TED Conversations

Erik Richardson

Teacher, Richardson Ideaworks, Inc.


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How will you spend your time and/or make a living between ages 60 and 100?

As improved medicine and machinery continue to expand our lifespans in the developed world, the current model in which we work until age 65 +/- and then "retire" seems sadly outdated. New questions begin to arise, though, when we reflect on how we will each make a living and how we will make a life. I am excited to see what kind of ideas you all come up with.

One particular question related to the model is this: if someone goes back to school to re-tool for a whole new career at, say, 50, will they get hired into career-track positions where they could work for 20 years?


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  • Jul 19 2012: After planning for retirement, I reached my goals and retired at 62. The few years since retiring have been "enlightening". I discovered just how unhappily married I was. I hadn't married my soul mate after all. I'm now happily divorced with less money but more freedom and happiness. Since my divorce I decided to NOT make big decisions for about a year and give myself some time to figure out a NEW plan for the next few years. My career went from Programmer Analyst to Recruiter and Career Advisor to Retiree. I'm not looking for full time work and it is so important to me to do something that has meaning to me. So far I'm finding meaning in volunteer work but there's no income and I'm missing the extra money that would help me feel more secure about living to 95. I also miss the structure of a job. My challenge will be to keep what ever it is within part time hours so that I still have the luxury of accomplishing other personal goals.
    Starting something new is exciting. I'm open to many things I would have thought were not challenging enough before or didn't pay enough. I know a lot about transferable skills and how to sell myself into a position. Some of the TED contributors were right! For someone motivated, all you need is an opening and you can create and morph into other positions. Once you have that position and have proven you have it under control , ask for opportunities that will help you gain the skills and experience to take you where you want to go. I believe this and have seen it over and over. If opportunities are not given to the most willing and deserving, evaluate your contribution, find out what plans your company has for you and if nothing is imminent, either up your game or go shopping for another job. (do not quit until you have the next job). I have just about 6 months and one more Beach Vacation before I go find the start of my next (part time) career. It wasn't in the old plan but now it's a wonderful new adventure!!

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