Is There An “Encore” In Your Career’s Future?

I live in New York City in Midtown Manhattan, within easy walking distance of world-class performing arts venues Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Encores are highly prized and sought after in my neighborhood. When it comes to your career, or the recruiting you and your firm are doing, is there an encore in your future?

I’m not referring to curtain calls, grateful bows or curtsies, or a bouquet of roses. Who wouldn’t love any of those? I’m talking about encore careers. The Wikipedia definition is “work in the second half of life that combines continued income, greater personal meaning, and social impact. These jobs are paid positions, often in public interest fields, such as education, the environment, health, the government sector, social services, and other nonprofits.” Encore.org, a non-profit organization focused on this movement describes it more succinctly as “second acts for the greater good.”

I am a walking commercial for encore careers because I’m in one and loving it. You could have one too. Your employer could also benefit greatly from accessing the talent pool of mature, mid- and late-career people who are looking for an encore, or the next phase of their working lives. According to Money magazine in The Suddenly Hot Job Market for Workers Over 50, many organizations are discovering and focusing on this population.

Here’s my story.

I spent 30 years working for two large for-profit firms, P&G and IBM. For several years, my plans have been to join an organization with a mission focused on making the world, or at least a small corner of it, a better place. I wanted to more fully live my life in service to others, with a focus on education, social justice, equality or other issues that matter to me — as a servant leader, utilizing social to engage and connect people, both passions of mine.

I was ready to make a move and start my encore career.

I considered a handful of very interesting positions, in HR and not, all found through my personal network or my Twitter feed (really).  My decision was to accept a newly created position in Alumni and Development at my alma mater doing fundraising work.

My new role is Director, Foundation Relations and Regional Advancement Officer at Transylvania University, a private, nationally-ranked liberal arts college in downtown Lexington, Kentucky.

Yes, I can hear you snickering. Transylvania is Latin for “across the forest.” The college was founded in 1780 by Thomas Jefferson when he was Governor of Virginia (and Kentucky was not yet a separate state). Later President, Gov. Jefferson recommended Transylvania over Harvard back in the day, and it remains a fine institution. I continue to live in New York City, working with foundations, alumni, parents and friends in this northeast and around the country to support the liberal arts, Transylvania, making the world a better place one student and one graduating class at a time.

Is there an encore career in your, or your organization’s future? Here are a few ways to learn more, and take action.

  1. Follow encore career-related Twitter feeds, including @NextAvenue @EncoreOrg @nonprofitorgs @Idealist @IdealistCareers @cgcareers and @DRGSearch
  2. Purchase and read The Encore Career Handbook, by Marci Albohor
  3. In your recruiting, target and seriously consider mid- and late-career professionals for open positions. Help them find an encore and contribute their years of talent and experience to your organization’s success.

I plan to share more with you in this blog from time to time, on HR, work culture, social business, travel, encore careers, and connections between people and cultures. Please share my post, and let me know what you’d like to hear from me in the future. I’ll see you on #TChat!

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