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10 Keys to a Rewarding Second Act Career (Part 1)

By Nancy Collamer

What are some of the key things you should think about when creating a second-act career?

It's a great question and one that I've been talking about a lot lately during interviews about my new book, Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit From Your Passions During Semi-Retirement.

In doing the research for the book, I discovered a number of behaviors that consistently resulted in successful career reinventions.

Here are five key behaviors to consider (and next month we'll take a look at five more):

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1. Don't get hung-up on trying to find your "one and only" passion

Few people have one driving passion, and the focus on building a second-act career around that "one true love" can create needless anxiety and frustration. Don't let the quest for the one and only mystical passion derail you before you even get started.

Instead, focus on causes you find compelling, people you find interesting and activities you enjoy and find meaningful -- and then start exploring second-act options that line-up with those varied interests and skills.

2. Be true to who you are.

Honoring who you are and what makes you unique is the first step in aligning yourself with work that allows you to shine and radiate your brilliance to the world. Doing this isn't always easy, especially when you've worked hard for years to establish yourself in your professional life. But knowing and claiming what you really want, as opposed to what society claims you should want, is a critical link to success in the reinvention process.

When you're willing to let go of the glossy trappings of your career in favor of more personally significant paths, amazing transformations happen.

3. Worry less about finding a job and more about filling a need.

By some estimates nearly half of the US job market will consist of freelance and temporary workers by 2020. While this freelance trend is arguably problematic for many people - especially younger workers - it is an opportunity for boomers who like project work and no longer want to deal with the demands of full-time employment.

So now is the time to stop thinking along the lines of "I need to find a traditional job" and more in terms of generating income through freelance assignments, project work, part-time jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities.

4. Brainstorm ideas with colleagues.

There is no better, or easier, way to get ideas about second-act careers than to talk with your industry colleagues. They know you, and they know the industry. And assuming the two of you are close in age, they may be actively thinking about the very same issues themselves.

This is a case where two heads are indeed better than one; together you can brainstorm ideas, discuss training programs, and investigate ways to create new income streams around needed products or services.

5. Adopt an opportunity-seeker mind-set.

Never before in history have we enjoyed easier access to more information. Every day you have the opportunity to learn about thousands, even millions, of new options for semi-retirement from newspapers, television, and the Internet. You can make it a point to consciously pay attention to this information, or you can choose to ignore it.

Many of the people profiled in Second-Act Careers found their second-act opportunities simply by keeping their "opportunity antenna" on alert and paying closer attention to what they were reading, hearing and experiencing on a daily basis.

I hope you found this list useful. Stay tuned -- in Part 2, we take a look at five more keys to creating a profitable second-act career.


About the author...

Nancy Collamer, M.S.,is a career coach, speaker, and author of the new book Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi-Retirement (Random House, 2013). In private practice since 1996, Nancy gained national prominence in her tenure as the Career Transitions columnist for Oxygen Media. She has spoken at venues ranging from Harvard Business School to the California Governors Conference on Women. Please connect with Nancy on Twitter @NancyCollamer and on her website at MyLifestyleCareer.com.


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Guide to Lifestyle-Friendly Careers:

Changing to a Lifestyle-Friendly Career

Home-Based Businesses:

Home-Based Jobs:


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Career Change Options:

Turning a Hobby into Income:

More Information:

Lifestyle-Friendly Careers Expert:


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