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10 Keys to a Rewarding Second Act Career (Part 2)

By Nancy Collamer

In Part 1, I discussed five key behaviors for creating a profitable second-act career that I discovered while writing my book, Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit From Your Passions During Semi-Retirement.

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Here is a quick recap of what I covered:

  1. Don't get hung up on trying to find your "one true" passion.
  2. Be true to who you are.
  3. Worry less about finding a job and more about filling a need.
  4. Don't neglect to brainstorm ideas with colleagues.
  5. Maintain an opportunity-seeker mindset.

Now, let's take a look at five more critical behaviors to consider:

1. Start sooner rather than later.

Far too many people wait until the eleventh hour to start their career planning process. Don't be one of them. It's a process that can take months, and sometimes years, to fully evolve and no matter how well you plan, there are always unexpected twists and turns, stops and starts, and moments of doubt along the reinvention journey.

Give yourself the time to succeed - the sooner you begin to explore, the better off you'll be.

2. Expect resistance.

It's important to realize that your friends and family will likely be impacted by your career decisions: personal time, finances and interests can all be affected when people change careers. As a result, friends and family might not be as supportive of your "great news" as you might hope. Try to understand.

Exercise patience, stay calm, keep communicating, and give everyone time to adjust. Over time the tension will ease as everyone adapts to new routines, roles and circumstances.

3. Invest in your success.

Put aside a small amount of money each year to spend on classes, workshops and other opportunities to learn about new career directions. It doesn't need to be much, but once you earmark those funds, you'll be more likely to invest in your ongoing education (and if you hesitate to spend the money on yourself, just think about what you spent on your kids piano and ice skating lessons over the years!). Adult education is a big business these days, and there are more opportunities than ever for midlife career changers to indulge in lifelong learning.

4. Recognize that forced change can be a gift.

Many of the people profiled in my book had to create their second-acts in response to the economic collapse of 2008. That doesn't mean it was easy or comfortable, but a willingness to reframe adversity into a potential advantage allowed them to explore options that they might not have previously considered.

As Winston Churchill once wisely noted, "The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

5. Practice patience.

Finally, do remember that career reinvention is often an unpredictable journey that evolves and builds upon a series of smaller actions: You'll engage in a conversation - that leads to an introduction to an interesting person - which inspires you to enroll in a class - that results in a new opportunity.

As one of the people profiled in my book, Terri Lloyd said, "It isn't like a firecracker that goes off and suddenly you are catapulted. It is many, many small steps, lots of failures and the accumulation of the learning along the way. All roads lead to someplace." So be patient and stay the course - over time, success will follow.

Bottom Line

Your second act career may be the most rewarding in many ways, and no rule limits you to only one second act career.  They may evolve as your interests and needs change, or change quickly as you face other challenges in your life.


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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