Redirection: Finding a New Career after 55

Redirection: Finding a New Career after 55

What ever happened to Freedom 55? This popular 1989 life insurance ad came with a clear message: “Plan for your retirement today and you’ll be able to leave work at 55!”

Much has changed since 1989. Nowadays many Canadians wonder if they will be able to retire at 65 never mind 55. Perhaps you are one of those lucky enough to retire at 55, 60 or 65 and are wondering what you will do next. This is the question many baby boomers are asking themselves and one that Dr. Suzanne Cook set out to answer.

The Rise of Later-Life Careers

Suzanne Cook, social gerontologist and adjunct professor at York University in Toronto has been studying the phenomenon of later-life careers for over a decade. She discovered that people who are retired work for different reasons: to make money, to give back, and to keep active.  She also discovered that working in retirement is rapidly becoming the new normal.

Cook notes that, “Redirection is an alternative to retirement as working life is extended.”

The term redirection refers to a new stage of career that is emerging. This shift is occurring due to social, demographic, and economic changes in Canada. “Those of us who are over 50 today are younger looking, healthier and want to continue in their careers,” according to Barry Witkin, CEO of Prime50 Employment Services.

Considerations for Working After Retirement

Multiple options for working after retirement exist but there is a lot to consider depending on how long you have been retired, how much you want to work and how returning to work will affect other aspects of your life.  If you are considering working in retirement the Government of Canada provides the following questions on its website:

  • How will my income affect my pension and taxes?
  • How will work fit into my retirement lifestyle?
  • What type of work do I want to do?
  • How do I look for work?
  • Are there new skills I need to learn?
  • How has the work world changed since I left?

Opportunities for Older Workers in Canada

There are a growing number of resources available to seniors who want to change or start a career.  If you are not sure what type of work you want to do consider hiring a career coach or visiting your local Job Centre. In B.C If you have been out of the workforce for some time you may be eligible for training or other assistance.

There are now more people living in Canada over the age of 65 than under the age of 15. There are labour shortages in virtually every field and for the first time in history companies are looking to recruit and hire older workers. Perhaps it’s time to dust off that resume.

Lesley Taylor, M.Ed '97 is a freelance writer, publisher, adult educator and an introvert. She has held many leadership positions through-out her career. Lesley obtained both her BSW and her MEd from UBC. She is currently the CEO of Western Winds Publishing and the author of The Dynamic Introvert: Leading Quietly with Passion and Purpose.