Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

January 9, 2013


Host: Ted Simons

Encore Careers


  • Vice President at Encore.org, Marci Alboher, talks about her new book “The Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life.”
Guests:
  • Marci Alboher - Vice President, Encore.org
Category: The Arts   |   Keywords: author, alboher, encore, careers, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Career changes for baby boomers may involve learning new job skills, starting a new business, or getting involved in a nonprofit. Often the transition involves a new focus on the greater good. I recently spoke about career shifts for experienced workers with Marci Alboher of encore.com, a nonprofit organization that helps people enter second careers. Alboher is the author of "The encore career handbook." Marci, good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.
Marci Alboher:Thanks for having me.
Ted Simons: You are in Phoenix kinds of launching this encore career hands book. You are not from Phoenix. What are you doing here?
Marci Alboher:I live in New York City but you are right to recognize that. I am here because I am leading a very big book tour all around the country talking about encore careers and the reason we chose Phoenix as the launch is that Phoenix is kind of known as the birth place of retirement. Right? Sun city, all these places. People went for endless pleasure. The trend we are going to be talking about now and what this book is all about is a new kind of thing to could with this life stage and it's actually taking hold right here in Phoenix with the organization experience matters, that you know all about. So we just thought it would be fitting to talk about the encore movement in a place where that's taking hold in the very same place where retirement got its start.
Ted Simons: Indeed. And the concept, the book is "Encore career." What is an encore career?
Marci Alboher: Right. The book is the encore career handbook. An encore career is a second act that has some social purpose to it. That has some benefit for the greater good. So reinvention is all the rage now. Everybody is reinventing and this book is not the book that's going to tell you just about how to open a vineyard or an artisanal bakery. People are looking to help themselves and the world in some way and that's what the encore movement is about. It's about using these years, this new bonus period of life that we suddenly have, these years that have opened up, to do something that's going to have lasting impact which is something people are really craving.
Ted Simons: Not necessarily more of the same? Not necessarily something completely different but something, what, more altruistic? Personally gratifying?
Marci Alboher: So interestingly, for many, many people, it's kind of something altruistic and maybe the first time they thought of work in that way. They may have had a corporate career and not really thought of wanting to do something in kind of helping vein. But we are finding it's true even for people who have been teachers their whole lives, social workers, nonprofit people, that they, too, want to shake things up at this life stage. They may still want to do something that helps but in a whole new way. That kind of reinvention is challenging.
Ted Simons: Is that different from previous generations?
Marci Alboher:It is. Because there's a new stage, a new life stage that really has opened up. We used to have a 30-year career, if you had a career. Right? And then you just wound down and move the right to retirement and it ended. Right?
Ted Simons: Right.
Marci Alboher: Now there's this, you hit your 50s or 60s and it's possibly you will work another 15 or 20 years and you are healthier. And you have got all this energy, and often a lot of talent and experience. And what are you going to do with that time? Even if you want leisure, if even if you want to do all these things on your bucket list, travel, play more golf, you may not want to do that five or seven days a week. You may want something on your 10 terms.
Ted Simons: When this is on your own terms, are you talking about dabblers? Are you talking about careerists? Somewhere in between?
Marci Alboher: The spectrum. The spectrum. This book covers everything from the person who wants to be a literacy tutor at a school two or three days a week or two or three afternoons a week to someone who wants to found a nonprofit or socially organized mission-based business and work harder than they have ever worked before. I have seen all parts of the spectrum.
Ted Simons: Now, When you get these people back into the job market or the nonprofit arena, is there, can there be a problem with, here comes from know it all walking down the hall, the experienced person? Talk about that particular dynamic.
Marci Alboher: The people who succeed best in their encores are people who have a really healthy mix between knowing how to use their experience in this new environment, and having a good dose of humility and realizing they don't know everything. And one of the things they may not know is how things get done in the new culture they are joining, or at this changing world of work. Where technology is used differently or the intergenerational interplay is different. We find the people who succeed best of at this are people who have a good balance of those two.
Ted Simons: And understand that a manager that they are dealing with is still the manager.
Marci Alboher:Yeah. So often you may be working for someone much younger. And we see a lot of cross mentoring going on. A lot of young people who are so thrilled to be working with someone with years of experience, but that experienced person saying, wow, I can learn a lot from someone who is young enough to be my child.
Ted Simons: So someone watching right now says, this is interesting. This is something I would like to give it a try. What right steps? What do you do?
Marci Alboher: If you live near Arizona, in Phoenix, you are lucky now have a great organization, experience matters, right here. That is here to help you launch your encore. So you can get involved in volunteering. You can consider an encore fellowship which is a sector switcher program where people from the nonprofit sector get matched with nonprofits in very high impact work. You can buy this book and do all the exercises and really do some introspection and really kind of figure out what is it that you want right now? Because it may not even be in your head. You may know what you want and need to figure out how to get there. But you may not even know what you want right now. 18 That's pretty common also.
Ted Simons: You have had quite a career yourself in journalism and now you are doing this. It sounds like an encore career for you. Am I mistaken there?
Marci Alboher: Yes and no. I call it, I had my early encore moment because I have had a few career changes already. I am a little younger than a lot of the people that I was writing about. But I certainly know how to stay in the game and reinvent continuously from what I have learned from talking to all these people who are just a step ahead of me in the career process.
Ted Simons: But you got involved for what reason? Yeah. People, people see journalists and that's a bit of a shift.
Marci Alboher: What happened for me is my first career change happened in my 30s. I was a corporate lawyer and I had a kind of crisis of conscience after about nine or 10 years, I woke up and said, I just can't do this anymore. I can't do work I don't believe in. I want to do something that feels truer to my values and I became a journalist. It was a very, very hard transition. It took me years. And eventually I started writing very regularly for the "New York Times" where I ultimately had my own column and blog called "Shifting careers." It's through that work that I became aware of the encore movement. I interviewed the founder of a nonprofit called encore.org. It used to be called civic ventures and Mark Friedman who wrote the foreword to this book, I profiled him and wrote all this incredible stuff baby boomers were doing. Encore.org runs something called the purpose prize and you have your own purpose prize here in Phoenix right now. It's huge cash awards. $100,000 prizes for social innovators over the age of 60. And the idea behind this work is that we all need to change our perception of what it means to be this age. It used to be that this is the time you are winding down and you are kind of, you know, passing on the reins and getting out of the way. But really, people at this new encore stage are doing really valuable work and they have all this energy that they want to apply and there is a huge talent force.
Ted Simons: With that in mind is there one question you hear the most from second careerists or those interested in going this direction?
Marci Alboher: One question I hear the most is who is going to want me? Who's going to hire sunny what about age discrimination? I hear that quite a lot. And the people who do best are the people who don't fixate on that question. You are going to have to go to places that value experience. So that's where groups like experience matters are so important because they are work to go educate nonprofits and social change organizations how best to use the talent of baby boomers. So you are probably going to do best in places who already have a consciousness of wanting to have an intergenerational work force and wanting to value your contributions.
Ted Simons: Very good. Good to have you here. Good luck on the book tour. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate it.
Marci Alboher: Thank you

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