe gardening, or pursuing hobbies? Because I know you have a lot of interests.

Jessica Black:

I do, and I love staying busy now; so I just can’t imagine my life not having a lot of things going on, and giving back to the community when I am not working full time.

Mac Prichard:

What about you, Ben?

Ben Forstag:

So, I’m probably the opposite. I want to retire at some point in my 60’s, and I’ve got a lot of other interests that I’d like to explore; things that I’d like to do now, but don’t have a whole lot of time for. And I’d like to have some time later in my life to really get deep into those.

Mac Prichard:

So I know you’re…you like to paint and are these hobbies or community projects you want to take on, or a combination?

Ben Forstag:

Hobbies, painting, music… I like tinkering in the backyard with my garden. I like construction projects; things like that. So I always tell people that the one commodity I wish I had more of in my life was time. And I say later in life, once I’ve made a little nest egg for myself…I’m not sure it’s still called a nest egg when you’re in your 60’s…but once I’ve made some money that I can retire on, that’s when I’ll have a surplus of time, and I want to take advantage of that.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah. Well terrific. Well I know we’ll talk with Nancy about that later in the show. For me, I’m like…you just…I just can’t imagine not working, whether it’s a volunteer position, or a paid professional job. And I’m actually…as you both know and longtime listeners know…in my late 50’s, so the 60’s are just around the corner. I see myself doing this for a number of years more.

And my two role models for this are my father, who’s now 87 in August; and he quit at 65…62 rather… but he always had a long list of projects. They involved largely remodeling an old house he’s had since I was a boy that he’s been working on now for 25 years. And also doing a lot of reading.

And my first boss is a role model for me as well. He is 88, and is still working as a human rights advocate in DC. So, I don’t know if I’ll be going at it in my 80’s, but I think I’m in it for the long haul.

Jessica Black:

That’s great. I do think it does help keep you sharp longer, and you just stay active and it can’t be…it can’t be bad for you. So, I think that’s great.

Mac Prichard:

Okay, well we’ll talk more about the benefits and different approaches people take to retirement, and what Nancy calls “second act careers” later in the show. Ben, let’s turn to you first though; because you’re out there every week, poking around the internet and exploring all kinds of nooks and crannies, with our listeners’ interests in mind…looking for those websites, books, and tools they can use in a job search,or a career. So, what have you uncovered for our listeners this week, Ben?

Ben Forstag:

So this week I’m going to talk about a resource that many folks have probably already heard of. It’s called Huffington Post. Everyone’s shaking their heads here in the office; you’ve all heard of it.

Mac Prichard:

The insider phrase for that is “Huff Po.”

Ben Forstag:

Yeah. Huff Po.

Mac Prichard:

Okay.

Ben Forstag:

Now, Huffington Post is a really big website, and they’ve got a lot of different sections with a lot of different content. The section I want to talk about today is their “Reinvention section”; which is a section that’s exclusively for folks who are 50+ in age. And this is available at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/reinvention/.

Now they define reinvention pretty broadly here. So it’s a mixture of reinventing your career, reinventing your life, reinventing your lifestyle, where you live…all these different things. But the focus is almost entirely on older folks.

Now as with most of Huffington Post, you have to be a little bit careful about where you’re going and what you’re looking at. There’s a lot of content; some of it’s good, some of it’s not so good. Some of it is downright spammy. But if you separate the wheat from the chaff, you can usually find some really good, interesting and insightful articles there; some good kernels of information.

So in the reinvention section, I actually found several really good articles about changing careers, or finding a new career late in life. There are articles like “5 Workplaces That Actually Embrace Older Workers” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/5-workplaces-that-actually-embrace-older-workers_us_582f5e4ae4b058ce7aaaff7f?utm_hp_ref=reinvention), which I know is a challenge for a lot of folks.

Another article was “3 Tips from Applicants Who Beat The Odds and Got Hired After 50” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tips-from-3-job-applicants-who-beat-the-odds-and-got-hired-after-50_us_5829aed3e4b060adb56f1902?utm_hp_ref=reinvention).

Then they’ve got some really good inspirational stories. There was one about a woman who launched a “sweet new career”, as a candy entrepreneur, after being laid off at 57.

So if you find yourself at this stage in your life, and you need some outside opinion and resources, I’d encourage you to check out Huff Po, their reinvention section. Again, that’s http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/reinvention/.

Mac Prichard:

Well thanks, Ben. that sounds like a great tip. And if you have a suggestion for Ben, please write him. And we may share your idea on the show. His address is easy to remember: it’s ben@macslist.org .

Now, let’s turn to you, our listeners, and Jessica Black is here with us to answer one of your questions. So, what did you find in the  Mac’s List mailbag this week, Jessica?

Jessica Black:

Thanks, Mac. Today we have a question from Ryan WIlson who lives here in Portland; and we’re going to listen to his question right now.

Ryan Wilson:

My name is Ryan Wilson. I am a young professional here in Portland looking for work in project management, training, or consulting; maybe some combination of all 3. Also, I would accept the position of power forward for the Trailblazers. My question for you today is this- I’m an intelligent, talented guy. However, I’m not great at talking about how great I am. So I get a little uncomfortable in pitching myself. I know lately you’ve been talking a bit about elevator pitches, and I was hoping for some further advice about a guy who would rather prove things with his work than with his mouth.

Jessica Black:

Thanks, Ryan! Okay, number one- I think this is really a common struggle that a lot of people struggle with. So, one thing I would say is, don’t stress too much about it. Get comfortable with talking about yourself; because there’s no other way around it. There are a couple of ways that you can supplement with other things, but I think that you do need to just practice that elevator pitch and get really comfortable talking about these 3 things that you were mentioning here; project management, training, and consulting.

Talk those things up, and give some concrete examples of what you‘ve done; and be able to have conversations with people that you meet and give some concrete evidence of why you would be a good candidate in those departments.

Also, talk a little bit about why you’re interested in that area. Because I think that the “why” is always really compelling, and if you can have a story that you can add to that elevator pitch, that could be really compelling and give you an easier time talking about it so that it’s not a stuffy…feels stuffy…elevator pitch.

What I mentioned before of having something to supplement- I think if you wanted to showcase your skills more than talk about it, start a portfolio, or have a website that you can direct people to. Have links on your business cards, and that way when you meet people you can give a brief overview, give a brief elevator style pitch that talks about these 3 areas that you’re really strong in. And then be able to point them to visual representations of what you’re capable of. And I think that will be a really solid way to take care of that.

Ben Forstag:

Yeah, I’d agree with that. I think a lot of people struggle with talking about themselves, because they don’t want to sound egotistical or narcissistic. I struggle with that frankly. I think the key here is to show and not tell. So if you can talk about your accomplishments, things that you’ve actually done, I think that’s a feather in your cap. That’s not you boasting or bragging. It says, “I walk the walk and talk the talk.” So I would focus on those accomplishments.

And then I think a lot of times, showing how you can help people with your skills. You’re not bragging about it; you’re being a solution provider. And I think everyone appreciates that; especially if they’re solutions to problems that they have not found an answer to elsewhere.

Mac Prichard:

I like the point you’re both making, which is the importance of showing rather than telling. You should tell, but Jessica, I love your idea of having a portfolio that documents your accomplishments. And Ben, your tip that he focus on describing those accomplishments, allows you to…you can do that in a way that… in a modest way, that helps the employer understand what you can do for them.

And we’ve talked a lot about this on previous shows, about the importance of showing employers that you’re a problem solver. Because that’s what they’re looking for help with. I would only add one other thing to the excellent advice here, and Ryan, you might, if you haven’t done so…you might want to go back and either read the transcript or listen to a show we did with Dan Rust about… it was called “Why You Need to Toot Your Own Horn Now,” (https://www.macslist.org/ep-050-need-toot-horn-work-now-dan-rust/).

And he makes the point that good work alone doesn’t speak for itself; you’ve got to tell your bosses and hiring managers what you’ve accomplished. And not because you’re an egomaniac; but because people are busy, and they just typically…managers…they rely on their staff to do things, and they assume that if they don’t hear their problem,  that things are going well. So, Dan has some great tips about how you can talk about your work in a professional way. And I think it would serve Ryan well here.

Jessica Black:

I agree. And I will just add one more thing: the simple advice of “practice”. Just practice and practice and practice and get really comfortable, again reiterating that “get comfortable”, with this. Talk to your friends; role play a little bit so that it’s not this new and scary conversation when it first happens and you’ve kind of got that part nailed down. And it’s not, it’s not new.

Mac Prichard:

Well great. Well thank you both, and thank you, Ryan, for calling in your question. If you have a question for Jessica, please email her. Her address is easy to remember too. It’s jessica@macslist.org Or call our listener line. That number is area code 716-JOB-TALK. That’s 716-562-8255. If we use your question on the show, we’ll send you a copy of our new book, Land Your Dream Job Anywhere. And Ryan will be getting his very shortly.

Most people struggle with job hunting. The reason is simple- most of us learn the nuts and bolts of looking for work through trial and error. That’s why I produce this podcast; to help you master the skills you need to find a great job. It’s also why I wrote my new book, Land Your Dream Job Anywhere. For 15 years at Mac’s List, I’ve helped people in Portland, Oregon, find meaningful, well paying, and rewarding jobs that they love. Now, I’ve put all of my job hunting secrets in one book, that can help you no matter where you live.

You’ll learn how to get clear about your career goals; find hidden jobs that never get posted; and ace your next job interview. For more information, and to download the first chapter for free, visit https://www.macslist.org/land-dream-job-anywhere/?q=/anywhere.

Mac Prichard:

Nancy Collamer is an expert on second act careers, semi-retirement, and boomer career trends. She writes a career blog for Forbes.com(www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/people/ncollamer), and PBS (www.nextavenue.org/writer/nancy-collamer).

Nancy is also the author of Second Act Careers; 50+ Ways to Profit Your Passions during Semi-Retirement; as well as a contributor to Not Your Mother’s Retirement; and 65 Things to Do When You Retire. She joins us today from Greenwich, Connecticut.

Nancy, thanks for being on the show.

Nancy Collamer:

Thank you for having me. My pleasure.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah. It’s a treat to have you. Now we’re talking this week, Nancy, as you know, about second act careers and how you can  choose them. But before we get into what is a second act career, let’s talk about what is the traditional retirement model in the United States. How do most people still think about retirement here in the States?

Nancy Collamer:

Well, I think the way that people think about it is changing, but certainly…I am somebody who is in my 50’s and I was brought up to think that you work until you hit that magical finish line around age 65, and then your retirement is a life of leisure. Gardening, grandkids, and golfing.

Mac Prichard:

The 3 G’s.

Nancy Collamer:

Yeah. But in reality of course, that is changing dramatically as we speak. And one of the things that I always point out to people is something that I call the 40/30 dilemma. By that I mean, we generally work about 40 years in our full time careers, from about our early to mid-twenties to our early to mid-sixties. But now we have retirements, that because of our increased longevity, could last for 30 years.

And so we put all this time and effort and energy into the first 40, and we say, “Well, I’m just going to relax in the next 30.” And that no longer makes sense. It’s just too many hours to fill; and for a lot of people, too many years to fund. And so we all need to become more proactive about planning this time period.

Mac Prichard:

So, speaking of planning, I know you’re a big fan of what are called “second act careers”. Tell us what they are and how people can plan for them.

Nancy Collamer:

Yeah, well a second act career is work that you do after leaving your main, full-time career. And they really can span the gamut. It can be anything from somebody who works part-time at their local bookstore, to somebody who only works on a seasonal basis – let’s say who works summers at the national parks- to somebody who continues to work, in many ways, long hours in their professional careers. They may do it on a project basis, so they may go full out for 3 months at a time, and then take 3 months off; and then take another assignment for another 3 months.

So, people are innovating all sorts of different ways of working in these second acts, but I think what distinguishes them is in general, they tend to be more fun, more fulfilling, and more flexible than most full-time careers.

Mac Prichard:

So why don’t people make these choices naturally? I’m guessing that it takes some effort to plan this and make it happen. What are the challenges that people face when they think about second act careers, Nancy?

Nancy Collamer:

Yeah, that’s a great question; because I think that as exciting as the prospect is, it’s also very daunting to folks to think about what’s next. And so what I advise people to do is to think of the process in terms of 3 steps.

The first is introspection; to think about not only what is it that you want to do; but how do you want to do it? Because for many people, this is the first time in their lives that they actually get to have some say over when, where and how they work.

And the second step in the process is the idea generation phase. And that’s a lot of fun. As I said before,you know people are working in all sorts of really interesting ways in their second acts; and a lot of this is going to be new to people. So, it’s really important to get out there and research and learn about what people are doing and talk to people.

And then, the third stage is a period of experimentation. Because again, since it’s unlikely that you’re going to go from a full-time career into another full-time job, you really need to experiment and try some things out to see what’s going to fit in this next phase of your life.

So, it is exciting; but as I said, it’s also daunting. And that’s why it’s so important that people take this process step-by-step.

Mac Prichard:

So, what about..all that sounds great, Nancy. But I can imagine listeners thinking about the financial challenges. What financial issues do people address, and is this an option for most people?

Nancy Collamer:

Again, I think a lot of people are pursuing second act careers because they do need to supplement their retirement income. You know, these days, people receive…very few people receive pensions, but people are still getting Social Security. Hopefully people have saved some money. So the net result is that, generally speaking, people don’t need to earn as much as they did in their full-time careers. But earning that extra 20, 30, 40 thousand dollars each year can make a real difference in their lifestyle during this time period.

So you raise a very good question; which is obviously, you need to spend time up front thinking about your financial goals. How much money is going to work for you in your life? And one of the things I like to point out to people, is one of the beauties of pursuing a second act is, of course, these days a lot of people haven’t saved enough for retirement.

But if you pursue something that you really enjoy doing, what it means is that you might be able to walk away from that full-time job that you absolutely can’t stand a little bit earlier, if you can figure out something that you’d really like to do that you’d be willing to do for the next 10 years. Because it means that you won’t have to dip into your savings as early as you would have during a full retirement, and it also means that you can delay claiming Social Security. And that’s a big financial benefit for people.

Mac Prichard:

So what I’m hearing is that it’s not an all or nothing choice. I think we begin our careers thinking, “Okay, I need to work full time for the next 40 years.” But I think the point you’re making, Nancy, is that when we hit our 50’s, we may have enough saved that even if we can work part-time and cover our expenses, and then our savings will continue to grow because we’re not tapping them.

Nancy Collamer:

Exactly. Yeah, so it’s…in an odd sort of way, thinking about a second act may free you up from that job that you’re really not happy in. And you know, it’s so important to emphasize here that, obviously the financial piece of the puzzle is extremely important. But the other side of this is that by remaining active and engaged…it is so beneficial for both your health and your mental well being.

Multiple studies have shown that continuing to stay active and engaged have all sorts of health benefits. So it can be a really positive thing for people to do on many levels.

Mac Prichard:

Why do you think we have that traditional model, Nancy, where we do nothing but pursue our hobbies? How did that come about and why does it continue to have such a hold?

Nancy Collamer:

Yeah, well it initially came about…it’s interesting to note that when Social Security came into being, that was less than 100 years ago. And at that point in time, the average life expectancy was late 60’s. And so the idea of getting Social Security at 65 was that that would be enough to tide you over for a few years; and then you would enjoy a period of relaxation for a few years.

So, a couple of things have changed; one is obviously people are just living a lot longer than they used to; the second thing is there used to be many more companies that gave their employees pensions. That has changed dramatically. Back in the 80’s, many companies shifted from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution, or a 401K type plan. And that has really impacted people’s savings.

So people haven’t saved enough. And again, the other thing that has happened is that a lot of people at the point that they retire, are still in really good shape physically. They haven’t been working in jobs that have taxed their bodies. And so when they retire at 65, they’re still raring to go. And they’re looking for ways to engage with their community, and oftentimes, the greater world.

Mac Prichard:

So you talked earlier about a 3 part process that people can follow to get started if they’re interested in pursuing a second act career. And I know it begins, Nancy, with self assessment. Are there..do you have favorite self assessment tools that you recommend to people who want to get going on this?

Nancy Collamer:

Yeah. I do, and let me share here just 2 questions for people to think about. We’ve all heard about “the bucket list”, and I think that it’s very helpful to think about what’s on your bucket list; not just the big trips, but also maybe now is when you’d like to finally try your hand at writing that book you’ve always thought about writing; or devoting more time to volunteering. It’s both the big and the small things.

But along with the bucket list, I ask people, “What’s on your ‘chuck it’ list?” And by that, I mean, what are you looking forward to giving up, and saying goodbye to? Because it’s interesting; people have a much easier time saying what it is they don’t want, than what they do want.

And when you begin to list the things that you don’t want- “Well, I’m tired of the commute”; or, “I’m tired of being around people who drain me”- what it does, is it not only allows you to vent, but it also begins to illuminate and shed light on the things you might want.

So I think if you start with those 2 things, and then the third thing I would suggest is, just make some lists; about past jobs and volunteer experiences, and begin to organize all that data that’s sort of circulating around in your mind. Because you have 50+ years of life experience and work experience that you can look back on, and if you take the time to organize it, what you will find is you are going to see very clear patterns and clues about what you find compelling, what you do well, and what you really enjoy doing.

Mac Prichard:

And as you do this self assessment and ask yourself those questions and make those lists, how can either colleagues, or friends, or advisors help you through this process?

Nancy Collamer:

Yeah, well you just asked the million dollar question. Because there again, I think being over 50, you have a tremendous advantage, is you know a lot of people in all different aspects of your life. And you know, chances are a lot of them are grappling with the same issue at the same time. And if you sit down with colleagues, or with people who you’ve done volunteer projects with,and talk with them about some ideas that you might be thinking about and get their input on them, you will be amazed at how that brainstorming process can really help you to generate options. It will also help you secure some introductions to people that might lead you to your next step.

You know when I wrote my book, I was just amazed at the number of times those conversations are what led to people’s next act. So, it is this combination of both introspection- you really thinking about what you want- but then getting out there and having conversations with people, and trying things out. And when you do that, you will be pleasantly surprised by the number of possibilities that seem to almost magically appear.

Mac Prichard:

And I, do want to touch on your last point, which action…so you do the research and the assessment; you reach out to to people, you get advice. How do you actually avoid the analysis paralysis and get started, Nancy?

Nancy Collamer:

Yeah, I think it’s doing things one small step at a time. And so the process can feel overwhelming, so figure out one small thing that you can do. And I’ll tell you one of the best things and oftentimes easiest things for people to do is just take a class or a workshop. What it does for you, is once you sign up for the class, then it sort of forces you to go, because you’ve already put down the money. And again, it can be a $25 lecture that you attend.

But it’s a wonderful opportunity for you to just begin to learn about a potentially new and exciting area, and to meet some other people who are involved in that field. And that’s how you can begin the process of having conversations and really help get the process rolling.

And the other thing that I often recommend to people is, once you come up with a general idea of an area that you might want to head into, you may want to consider going to a conference to learn more.

One of the people that I profile in my book is someone who became a senior move manager, which is someone who helps people downsize from their forever homes into the next phase of living. And she heard about this; she thought she might be a good fit. She literally hopped on a plane and went out to the conference of the National Association of Senior Move Managers.

And you know, for virtually every type of business out there, there is an association. And many of them sponsor trainings and conferences, and they can be a tremendous way to learn more and to meet people.

Mac Prichard:

Well, terrific advice. And I just love the way you’re thinking about what happens in that second part of your career. And if you’re in a job that you don’t like, and you have to keep working because you don’t have that defined benefit pension, there are alternatives. So thank you, Nancy.

Now tell us what’s coming up next for you.

Nancy Collamer:

A couple of things- one is I continue to publish my newsletter, which is a free e-newsletter that i publish every other week, and people who are interested can sign up for that on my site at http://www.mylifestylecareer.com/. And the other project that I am working on right now is putting together a digital product that will help people to jump start their second act planning process.

Mac Prichard:

Okay, well we’ll be sure to include the link to your website as well as your newsletter in the show notes, And we encourage listeners to go check out your page. Nancy, thanks for being on the show today.

Nancy Collamer:

Thanks so much for having me.

Mac Prichard:

You’re welcome.

We’re back in the Mac’s List studio with Jessica and Ben. Now what are your thoughts about my conversation with Nancy? Jessica?

Jessica Black:

Well, it was fascinating to listen to. I found myself thinking a lot. One thing that stuck out, I guess I should say is, her piece about budgeting. Because as someone in my early 30’s, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about budgeting. I’m kind of in a hard core budgeting phase of my life at the moment; and so that kind of popped out to me. Because I’m in that same zone of thinking, trying to add that component into my budgeting, putting money away for retirement. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, but I’ve never really made enough money to really make it work. So I’d really like to make that happen so that I‘m not, you know, 65 and having to work because I have to rather than because I want to.

And so…but I also was thinking that I’m sort of in that space because of the fact that I feel like I’ve sort of been an early retiree my whole life, being in that zone of, I’ve never taken a job because I had to or it was a soul sucking job. I’ve always created my own destiny in that way; of searching for the happiness and the things that were fulfilling, rather than just the paycheck. And so that is partially why I’ve never made enough money to put money away for retirement; because it was more important to me to find the fulfilling activities. Which she sort of noted is something that you do when you’re in early retirement. And so I thought that was sort of funny, because here in Portland, of which I am a native, our sort of…the Portlandia tagline…is “where young people go to retire.” And so it’s, it’s just sort of a funny thing I was thinking about.

Mac Prichard:

Good. How about you, Ben? What are some of your thoughts?

Ben Forstag:

I liked her emphasis on reassessing where you’re at and what you want to do, and what you can do once you hit retirement age. I think one of the things a lot of people struggle with is, “Well I’ve always been a salesperson; and now I still need to be a salesperson in retirement.” And I don’t think it needs to be that way.

And I think you can do this pivot to a..make supplemental income doing something different, and perhaps something that you enjoy much more. But you need to get clear on your goals and you need to reflect on what really is.

I loved her example about the person who discovered a career that she didn’t even know existed, in…I can’t remember the term now…Senior down placement?

Mac Prichard:

Helping people move out of their forever homes to a smaller place.

Ben Forstag:

Yeah. Great example. I know my father is kind of in a similar situation, where he is…he’s always kind of looking for something else he can be doing; out of boredom, out of the desire to make a little bit of money. And he’s just, in the process of his own life, taking care of his father for example, has learned all of these things that he can be doing to help people out, that he will enjoy and that might make him a little bit of extra money on the side.

But you’ll never get to that point, you’ll never find these things, unless you take the time to do some self reflection and some exploration.

Mac Prichard:

And, I loved her big point, which is the way we’ve thought about retirement is flawed. And it’s a model that isn’t available to most people now. But even if it is, if you’re able to stop working altogether, in the long run it’s not good…for most people, it’s not good for your health.

So how do you think about it differently, and this idea that…because I think a lot of people struggle with this thought that they’ve got to save a big pile of money, and that success means not working altogether. And her argument that instead, there’s a different way, where you earn enough to pay your bills while continuing to grow your retirement savings is..it’s an intriguing model. I think it has a lot to say for it.

Well, great. Well thank you both, and thank you all for joining us today on Finding Your Dream Job. If you like what you hear, please sign up for our free weekly newsletter. In each issue, we give you the key points of that week’s show. We also include links to all of the resources mentioned; and you get a transcript of the full episode.

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Many people believe retirement means working until a certain age and then enjoying a life of leisure. The problem with this thinking, says this week’s guest expert, Nancy Collamer, is that most of us are facing the 40/30 dilemma. After working (only) 40 years in a full-time career, 30 years of retirement can be too many hours to fill, and too many years to fund.

That’s why Nancy urges people to make retirement more than just gardening, grandkids, and golfing. You can also use this time to explore a second act career.

Nancy notes that many people find it daunting to plan for their second act career, so she suggests three steps to help with the process:

  • Introspection —  Think about what you want, and how you want to do it.
  • Idea Generation — Get out there, and research your options.
  • Experimentation — Try things out, to see what fits.

The sooner you start this process, the better! Finding your encore career earlier in life, may allow you to quit you unfulfilling 9-5 job before you otherwise expected. A second act career can also mean you don’t have to dip into your savings as early.

This Week’s Guest

Nancy Collamer is an expert on second-act careers, semi-retirement and boomer career trends. She writes a career blog for Forbes.com and the PBS website NextAvenue.org. Nancy is also the author of Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit Your Passions During Semi-Retirement and a contributor to Not Your Mother’s Retirement and 65 Things To Do When You Retire.

Nancy publishes her free newsletter on My Lifestyle Career and she is working on a digital product to help people jump start their second act career planning process.

Resources from this Episode