Fast Company: Encore Fellowship Suits Career Shifter

The decades-long career is in decline. And for many, that’s a good thing.

“Tacking swiftly from job to job and field to field, learning new skills all the while, resembles the pattern that increasingly defines our careers,” writes Anya Kamenetz in Fast Company magazine.

How swiftly?

According to federal statistics, as of 2010, the median number of years U.S. workers had been in their jobs was 4.4 years.

Crossing a Bridge to Rwanda Toward an Encore

By Tom Allen

Four years ago, I traded in my life for a revised version. After 30 years of practicing law and, more importantly, raising three sons, I decided it was time to do something radically different. So I moved to Rwanda, Africa.

When I am among visitors, sooner or later the question always comes up: What brought you to Rwanda? Sometimes there seems to be a tinge of unspoken suspicion: "What are you running/hiding from?" I don't get defensive, though I suppose that we are all running from or to something. The more important question is, “Do we ever succeed?”

Edward Mazria, architect, founder and CEO of Architecture 2030 was awarded this year’s Purpose Prize. His work over the past eight years, after founding Architecture 2030, has set numerous environmental goals for the building industry. It has also brought many issues of sustainable design to the forefront of conversations and policies about buildings and their construction.

A serial entrepreneur, Randal Charlton needed a new challenge. He got it by taking over Detroit's ambitious TechTown, a business incubator that was teetering on the brink of insolvency. In four years, Charlton re-energized TechTown, putting more than 2,200 entrepreneurs through training programs and helping more than 250 fledgling companies raise $14 million. For his work, he won a $100,000 Purpose Prize.

Randal Charlton's efforts promoting entrepreneurship in the depressed city of Detroit led him to a $100,000 Purpose Prize. The prize honors Americans over 60 who are creating new ways to solve tough social problems. "It's as much a prize for Detroit and the (budding entrepreneurs) as anything else," Charlton says.

Our sputtering economy needs workers with more of that entrepreneurial spirit. Think tank Civic Ventures suggests they might come from an unexpected demographic: workers who are approaching middle age or their retirement years. The group found that one in four Americans between 44 and 70 want to build an enterprise, and nearly half of them want it to be a business with a strong social impact. (This article also appeared in Good.)

Nine million Americans between ages 44 and 70 are in encore careers, up from roughly 8 million in 2008, according to Civic Ventures. Encore careers are attractive options in the United States and Canada, where boomers approaching retirement face pension shortfalls and longer life expectancies. (This article also ran in the Canadian publication Money.)

In the United States, as many as 9 million people between 44 and 70 have transitioned to an encore career or put off retirement to stay in the workforce, and an estimated 31 million more would like to join them, according to a new report by Civic Ventures and the MetLife Foundation.

Career change among the boomer set is trending. New research from Civic Ventures shows that as many as 9 million people ages 44 to 70 are already in encore careers that combine personal meaning, continued income and social impact. That’s up from an estimated 8.4 million in 2008.

As many as 9 million people ages 44 to 70 already have chosen encore careers, putting their experience to work for the greater good, according to a new MetLife Foundation/Civic Ventures study. Another 31 million are interested in joining them, adding to their list of job benefits personal meaning and a connection to something larger than themselves.

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