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Lifelong Learning

A personal learning network is key to any career

Many baby boomers are thinking about how they can make their retirement as productive as possible with a new career, possibly in a field that they've felt passionate or curious about for years. A poll by The Associated Press and LifeGoesStrong.com highlighted this fact recently, showing that one out of every five boomers is currently working in an industry that they have been employed in for less than a decade. 

But the career landscape is changing. Most boomers want to do a little work during retirement, but may feel at a loss as to how to get started. A free e-book by Fast Company senior writer Anya Kamenetz approaches a career by a different angle - lifelong learning.

"Lifelong learning is a must for any career," Kamenetz writes. "But in the long run, no one learns alone. We all need people to bounce ideas off, answer questions, and help when we get stuck, and to give you ideas about what to learn next." She recommends focusing on forming a Personal Learning Network (PLN) that consists of family, friends, experts on interesting subjects, as well as online news sites and social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.

The key is to grow your online presence so that you're exposed to as many opportunities as possible. Kamenetz recommends staying active and engaged in these internet groups by commenting on links or sharing them with friends is a great way to network and learn at the same time.

Not only that, forming an electronic learning network can help expose you to new technologies and teach you how to use them to your advantage. Job searches have rapidly changed over the past few years. Today, companies are known to Google prospective employees as much as employees Google them. If job seekers have an online profile, it's sure to reflect their skills and interests better than any one-sentence blip on a resume.

But how do you balance learning, networking and retirement in one swoop? Del Webb retirement living communities have combined all three in one package. Many offer fully furnished business centers for telecommuters and job seekers, as well as partnerships with lifelong learning programs that can help homeowners learn new skills - from technology to investing. All of these programs are available in the broader context of communities that offer state-of-the-art fitness facilities, social centers and much more. 

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