If you’re an older American and plan to continue working, you’ll be in good company.
Eight-five percent of the Baby Boomer population plans to work until their 70s and even 80s, according to the U.S. Senate’s 2017 Special Committee on Aging report, “America’s Aging Workforce.*” Indeed, this group of workers is projected to be the fastest-growing segment in the workforce through 2024.
The reasons and motivations to continue working are almost as diverse as the more than 40 million seniors, age 65 and over, living today.
Reasons to continue working
Fraying social safety nets, unreliable retirement savings plans and soaring healthcare costs are causing many older Americans to fear retirement. In their view, their reputed golden days look less lustrous when there may not be enough gold in the retirement vault to pay for them.
At the same time, this sobering financial news comes with a silver lining. Science is showing that the continued engagement and mental stimulation from continuing to work provides manifold health benefits, not the least of which is staving off chronic disease.
A 2015 study of 83,000 older adults over 15 years, published in the CDC journal Preventing Chronic Disease**, suggested that, compared with people who retired, people who worked past age 65 were about three times more likely to report being in good health and about half as likely to have serious health problems, such as cancer or heart disease.
Besides providing financial and healthy benefits, working, even a few hours a day or week, is a great way to explore new industries or career paths, keep your resume current, and continue growing professionally and personally.
Opportunities for part-time work never better
In the current tight labor market, more employers have become more flexible about hiring than they might have been just a few years ago. While some employers may believe older workers have lost a step with advancing age, other employers prize their older employees’ experience, resiliency, mentoring ability, strong work ethic, punctuality and maturity.
Further contributing to a favorable work environment for older workers looking to call their own shots is the so-called gig economy, a rapidly expanding sector of the labor market that consists of part-time workers, independent contractors, freelance workers, seasonal employees, and other lines of temporary work made possible with the rise of the Internet and other technological breakthroughs.
Best Places to Look for Part Time Jobs for Seniors
It makes sense to start with the job search engines and niche job sites that focus on part-time and hourly jobs.
Here are a dozen to get you started. They offer opportunities to supplement your income, work from home, and start your own business:
Expand your job search beyond the usual suspects
It’s always a good idea to plug into your old network. If you’re seriously looking for the right job, let them know you’re back in play.
If they don’t know of anything at the moment, ask them for a recommendation or a testimonial so you’ll have those key documents ready to go when the right opportunity arises.
Joining a Facebook Group is another way to generate more contacts and leads to expand your employment possibilities. There are Closed Groups for designers, pet sitters and bloggers, to mention a few. Browse the name, description and member list of various groups until you find one that resonates with your interests and goals. A word on etiquette: Do not walk into a Group as a newcomer and start soliciting clients. Wait for the invite.
Maintain a strong support system while you search for the right gig
Getting back into the game can involve all sorts of feelings and emotions, including rejection, if you don’t land the first gig you’re seeking. Certain application processes and ways of doings may also have changed. You, for instance, may not be used to conducting first interviews on Skype or FaceTime, which are often now the norm. As you get deeper into your job search, you may also be reevaluating and refining your own goals and expectations as to what you really want from your next job. To help you process all these new feelings and findings and new information, it’s a good idea to have some go-to sources where you can bounce your ideas and impressions off of other people.
While the following isn’t technically a job or career site, the content and resources can provide a lot of helpful insights and feedback:
Pick up new skills or brush old ones
For a small monthly fee, Lynda.com members receive unlimited access to a vast library of video tutorials covering topics like CAD, 3-D animation, social media marketing, photography, film making, app development, web graphics and more. Some libraries offer free access to Lynda.com, so be sure to check with your local library for more information about these and similar services.
MOOC’s are Massively Open Online Courses offered to everyone by some of the world’s top colleges and institutions, including Harvard, MIT, Stanford, The Smithsonian and Google. The big three MOOC platforms — Coursera, Udacity, and edX — now offer users official recognition for their paid courses, and in some cases, even academic credit.
It’s an exciting, working world out there for older Americans, and the Internet brings you closer to it than ever before with untold opportunities and possibilities all within the reach of a couple of keystrokes. Keep your mind open, your Internet browser active and up to date, and you just may discover work the second time around is even better than the first.
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