Monday, February 18, 2008

Boomers Working Well Beyond Retirement!

This blog entry from Shifting Careers at The New York Times.

February 11, 2008, 11:25 am
Trading Retirement for Something Else
By Marci Alboher

“The encore career is not a retirement job. It’s not a transitional phase. It’s not a bridge between the end of real work and the beginning of real leisure. It’s not leftover time to be killed. It’s an entire stage of life and work — a destination and category of work until itself.”

Marc Freedman, “Encore” (PublicAffairs Books, 2007).

The “encore career” is the brainchild of social entrepreneur, Mr. Freedman, whom I interviewed for today’s Shifting Careers column. Through his nonprofit organization, Civic Ventures, and the book, Encore, Mr. Freedman has been working furiously to create a blueprint and tools for a generation of aging baby boomers who want to spend their later years productively.

When I started my interview with Mr. Freedman, he warned me that he might sound a little loopy because his 4-week-old son has been behaving like a newborn. I was captivated by him, even in his tired state. For nearly three hours, he talked about all the ways that individuals in the second half of life can remain engaged in work while improving the world around them.

He recited facts and quoted studies, described ambitious programs (like, the Purpose Prize he created to award money to social entrepreneurs 60 and over), and offered case studies like Gary Maxworthy, a former food executive (and Purpose Prize winner) who developed a system in his encore career to deliver fresh produce to food pantries throughout California.
About three hours later, I felt a mixture of hope and frustration.

I was hopeful because the efforts of people like Mr. Freedman will provide support for those of us who are passionate about giving back and want to continue to work — rather than live life as an extended vacation. I was frustrated because it will take a lot more than one man, one organization and one book to make his visions a reality for the millions of people who want to do something meaningful in their later years, but may not have the means.

Read the interview. And read Encore, the book. Mr. Freedman has some powerful ideas and suggestions. Now, he just needs to get more people to listen.

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