Single Baby Boomers Changing Careers to Pursue Their Passion

Single Baby Boomers Changing Careers to Pursue Their Passions

“Passionate people exude energy, power, excitement, drive and commitment. Their eyes sparkle, they are fully alive. They have an impact on others. They are the people who often become our leaders, or become the achievers on this planet. They achieve what they want, and most of us talk about them and often envy them. Yet less than 10% of people are visibly pursuing their passion.” -Charles Kovess, Author.

Are you one of the less than 10% who are pursuing their passion or part of the over 90% who aren’t engaged in pursuits they truly love?  Hunting for your dream job or starting a new business can be daunting if you’re single with one income.  Maybe your search started because your company was downsized, you were harassed by a boss or co-worker, a victim of, illegal, but all too common, age discrimination, divorced, or for other reasons.  Baby Boomers are more likely than Generation X or Millennials to have pensions that allow them to retire early, but our pensions aren’t enough to live on and our investments didn’t make the high gains over the years as our parent’s investments.  Many who want to continue working must retire due to industry rules, such as those that govern commercial pilots and federal law enforcement.  Military personnel often retire well before 62 and find that they can work for a military contractor.  However, if you’re not old enough for social security benefits and your pension or investments won’t cover expenses, you’re looking for a new job and may want to do something you really enjoy.

You may now be signed up for numerous online job search services and LinkedIn.  You’re filling out lengthy forms online, often with no response even if you’re called in for an interview.  You find that the salary and benefits you earned aren’t available for someone your age no matter how much experience and education you have.  You try part-time, low paying jobs, because you’ve bills to pay.  Your self-esteem is at an all-time low.  You may develop anxiety and depression.  To combat these feelings, it’s important to become proactive.  Your friends can be your best source for finding contacts that could lead to an encore career.  Their input can help you develop a network of people in areas that’ve always been an interest for you.

It’s important to be a lifelong learner to keep your cognitive skills sharp and be more employable.  It was once my dream to get my doctorate, but in my 50’s I went back to school to earn my certification in school psychology.  Later I earned an English as a Second Language certificate.  Both additions to my resume opened new doors which led to greater job satisfaction and travel opportunities.

Ashville, North Carolina has a thriving community of Baby Boomer who’ve moved there for the stunning mountains, healthy lifestyle, vibrant art community, and learning opportunities at several colleges.   The colleges offer courses needed to earn degrees in a number or areas plus non-credit courses and workshops for Baby Boomers who want to learn a new skill, new techniques for old ones, or find out how to create a business plan, so they can start their own company.  I attend classes at the local college and learned watercolor painting and photography.  I’m looking forward to my next classes on writing and self-defense, information I plan to use when I write my mystery novel.  The senior center also offers classes in a variety of areas and is a great place to network.  Several people there and from other local organizations sell their artwork at weekly local markets, on Etsy, and other online services.

As an educator, I was able to take a sabbatical to teach and work as a school psychologist in an international school in Japan.   I met single Baby Boomers using their expertise to teach children from many different countries.  The friends I made there became traveling companions and Facebook friends, as did the students.  Some of them have continued to travel to other countries teaching and following their dream of seeing the world, learning about new cultures, and making new friends.  You don’t need to be a teacher to use your language skills to teach English in other countries.  It’s not just children who find having English as a second language a useful ability.  Usually just a college degree will allow you to get a job teaching business men and women.  There are also positions available for teaching assistants.  I found that even though I was living in a country that had a high cost of living, I was able to spend and save more since the school subsidized my apartment and had a signing bonus for travel and other expenses.  There are also people who just want to brush up on their English skills and you can volunteer to help them through Diverbo and VaughanTown, http://www.diverbo.com/en  or http://grupovaughan.com/.  You need to pay for your airfare, but you get to spend a week in a luxury resort in Spain or Germany conversing with Spaniards or Germans of all ages.  You may not make any money, but it’ll be an enjoyable, cultural experience and look impressive on your resume.

Both men and women Baby Boomers have embraced the internet as a means of creating and advertising their businesses.  There are extremely profitable businesses providing services and products that started with an internet connection, a computer, and a dream.  Sites like WordPress allow you to create your own websites and blogs through which you can reach the world to sell your new inventions, used and new products and services.  Amazon, eBay, and countless other sites and apps allow you to sell anything from books to cars online.

Skip McGrath was my go-to-guy when I was selling and buying on eBay.  He’s written how-to books, does personal coaching, has several websites, and also sells products with great success. One of his websites is http://www.skipmcgrath.com/ .

One of my favorite bloggers is Amy Sherman, creator and owner of “Baby Boomers Network-The Inside Scoop on the Baby Boomer Generation” at http://www.bummedoutboomer.com/.  See her blog, “When You Retire: Reinventing Yourself in Midlife”.  She has reinvented herself by creating a coaching business and writing several books.

Blogging can become big business in a variety of areas.  There are numerous travel bloggers who support their passion for visiting new places through sponsors on their websites.  Janice Waugh at     http://solotravelerblog.com/ started her website when she became a widow and empty nester.  Her blog helps travel companies build their brands and she fits in speaking engagements during and between trips.  You can also follow her partner, Tracey Nesbitt, and her on Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.  She’s written “The Solo Traveler’s Handbook” which was described as, “Fun, empowering, and tremendously useful.” By Dr. Bella DePaulo, Author of “Singlism, Single with Attitude, and Singled Out”.

Leyla Alyanak’s website, http://www.women-on-the-road.com/, discusses travel from a woman’s perspective, but has great information for women and men of all ages.  She’s written an ebook,” Women on the Road: the essential guide for 50+ solo travel”.  Her website offers ideas for interesting jobs in countries across the globe or on the high seas.  She recommends the following website on her site, http://www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/work/shortterm/tourism_hospitality_gap_year_jobs_abroad.shtml   Since I subscribe to both websites, I can recommend that you take a look at them if you’re interested in making the money to finance your travels.

Two investment advisors and an accountant I know told me that they’ll never retire.  One of them was trying to talk me out of retiring and into waiting until I was 66 to take my social security.  Life, however, has a way of getting in the way.  Even though you may be perfectly healthy today, life can throw you a curve ball and you could have an accident or other health issue.  You may also be called upon to care for a family member.  Although you don’t want to accept that these things may happen, you should be prepared with options that allow you to make money and yet follow your dreams from home.  Online businesses can help and if you’ve marketable hobbies, you can create an adequate cash flow.  I have a friend who’s going through a divorce and is also a caregiver.  She’s been a teacher and commercial artist, so she’s combined her skills to teach painting and sell her art on Etsy.  You can find her at https://www.etsy.com/shop/JillyWillyArt or on Facebook.

There are as many ways to support yourself or just make some extra money as the grains of sand on my beach.  You just need to follow Amy Sherman’s advice from her latest Baby Boomers’ Network eZine,   “Sometimes it helps to remember all the things you loved doing in the past and how it made you feel.  When you recall the joy you experience, why would you want to stop that feeling?”  It must’ve been fate that it turned up in my inbox today, because it sums up what I wanted to express in this blog.

Continue your adventure!

Linda Lea

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