Book Review: Encore: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Life
By Marc Freedman
In Career Services, we often work with students who, after many years in one career field, are in the process of making a major career transition by pursuing a degree in a different field. For example- students with extensive experience in business are working on a degree in psychology, counseling, human services, education, or health sciences; students with extensive experience in psychology, counseling, human services, education, or health sciences are pursuing a degree in business with goals to consult, start their own business, or create a non-profit organization. The permutations of career progression are many. A common theme that we often see in our students making a major career transition is a strong desire to move toward a career that allows them to express their passion, and provides an opportunity to “give back”.
Freedman, in his book Encore: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Life, describes the history of retirement, and the rationale and powerful social impact of the movement from the pursuit of a passive, leisurely retirement to the pursuit of an encore career – a path of engagement in work that adds purpose and meaning to one’s life. He is a descriptive story teller with data to back up his ideas. He describes people making a midlife and later career change: “ Instead of accepting the notion of a career as an arc that rises in youth, peaks in midlife, and declines into retirement, they are charting a new trajectory − one that for many will reach its apex of meaning and impact when others in past generations headed for the sidelines.”
He also states: “Like the first retirees to flock to Sun City, the pioneers of the new model are finding their way through largely unchartered territory. But unlike those retirees, these pioneers are not celebrating their freedom from work, but rather their freedom to work, in ways that hold the promise of personal fulfillment, economic benefit, and social renewal.” Freedman includes an appendix that provides practical tips on navigating the challenges of making a major career change. If you are in the process of making such a change, remember you have a team of Career Services advisors to help you plan and navigate your path.
Written by Career Services Advisor Denise Pranke