Retirees have various reasons for reentering the workforce. But finding the right job presents challenges.
A year after Helen Davis retired, ending a satisfying 22-year career as a marketing official for the Colorado Department of Agriculture, she longed to reenter the workforce.
"I've always enjoyed working," she says. To fill the gap, she took a job as an educator with a national charity, helping older people. But when her part-time position expanded to full time, she left. After another year off, traveling with her husband, she worked part time as a community outreach director at an assisted living community.
"I really enjoyed that," Ms. Davis says.
Until recent years, the phrase "retirement jobs" was an oxymoron for most people. Retirement meant freedom from work. Now, as more retirees like Davis want or need employment, they are finding both challenges and rewards.
Money does not always head the list of motivators. A new Financial Freedom Senior Sentiment Survey reports that among the 35 percent of seniors who plan to work in retirement, more than half say they enjoy working. Nearly 40 percent are bored. Twenty percent say their spouse is driving them crazy, while another 16 percent think they spend too much time with their spouse.
"There are some who will always be bored and want to go back because they miss the structure," says Joan Cirillo, executive director of Operation ABLE of Greater Boston, a nonprofit group serving mature workers. "Others retired thinking they had enough to live on, then realized that with the escalating prices of gas, real estate, and healthcare, they do not have enough."
For both groups, job hunting techniques and requirements may have changed since the last time they knocked on employers' doors. "So many jobs want you to e-mail a résumé," Davis says. "There's no human contact when you're looking for a job."
Ms. Cirillo observes other challenges retired job seekers face. "They might have the occupational skills to transition, but lack the job search skills – being able to write a résumé, write a cover letter, send it electronically, and search online," she says. "There isn't anyone who doesn't need assistance in these areas."
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