F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said there are no second acts in American lives, but today's boomers are showing just how wrong he was.
In the United States, as many as 9 million people between 44 and 70 have transitioned to a new career or put off retirement to stay in the work force, and an estimated 31 million more would like to join them, according to a report by Civic Ventures and the MetLife Foundation released today.
The report highlights the growing phenomenon of the encore career -- work that people pursue in the second half of life to follow a long-held passion, start a business or join a nonprofit to make a difference in their community or the world.
The number of people making the transition to encore careers is higher than ever, up 7 percent from 2008, according to the report, which was based on telephone and online surveys of 2,500 U.S. adults. Several factors -- the nation's increased life expectancy, a desire among many to give back, and lingering uncertainties about the economy and paying for retirement -- are contributing to the trend, according to the report.
"People currently in encore careers are working in education (30 percent), health care (25 percent), government (25 percent) and nonprofit organizations (11 percent). On average, they expect to continue in these roles for 11 more years," the report says.
As you weigh the next step in your work life, you might be interested in what people surveyed say about their future plans:
People interested in new careers say they'd like to work in the following areas:
People who aspire to an encore career say they worry:
In the past three years, people interested in encore careers say their financial situations have:
People pursuing an encore career say they want work that will allow them to:
As 2011 winds down, many people are looking ahead to a fresh start in a new year. Are you contemplating a career change? Or have you already made a midlife transition? Join the conversation by sharing a comment.