CHAPTER 11

How to Plan for a Second Career

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There are loads of reasons to pursue work in a new field. You’ve retired, but still want to stay in the workforce. You’ve been laid off. Or you are simply burned out in your current job. For many workers, switching careers has become a necessity thanks to a topsy-turvy job market.

Then too, a life crisis may remind you of how quickly life can be snatched away—a health scare of your own perhaps, or the death of a close friend, colleague, or family member. You pause and think twice about what really matters.

But changing careers and redeploying is not new. It’s deeply rooted in the American spirit. Benjamin Franklin got his start making candles before turning to the printing trade, then writing and became a statesman, inventor, and scientist. The Wright brothers were in the newspaper business, followed by bike repair, before turning to aviation and the great blue yonder. Ronald Reagan was an actor before he became a politician. Martha Stewart was a stockbroker. The Zagats, who publish the eponymous restaurant guide, were both corporate lawyers. And the list goes on, from generation to generation.

If switching careers is calling to you, go for it, but please take your time. Career change is a process, and it takes confidence that comes from laying the groundwork. The most successful 50+ career switchers take a few years to learn new skills, ...

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