Researchers are predicting that scientific advances could have millennials living to 100 or longer; the standard 30- to 40-year career could be extended by a decade or two. Combine that with the speed of technological advances, plus the fact that jobs we have never heard of will emerge as the hottest roles to have. What will the future of careers look like and how can we prepare for that now?
I sat down with an old friend, Marci Alboher, who is a leading expert in encore careers – finding meaningful work in the second half of life. When I first met Marci, she had coined the term “slash” as it relates to careers and lifestyle. She had just published her first book, One Person/Multiple Careers – a roadmap for building a life that embraces the slash lifestyle and the concept of custom-blending a career.
Today she is one of the leaders in the encore movement, serving as a VP at Encore.org, which is innovating new models to tap the talent of people 50+ as a force for good. Her latest latest book, The Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life, takes some of her earlier thinking and applies it to retirement: reinvented, re-envisioned, and reinvigorated.
I asked her what mindset we need to adopt so we can remain relevant and fulfilled in the rapidly changing landscape of extended careers. She shared four fundamental actions we can take to ensure success and happiness in that second chapter.
1. Cultivate your slashes.
William Arruda: What does “cultivate your slashes” mean, and how do we go about doing it?
Marci Alboher: When I wrote the slash book more than ten years ago, I had noticed that juggling various work identities concurrently — the website designer / yoga instructor, caterer / teacher — was starting to go mainstream. Slashing is now less exotic. In fact, millennials just consider this the normal way of living! If you can work anywhere with an internet connection, it’s easy to shift between very different kinds of work activities. A few things to consider: First, think about a balance that gets you using different parts of your brain or that gets you spending your time in different ways. If you spend a lot of your time staring at a computer screen for example, it’s great to complement that with something that gets you out in the world or using your hands in some way. Second, recognize that we become expert at things when we immerse fully for a while. So pace yourself, giving yourself time to do that before jumping into a new arena. Finally, recognize that some pursuits are easy to pair and others more complicated.