For many baby boomers closing in on retirement, the idea of being idle is unthinkable. Still vital, they want to view this phase of life as a beginning rather than an end. The question is, a beginning of what?
It is just this topic that author Marci Alboher addresses in The Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life, published this past January by Workman Press. Ms. Alboher will speak at the Princeton Senior Resource Center (PSRC) on Tuesday, April 23 at 7 p.m. The PSRC will follow the event with a series of seven workshops in May and June, based on the book.
The vice president of Encore.org, a non-profit dedicated to helping people pursue meaningful second acts in life, Ms. Alboher is a former blogger and columnist for The New York Times and has appeared on public radio and been quoted on The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and other national media. Her book is a kind of road map to transitioning from one phase of life to another.
“I took a look at this book and saw that it fills a need for people trying to figure out what they want to do with the next stage of their lives, while also making a difference,” says Carol King, who is the director of Next Step: Engaged Retirement and Encore Careers at PSRC and a frequent lecturer on the topic herself. “Somebody coined a phrase that says when we retire from our careers, we move from success to significance,” she continues. “It’s a matter of making a difference. We have a large contingent in this area of baby boomers retiring, and this is very relevant to their lives.”
The first baby boomers turned 65 on January 1, 2011. Millions upon millions are following them. “That is sort of the de facto age for retirement, although that isn’t really true because more and more people want to continue working — some out of necessity, and some because they enjoy it,” Ms. King says.
Chapters in Ms. Alboher’s book focus on such topics as how much money a person needs to make, networking, the pros and cons of going back to school, how to harness the power of social media, who is hiring, and for what jobs.
“She hits all the topics,” Ms. King says. “She talks about what an encore career is, and self-assessment — figuring out what you want to do. Some people just don’t know. For them, dealing with this change and uncertainty can be scary, and the book helps with that.”
A retiree herself, Ms. King calls her encore career at PSRC “a giveback job.” She was a college professor and worked extensively in hospitality management before coming to PSRC five years ago. Just after starting the job, she attended a women’s expo where she was seated at a table with others from PSRC.
“People looked at our table and you could tell they thought, ‘Ugh, I’m not that old!’”, she recalls. “They were repulsed by it. I thought, what was I up against? But in five years, the image, locally, has changed. We have the Engaged Retirement programs, and the Evergreen Forum, both of which are bringing in the more active, younger people. And they are changing the face of this organization.”
Admission is free to Ms. Alboher’s talk. Light refreshments will be served. The event is co-sponsored by VolunteerConnect, Encore.org, and the organization Coming of Age of Philadelphia.