I have met with many clients as they prepare for retirement or a second (or encore) act. While they all dream of that initial laid-back beach environment, many come to the realization that they want to be active and involved in life. Typically, they want to do something different or expand on something they have done as a hobby or side interest. A second act career allows you to change from your current career in life to one that allows you to make choices and decisions to find your path, maybe ways to give back and feel more connected in your career than in the past experiences. This encore chance of your life provides the time and flexibility necessary to take these chances.
Based on my work with clients over the past years, I want to provide six things to consider as you think about your second act. Just remember that not everyone follows the same path as they research and decide on their next journey. Take time and reflect on what you want and what you might be missing now in your current role. Here are my six things to consider before you jump!
It is important to take time and think about your decisions. My clients complete a “Life Arena” assessment in which they can see where they stand on ten different categories: life’s purpose, work/career, social network, spirituality, health/wellness, intimate relationships, attitude towards change, leisure/interests, family and relationships and financial well-being. This way, we can look at a more complete picture and see what needs more focus and attention. This also allows us a chance to probe on what they are looking for. How is their purpose going to change in the next act? What gives them energy and excitement as they step into a new role?
As you enter a new environment or business adventure, many things may surprise you in the ways things work and how people act. If you are coming from an educational background, you find the freedom to complete your new job as a breath of fresh air. The ability to complete your responsibilities based on your skill and creativity as long as you make a deadline is energizing. Be open to change; new ways to do tasks and responsibilities is important as you begin your new career.
Try it out:
I encourage all my clients to volunteer in many different non-profits and in different capacities if possible. This can be done part-time after work or on weekends, depending on the organization. By volunteering, you can see what you like and do not like in your current job along with seeing new opportunities. These types of experience can inspire you to get training or further education to make the switch. Often, my clients wish they made an earlier switch.
Expect Less Money:
Most of my clients have experienced a drop-in salary in their second act careers. It is important to realize this before you switch. That is why it is so vital to reflect on your life arenas, to know why you are making the move and the change in your finances with the switch. You need to review your current spending habits and lifestyle to see where you can trim some fat and understand why you are making the choice. Money is not everything, but the value you provide in your community is priceless.
I always encourage my clients to review who is in their current network. How can they access them and use them in their next act of life. I have them look at friends, family, neighbors and work colleagues to discover their network. I also encourage them to build their network with new connections from areas they are interested in pursuing. Getting involved in some professional networking groups or local associations related to their potential second act career provides great information and potential leads. Using LinkedIn and LinkedIn groups to build your network will be vital to your new second act opportunities.
Some of my clients want to escape and head off into a very new career because they are not happy in their current career. While this may sound great, what are the transferable skills and knowledge you can use to make this transition appropriate and realistic? For example, jumping from a corporate job to running a restaurant are entirely two different animals. Be smart and understand what you can bring to the table with your new employer and what training or education you need to make the switch successful.
My best advice is to take small steps and evaluate along the way. Reflect on why you are making the changes and understand it may require shifts in your family from finances to lifestyle. In any career change, you need support from all those in involved.
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Written by: Mark Danaher, Career Retirement Coach
CEO & Founder, Career Retirement Coach at Retire to the Good Life. Request a free consultation with Mark.