Can you have a second act?

by | Career, Inspiration, Turning 60

Our 50s can be the time many will rethink their career. With children left home, mortgage paid off and possibly the end of a marriage this is a time when some want to start a second act.

Moving home and looking on my bookshelves I have several books on the topic of having a second act.

With my clients who are considering a career change at 50+, a second act, I help them to look back, and look forward, to make choices that are well thought through and to consider possible risks. Before signing up for expensive study to do the research to make sure it is going to lead to success in their chosen field, and to consider alternative routes. There are many steps to a second act that they could take.

But people can get taken advantage of?

I read an article recently: The Snake Oil of the Second-Act Industry  By Alissa Quart. It was an opinion piece in the New York Times.

In this article on the second act she wrote of Sheri who was encouraged to study for an advanced degree in health care management, but illness meant she had to drop out and she ended up with $16,000 in student loans. Another took a tech degree, got $59,000 in debt but his new job paid the same as before. Not that great a second act unless it was highly fulfilling.

The data is American but also likely to be similar here: At least 17 percent of the  $1.4 trillion in outstanding student loan debt belongs to people over 50 years old. People 60 and older are the  fastest growing age segment  of the student loan market.

Some may still have the resources (financial and energy and personal drive) to make this change to a second act, but not all can. Twenty years ago, we could settle down into the latter years at work, being respected for our wisdom and if doing a physical job being given a less onerous job spec. But now we are expected to have the energy of someone aged 30 and to keep working till 70+, not because we want, but because we must. We don’t have the pensions we envisaged, and the state is leaving it to the individual.

Some of us will work because we want to.

Others will work because we have to.

We may think this is a time to change career to a second act, and with a retirement pot we could afford to retrain, or we may want to study for a degree for personal fulfilment.

But do think it through, and don’t be seduced by what may be. Too many people you talk with are salespeople who don’t have your best interests at heart. But if you do your research and know this is something you want to do go for it!

If you want to talk any change through with an independent career counsellor/coach, please get in touch and let’s discuss how I can help. You can contact me using this contact form.

As always, I’d love to hear your comments, and you can make a note on my blog.

Image by coachmetpassie from Pixabay

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Denise Taylor

Chief Inspiration Officer, The 50 Plus Coach.