How to embark on an encore career


Dream Job Ahead


Recently Adam Mayers published “Five tips for older workers looking for work” in the Toronto Star. In addition to these great  suggestions, I have some other ideas based on my own personal experience.

Some people work beyond age 65 into their 70s or longer because they need the money. Others love the sense of accomplishment and the camaraderie they get at work. In both cases, older workers can make a tremendous contribution to their workplace and their co-workers.

But if you are contemplating an encore career I think it is the perfect time to chuck the “same old, same old” and embark on a new adventure. Here are a few ways you can get started:

1. Update your LinkedIn profile: Dave Dineen’s blog Dave’s Retirement Journey can be found on When Dave took early retirement he did not intend to do paid work. However, once he updated his LinkedIn profile, he was approached to do a series of lucrative marketing projects that he has been able to complete even while he and his wife travelled extensively.

2. Identify what you love: Think about the components of your most recent position and what you loved to do most. Imagine a job where you can strip out the tasks you liked least. In my case, I loved writing and synthesizing ideas. Non-productive meetings, budgeting and giving performance reviews made me crazy.

3. Stay with your employer: If you have a great employer, see if you can negotiate a new arrangement. Perhaps a unique role can be fashioned that will leverage your core competencies but strip out the “administrivia” that makes you less productive. Phased retirement, project or part-time work can give you a new lease on life.

4. Talk to competitors: In cases where your current employer is not prepared to offer you a flexible work arrangement doing what you love most, an industry competitor may be delighted to pay for your talent and expertise on your own terms.

5. Start a business: Even the least entrepreneurial person can develop and market a service or product with little overhead on the internet using social media. Do people swoon over the baby clothes you make for friends and relatives? Craftspeople from around the world have posted over 50,000 items for babies on

6. Teach what you know: Colleges, community centres and schools are always looking for novel programs both as part of the standard curriculum and for continuing education programs. I know a chef who is on the culinary faculty at Humber College and a journalist who teaches in the Humber College communications program.

7. Do something completely different: A friend of mine with a graduate degree in psychology had a very stressful job in medical research for many years. When she and her husband moved to the U.S., she got a degree in design, joined the faculty at the school and started an interior design business.

8. Be a mentor: Whether you stay with your current employer, join a competitor or start a business, you have invaluable experience you can pass on to younger workers. For example, Futurepreneur Canada provides business advice, as well as support and encouragement, to help young entrepreneurs remain focused on what is important for the success of their business. You can find out more about volunteering as a Futurpreneur Canada mentor here .



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