By John Sattler, CPC
“Second acts for the greater good” is how Encore.org describes itself. I will add my own description from the point of view of one who helps professionals take the next steps in their careers: Encore.org taps into our enormous pool of mature, experienced, and talented professionals to help make this world a better place.
The stories of people who have started brand new, meaningful “second” careers are inspiring, to say the least. Read through some of them here. It is all extremely exciting – the possibilities and potential! Our collective perception of “older” age is now dramatically different than only a generation ago. Between these changing attitudes and advancements in medicine, many people now have the option/opportunity to share their knowledge, experience, skills, and love of humanity for decades, if they choose.
Make no mistake, this isn’t about working part time checking in books at the local library (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) – this is about people starting co-ops in Tanzania, running non-profits aiding the disadvantaged in major cities, and landing executive positions at American institutions like the Girl Scouts.
Encore.org has their entire vertical covered as well. They have established pathway programs through colleges and fellowships. The “Purpose Prize” is a $100,000 award for people over 60 who are combining their passion and experience for the social good. 7 people received the award in 2013.
–For the first time in history, there are now 4 generations simultaneously active in the workforce.
–As many as 9 million people between 44 and 60 are in encore careers.
–Research shows 31 million more are interested in encore careers.
–By 2018, there will be more positions open in the U.S. than people to fill them.
Given the all the facts, we all know that age discrimination is alive and well out there; in some places it is actually thriving. But attitudes are changing. Between the whole “encore career” movement and organizations like Encore.org, not only is the playing field being leveled, it is being turned on its head. I hope it continues to be until things are brought to a sensible equilibrium,
We live in an amazing, exciting, challenging and, yes, sometimes frightening, time in history. A mentor once told me that “action cures anxiety”. Encore.org provides a pathway and tools for us to take that action and help slow the juggernaut of anxiety that plagues far too many lives on this planet.