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Working in Retirement

USA Today finds top priority of boomers is pursuing a new career

USA Today recently reached out to baby boomer readers and asked them how they were using the second half of their life for transformation. More than 150 boomers responded, talking about volunteering, education, and their future ambitions. 

The most common goal boomers shared seemed to be the desire to pursue a new career. That doesn't necessarily mean a traditional 9-to-5, either. Bonnie Ulrich and Rick Desotelle, both 56, decided to start raising rescued Siberian huskies, and suddenly found themselves giving sled rides in the winter. Now, they participate in parades, festivals and even birthday parties with their four-legged companions.

"It's a great community service and as retired educators, it allows us to follow our passion in an ideal way. It's so darn much fun," Ulrich told the publication.

Other boomers are looking for opportunities that broaden their horizons. John Pugh, 64, was a professional pilot for three decades, but in 2006, he decided to take a job as an engineer and tour guide at the Jacksonville, Florida, Zoo and Garden. He drives a replica Civil War-era steam engine and discusses the different animals at the zoo.He says that the biggest thanks he gets is from the kids, who give him hugs to show their gratitude.

Finding the perfect encore career is difficult, but with the right strategies, the transition can be smooth and enjoyable. Laurence Shatkin, the author of "The Sequel: How to Change Careers Without Starting Over," told the newspaper that it may be best to find a role model who is already in the job you think you want to try. Ask them about their own adaptation and any advice they think could be handy.

A poll conducted by The Associated Press and LifeGoesStrong.com showed that one out of every five boomers is working in a field they have been in for less than a decade.

One of the main issues facing many partial retirees is how to live with the luxuries of retirement and balance an encore career at the same time. Del Webb retirement communities are designed to accommodate homeowners on either end of the scale, whether they're retired full-time or still in the office most days. With amenities that are open later and flexible schedules for classes and clubs, working residents can still enjoy the vibrant social life and diverse activities that boomers expect from this exciting new life phase.  

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