Sunday, January 25, 2015

Zenployment: Pursuing new passions at work


A job as a battlefield guide is great for a history buff. photo

By Chelle Cordero

Traditionally, retirement is the time when the drudgery of the 9-to-5 routine ends, days are spent in relaxation, couples travel and grandparents watch their grandchildren play. Retirees now have the time to indulge in favorite hobbies and pastimes. Ideally, that is.

Plans sometimes change. Finances may necessitate an income to supplement a meager Social Security or pension plan. Boredom may inspire new pursuits. The term “zenployment” is used to describe a less-stressful employment that usually includes a change of career, allowing one to pursue passions. The new position may be part-time or full-time, seasonal or year-round, a chance to start a new business or working for someone else. Depending on financial needs, it can be paid or volunteer. Preferably the new position allows for indulgence in dreams and interests.

The now semi-retired should be able to enjoy a line of work that may have been delayed while supporting a household, raising a family, paying off a mortgage, paying student loans and more. To find job possibilities, the senior worker needs to examine their interests and desires, while being realistic about income and budgets.

A golf enthusiast might find pleasure by working in a pro shop at the local golf course, a former drama student may choose to act in community theatre productions, a book lover may want to work at a library or bookstore, or he may even devote his newfound free time to finally write that novel of which he always dreamed. Some retirees may have wanted to continue in the fields they mastered through the years and had to leave because of mandatory retirement. They can put their talents to work as freelance consultants and choose when they want to work. Some jobs are seasonal and allow for flexibility in vacation time.

Other fun jobs for seniors to engage in include party and wedding planners, museum docents, self-employed travel agents, interior decorators, tour guides, pet sitters or dog walkers, artist-in-residence teachers, gardeners, bartenders and retail positions in favored hobby shops. Teaching (both paid and volunteer positions) adult classes will help to fulfill the need of the newly retired to be around people, and students will benefit from the now-valued retiree. Volunteer mentors are always sought in agencies like SCORE where years of experience in the business world will help others to build businesses.

Imagine traveling the world for free, or even exploring the hometown sights, as a tour guide. Contact tour companies, local parks, tourist sites, cruise lines or even the local chamber of commerce or recreation department for possibilities. Being a docent at a museum can be a lot of fun for a history or art buff who would like to teach about her passion; many docent opportunities are volunteer. A pet lover could choose to walk dogs or pet sit for pay, or volunteer at a local animal shelter or zoo. Social butterflies can share their years of experience at organization and entertaining by starting their own business planning parties, weddings and other social events, or open their own catering business.

Finding work with a small-press publishing house can be a dream come true for an avid reader. Kimberlee Williams, managing editor of Vanilla Heart Publishing, says she enjoys the “life experience and work ethics of the baby boomer generation. There’s a personal pride when a job is well done.” In the past, she’s employed them (in both paid and intern positions depending on the workload) as content checkers, beta-readers, file clerks and to run errands. Readers and writers might also like to work in retail bookshops or libraries, read story time to children in nursery schools or help teach adult literacy courses.

The golden years of retirement should allow seniors to have fun at work, helping them look forward to each new day and the experiences it brings.



Special to The Enterprise

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