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Do you want an encore career but don’t know what job you want or how to get there? If so, check out four new online courses on exploring jobs, all designed for people 50 and older (although open to students of any age):

  • Exploring Green Jobs
  • Exploring Jobs in Caregiving
  • Exploring Jobs in Community Engagement
  • Exploring Jobs in Education

What’s next for long-term nonprofit founders and leaders who have devoted their working lives to solving social problems? That’s the focus of a survey featured this week in the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

At a recent White House ceremony, Purpose Prize fellow Dolores Huerta became one of only 13 people – including such big names as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former astronaut John Glenn and musician Bob Dylan – to receive the 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The medal is the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Deborah Greymoon, a Cascade, Colo., nurse and longtime midwife, has heard too many stories of women in the developing world endangered – sometimes killed – by unsafe birthing practices.

College Park Elementary in San Mateo, Calif., had a great computer lab but no one to run it. Gifford Calenda, whose son attends the school, had years of experience developing software at Apple, and – in retirement – he had free time.

Perfect conditions for an encore career.

By Barbara Raab

This morning, on a walk with a friend during which we were catching up on every little thing, I heard myself say: “I am in peri-retirement.”

It kind of popped out – I’d never said that before, much less known that I even had the phrase in my head. But once I said it, I realized: That’s exactly the right way to explain how I feel.

By Maggie Jackson

In a new world of elongated lives and career fluidity, we need to have patience – with ourselves.

That was perhaps the most poignant and startling point articulated by a panel on “Second Careers, Doing Good” held recently at my Yale college reunion. I put together the event to explore the trepidation and the liberation that we all seem to feel about the gift of a longer life.

Like other boomers, we are eagerly planning or pursuing new careers, which often involve social impact. But reshaping our lives doesn’t occur with push-button speed or ease.

By J. Gaston Kent Jr.

Twenty-four years ago, I lost all hearing in my right ear from an infection. I now wear a bone-anchored hearing aid, or BAHA, that carries sound through bone in my skull to my functioning ear.

Nearing my retirement after 35 years in management at Northrop Grumman Corp., I joined the board of a highly respected center for deaf children in Los Angeles called John Tracy Clinic. I was happy to help in any way I might be of service.

By Julie Shifman

Some people start volunteering because they’re passionate about a cause. Michael Burke, a Baltimore chef, began volunteering because he got rheumatoid arthritis. That decision paved the way to his current paid job.

I’m amazed at the great ideas that people carry around in their back pockets, hoping one day to get a chance to bring them to life. For 15 people, all over 50, that day is nearly here.

The 15 finalists in this month's Marigold Ideas for Good Contest have long wanted to right a wrong, open up worlds for young people, or make things better for those who need a break. Today they need your vote.

LEARN ABOUT THE BIG SHIFT

In his book – The Big Shift – Encore.org founder and CEO Marc Freedman
argues that though we’re getting older, most of us are not getting old … at least not yet.
About the Big ShiftAbout Marc Freedman