Fast Company: 2009 Encore Opportunity Award Winners…Retirement, Redefined

There are four major work+life fit transitions that spark a fundamental rethinking of the way work fits into the rest of life: parenthood, illness, elder care, and retirement.  Historically, our response to each of these reset points has been very black and white:  I either work full-time, as I am now, or I don’t work at all. But that’s changing in the new work+life flex normal, especially as it relates to traditional “retirement.”  One of the groups creating a modern vision of a purpose-driven retirement is Civic Ventures with their Encore Careers, or “paid jobs that offer meaning and the chance to make a social impact.”

Today, the MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures announced the 2009 Encore Opportunity Awards, honoring eight nonprofit and public sector organizations that helped workers over 50 “find, thrive in Encore Careers.”  As Civic Ventures CEO, Marc Freedman, explained in a recent BusinessWeek column “The Case Against Retirement,

“The road used to be much easier. For 50 years, the average fifty-something American was headed inexorably toward a clear-cut career and life transition: the transition to a leisure-based retirement.

The path was well-marked, with familiar rites like the retirement party and the gold watch. Employers offered enticements for early retirement, starting with pensions and health care. Policies like Social Security and Medicare were true safety nets.

Then the mad men of marketing went to work. On TV and in magazines, insurance firms trumpeted a shimmering vision of the good life. Whole communities with names like Leisure World were set up to cater to a full-throttled golden years’ lifestyle, filled with golf and shuffleboard.

Today an unprecedented number of Americans are coursing through their 50s, bound for a dramatically different destination. They’re headed not to the golf course but to a new stage of life that, for most, includes work…”

The 2009 Encore Opportunity Award winners tapped into this experienced, wise, passionate demographic to “protect public safety, build low-income housing, teach job skills, preserve the environment, even save dying Native American languages.”  Inspiring examples include (Click here for more)….


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