Second Careers for Baby Boomers….Is there hope?

There were a total of 76 million births in America after World War II. This temporary and highly-unexpected spike in births resulted in the generation known as the baby boomer. Baby boomers are now all slowly reaching the age where they can be qualified as senior citizens, however, many of them are still as active as ever. Baby boomers are generally hard-working, caring and incredibly determined individuals who are independent and free-thinking. Unfortunately, when this generation came of age, they might not have had the ideal career opportunities available to them.

Many who are approaching this stage life have chosen quality of life over quantity.  Asheville North Carolina is one of the top retirement communities in the USA.   However, many find that retirement isn’t what they wanted after.  Aging boomers in Asheville are finding, surprisingly a number of second careers in Asheville.  Industries such as hospitality, manufacturing and retail are among those who value the wisdom and hard working ethic of these baby boomers. To find a job in Asheville you need a strategy. Not just baby boomers, everyone.

– Read: How to find job in Asheville

Due to being born in relatively large families with multiple children, the average baby boomer grasped onto whichever career was made available to them. Many boomers didn’t go to college and now, with the demand for a degree for most careers, are finding themselves struggling well into retirement age. In fact, many boomers are unable to retire because of the first career path they chose to take. Because of these issues, it’s not uncommon for a boomer to look into getting a second career.

What is a Second Career?
A second career is a job that a person might get after working for a long period of time in one specific field. For example, let’s say that a baby boomer started working as a secretary shortly after graduating from college. She continued working as a secretary for decades until realizing that she needed and wanted a better and more rewarding career. Despite having years in a specific field, someone may want to change industries entirely and begin the path of developing a second career. This doesn’t mean that the person doesn’t like their first pick or that they aren’t good at what they’re doing. It just means that their tastes have changed and they are ready for a shift in their lifestyle. If you’ve ever dreamed of being a doctor, it is never too late to get away from your current career and embark on what could be a highly rewarding and involved work opportunity.

Why More Baby Boomers are Quitting Their Current Jobs to Begin a New Career
When baby boomers graduated from high school, most of them began working in trade-type careers. This means that they started working in jobs that did not require a degree but instead required on-the-job training or a small amount of trade school to complete. The boomers who did go to college may have chosen a career that, at the time, felt right to them only to realize that years down the road, they weren’t happy in what they were doing. This is the reason so many baby boomers are starting to either quit or consider quitting their current careers and start their alternative career.

What are Your Options?
As a boomer, you have quit a lot of options available to you. Most jobs nowadays require some type of degree to get started, so schooling and college is often necessary to begin an alternative career. However, even with education, you have a myriad of different work opportunities available to you. Many boomers choose to go into fields that are in high demand currently, like computer technology, medicine and biochemical research and dentistry. Some are changing fields entirely, going from a secretarial position to one where they are helping patients as a registered nurse or working in corrections or for the police department. It is never too late to decide that you need a career change, and the only thing you need to think about is which job you feel is right for you. Doing a self assessment might help nail down what is most important to you.

Going Back to School: Options and Benefits
Because most jobs nowadays require some type of degree or special training to get hired, you need to consider the benefits of going back to school. Boomers may laugh at the idea of sitting in a classroom full of 20-somethings, but it’s a lot more common than you might think. If the idea of sitting in a classroom puts you off, most classes are available on the internet, allowing you to attend college right from the comfort of your own home. Another key benefit to going back to school to begin another career is that it sharpens the mind as you begin to enter your golden years.  There are several training programs that can fast-track you into your new second career.

Will Companies Hire Older Baby Boomers?
The question that many boomers have is whether or not they will even be hired after going through training, coursework and clinical education. While it is illegal for any job to discriminate against a person’s age, many employers will find an “excuse” to not hire a boomer. They may feel that the person is too old to keep up with the job, especially if it is very demanding. They may also be afraid that the boomer is only going to work for a few years before retiring, leaving the employer to have to find someone to replace them quickly. However, because so many boomers are either unable to retire due to lack of a retirement fund or are working as employers themselves, it is becoming increasingly common for them to be hired. It is illegal for any place of employment to refuse work due to a person’s age and if you are ever denied work because you are older, immediately report the company to the Labor Board for further investigation. However, there are some real benefits to hiring baby boomers and many companies are beginning to understand this. Boomers are hard-working and caring individuals. When they are scheduled to come into work, oftentimes they never call out. The younger generation of career workers tend to go from one job to another always looking for something better, whereas boomers settle into their new career and work their way up.

Types of Jobs Available

The type of job that you choose is dependent on what you’d like to do. Ideally, it should be something that you have always dreamed of pursuing but were unable to because you started your current career at a young age and then were tied to it because of financial and family responsibilities. Your career option may be one that requires a lot of schooling, like becoming a doctor or dentist, or it might be something minimal that you think would be fun like becoming a waitress, working as a dental assistant or becoming a phlebotomist in a laboratory. Below are just some of the jobs available that baby boomers can pursue:

• Nursing
• Physicians or Dentists
• Restaurant or Hospitality Management
• Corrections or Law Enforcement
• Computer Technology and IT
• Writing, Editing or Copywriting
• Publishing
• Business Consulting
• Accounting
• Professional Driving and Truck Driving
• Construction
• Animal Care
• Forest Conservation and Preservation
• Postal Service and Government Work

Certain careers are unsuitable for aging boomers, like the military that has a strict age limit on who can join. However, most of the above career options and fields are always looking for trained, reliable and skilled workers who are looking to start a career.

NOTE: As the editor of AshevilleJobs.com, I witness firsthand the low unemployment rate and the struggles many local employers have in filling positions.  Many have resorted to broadening their mindset to aggressively include going after those looking for second careers.  Companies such as …..

Making the Switch
Switching from a long-term career to another can be confusing, daunting and scary. If you’ve put a lot of time and energy into your current career, you may even wonder if it’s worth making the switch. However, it doesn’t pay to be unhappy with your current job, even if you’re a boomer. Because boomers have a hard time retiring due to pension problems and low social security amounts, starting a new career now can secure you for the rest of your life and provide you with something that is both rewarding and high-paying.

If you will need to go back to school to begin your new career as a boomer, there are several grants available that you can apply for specific to people your age. These grants are given to aging individuals who would like to embark on a new career and receive the education that they require to make this a reality. While it can be downright frightening to go from one career to another, especially when you’re older and there seems to be so many obstacles in your path, it can be one of the most beneficial things that you do for your financial well-being, security and your sense of confidence. There is probably nothing more rewarding than saying that you want to start a new career late in life and actually turning your dreams into your new reality.

Before you quit your current job, you need to do research on different careers available to you, what it will take for you to begin working and openings for new jobs in your area so that you don’t need to relocate just to work. Once you understand what it will take to start the new job, you will need to apply for college, look into grants and start earning credits that will be put towards a degree. This degree is what will help you to land a job in your new field. While some employers may not be eager to hire someone who is of the aging community, you need to continue pursuing a career or even think about starting your own business so that you are able to put your new skills to the test. Starting a new career might even be easier than you ever imagined, and now is the best time to consider making the switch because you’re able to focus on yourself rather than kids and other family members.

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