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Consider Your Work Options

Enda Goodwin

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Field Agent

Field Agent

The 21st century offers a wide range of work options for people in the 50 to 65 age bracket. With the increasing appreciation of age and experience in today's society, people often continue in one or more work options into their 70s and 80s.

Following is a description of the nine major categories:

  • Career continuation involves staying on the same career path you have been on. In the context of this milestone, it would amount to rejecting (for the moment) any idea of retirement or major change and opting instead to either continue in your current job or seek a similar position.
  • Career change typically involves filling the same role in a very different organization, perhaps in a lesser capacity, or moving to a very different industry or both. It can also involve a significant change in role. For instance, a human resources manager becomes a business school instructor or a marketing manager becomes a health care worker.
  • Interim assignments are a relatively new possibility. Temporary work or contingency assignments through agencies started out only in hourly jobs. Now, it sometimes exists at the highest levels of management, as well as virtually all professions. Because assignments are much shorter than so-called permanent positions, interim work
    can offer a very different lifestyle.
  • Project or contract work involves doing work on a short-term or part-time basis, or both. It is not to be confused with being a self-employed consultant. The easiest and most commonly used way of getting this kind of work is by talking with a former employer or with an associate who has contacts in a relevant organization. Interim assignments are a variation of this category.
  • Self-employment includes becoming a consultant, acquiring a franchise, buying a business or starting a business. 
  • Volunteer work exists at all levels in government, not-for-profits and service organizations. You could volunteer as a hospice worker, to help the local school board or with a national organization. In any case, you may need to go looking for the right opportunity and may need to use contacts and advocate for yourself, even though the job is unpaid. With the right contacts and the right plan, you might be able to create a tailor-made opportunity.
  • Charitable work is usually a variation of volunteer work. It may be associated with a religious organization as well as a not-for-profit.
  • Board memberships are a way to stay involved in organizations without a major time involvement.
  • Portfolio career is a combination of any of the above. The portfolio career can be an excellent pre-retirement structure because it allows someone to taper off full-time employment gradually rather than experience a sudden cessation of work. It also offers a way to maintain an income stream while still pursuing other interests, such as volunteer or charitable work and educational pursuits.

Planning your time use exercise

Making tentative plans for the next phase of your life involves understanding how much time you want to spend in the various aspects of your life.

Here's an opportunity to build on the work you have completed, to convert a vision into a concrete, tentative life plan. We have included some planning worksheets and a few examples for you to consider before you plan your own time use.

Time Use Example #1: Represents a person who:

  • Works part-time three days a week for a previous employer
  • Meets friends or co-workers each weekday for lunch
  • Does volunteer community service two times a week
  • Plays golf two afternoons a week
  • Attends religious services weekly
  • Goes to social functions two or more evenings a week

Planning Time Exercise #1

Time Use Example #2: Represents a person who:

  • Self employed as a consultant
  • Serves on one non-profit board
  • Combines social and personal by exercising with friends
  • Taking a graduate course

Planning  Time Exercise #2

Time Use Example #3: Represents a person who:

  • Works part-time as a clerk in a bookstore
  • Has started writing a book
  • Serves three mornings a week in a homeless shelter
  • Spends Saturday babysitting grandchildren

Planning time Exercise #3

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