A Switch at Midlife, to Make a Difference

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/The New York Times—December 8, 2012

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The subject of career reinvention was so fascinating to me that it's become front and center in my current work. These days I'm working for Encore.org, a nonprofit that focuses on so-called encore careers. As people hit their 50th and 60th birthdays and realize they are far from done with work, millions are moving into new careers that combine making a living and a difference.

I've talked to hundreds of people who are part of this growing trend. People like Fred Weinberg, a retired New York State parole officer who now helps low-income patients navigate the health care system.

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Transitions are harder when you feel old enough to be a parent to everyone else at the office. Age discrimination is real, but those who reinvent over 50 don't let it get in the way. If they interview with organizations that don't value experience, they move on.

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New pathways are sprouting up for those seeking encore careers. ReServe, which placed Mr. Weinberg in his position with Hospital for Special Surgery, matches people who are over 55 with part-time paid positions at nonprofits. Encore Fellowships, a program created by Encore.org, offers a transition to the nonprofit sector for professionals from the private sector interested in moving into mission-focused work. Even programs like Teach for America, known for recruiting recent graduates, are looking for those in midlife committed to fixing our country's schools.

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Read the full story at post-gazetter.com.

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