Rodney Brooks has a valuable column in the Washington Post Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016, in the Business Section, in “On Retirement”, “Plan the second act before the first one is over”.
He also says, keep your original long track job as long as you can. But until recently, it had become fashionable for big employers to expect expensive 55+ associates to consider buyouts and an early start on that dream future.
I probably made my own decision for my second career on Aug. 6, 1994, when I had just turned 51, sitting in a diner in Sterling, CO, having a burger, and reading an off-hand, obscure story in a local paper about another military gay discharge. When I came out of the restaurant and resumed driving my rental car (toward Scottsbluff and eventually Cheyenne), I had resolved to write my book.
Once I had self-published and self-instantiated, there was no turning back. I would keep working at my long-track old career until the end of 2001, even doing a corporate transfer to Minneapolis in 1997, before the post 9/11 layoff.
I did this at a time when it was possible to lead a double life, even somewhat publicly. Now that seems impossible. By the mid 2000’s it was apparent that if I was going to do anything else other than journalism and content creation, I’d have to bury what I had done, almost like in the movie “Containment.”
Just like new college graduates, retirees often find themselves pushed into selling other people’s stuff. You can’t sell someone else’s message if you’re too much into your own narrative.