These days, older Americans are staying in the workforce longer than ever before. Many seniors living here in Cincinnati and elsewhere choose to keep working even after they “retire.”
For some, it’s a chance to augment their pension income and retirement savings. For some — especially those Baby Boomers who were hit hard in the 2008 Great Recession or who were underprepared for retirement — working is still a necessity.
And for others, it’s a chance to get out of the house and stay engaged with the community, to do something they enjoy for a little extra pocket money, or even to develop an encore career.
But what jobs are fulfilling and rewarding for seniors?
That all depends, of course, on what their dreams and passions are, and on what their particular reasons for working are. Here are three roles of which we often hear older workers sing praises:
1. Professional Consulting or Mentoring
You worked an entire career in one field. You developed deep expertise. You know not only what people in that field need to do be successful, but why they need to do it.
Have you ever thought about parlaying that expertise into a second career as a professional consultant or mentor for younger workers in that field?
Consultants often command a high hourly rate, so it could become a lucrative supplement to your retirement income (you might want to check to make sure it won’t impact any entitlement benefits you’re relying on, such as Medicaid health care coverage).
Or, if you don’t really need the money and just want to stay involved in the business, you can offer your advice on a volunteer basis. Let your mentee pick up the check for coffees and dinners, and call it even.
They’ll be grateful to you for the perspective. And you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’re still making a difference in the professional world and in your community.
2. Non-Profit Work
What are your passions? What are your hobbies? Are there community problems, social issues, political or religious beliefs that you feel strongly about?
Chances are, there are non-profit organizations in your community dedicated to the topics you care most about.
You could work as a docent or information desk attendant for the Cincinnati Art Museum or Contemporary Arts Center. You could volunteer your service with the Civil Air Patrol, or work for the American Red Cross.
You could be a field guide for the Cincinnati Nature Center or work in the visitor center at an Ohio State Park or nature preserve. You could work in the office for a faith-based organization, or for your church, temple or mosque.
There are numerous possibilities. Just research the organizations here in the Tristate that appeal to your passions, and look for opportunities.
3. Run for Office
Tired of the way things are going? Want to make a real difference in the community? Have a strong vision and a thick skin?
Why not seek political office? You’re retired — you have the time to be a dedicated public servant, and you’ve probably accumulated wisdom that would help you make good decisions and craft excellent policy.
Both the major parties, and many independent political action committees, are always seeking qualified, reasonable candidates, and you don’t necessarily need to have previous political experience for them to back you in a race.
Or, if the thought of running on a particular ticket gives you pause, think about making a run as an independent!
A campaign for your local town council, school board, or zoning commission doesn’t take an enormous amount of cash — it just takes dedication and the ability to marshal volunteers who are willing to help you put your platform out in the public eye.
Many local political offices offer a small stipend for your elected service. Moreover, you’ll get the satisfaction of knowing you’re doing your best to guide your community forward.
4. Work in Elder Care
Who better to help care for seniors than other, healthy seniors?
Here at Episcopal Retirement Services, for example, we have a variety of open roles — full-time, part-time, professional and volunteer — that don’t require a healthcare background or degree.
You could be a food prepper or delivery driver for Deupree Meals On Wheels. You could answer phones and receive visitors in the ERS corporate offices. You could be a van driver at one of our retirement communities in Cincinnati, Lexington, or Louisville. And those are just a few of the age-friendly jobs we offer.
And, if you were to come work for us in your second career, you wouldn’t be the first person ever to have done so.
Ken Paley, our now-retired VP of Marketing, came to us in his 50s, after a long and successful career in advertising — solely because he realized he had a calling and a love for elder care. You can read his story right here.
There are all sorts of things you can do in your encore career!
These are just a few possibilities. But, really, the sky’s the limit. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you enjoy the role and receive fulfillment from it.
If you’re a senior living in Cincinnati or the surrounding Tristate, who wonders what jobs are available to older workers, there’s nothing stopping you from exploring your second career options. Get up and get to work!