Your Second Act! Exploring Your Encore Career

career change in midlife

Retirement marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. For many women, this transition can be both exhilarating and daunting. While some relish the newfound freedom, others may find themselves at a crossroads, wondering what to do next.

 Enter the concept of an encore career—a second act that offers fulfillment, purpose, and often, a renewed sense of direction.

So, what exactly is an encore career? 

Simply put, it’s a career pursued after retirement, typically in a different field or pursuit from one’s primary career. It’s a chance to explore passions, make a difference, and perhaps even generate income—all while enjoying the benefits of retirement.

For women considering an encore career, the possibilities are endless. Whether it’s starting a small business, diving into the nonprofit sector, pursuing creative endeavors, or delving into education, there’s no shortage of options. The key is to identify what brings joy, satisfaction, and a sense of purpose.

Here are some steps to consider while navigating your encore career:

  • Self-Assessment: Reflect on your skills, interests, and values. What activities bring you joy and fulfillment? What are you passionate about? Understanding your strengths and motivations will help you identify potential encore career paths.


  • Research: Explore different industries, organizations, and opportunities that align with your interests and goals. Attend networking events, workshops, and seminars to learn more about potential encore career paths and connect with professionals in those fields.


  • Education and Training: Assess whether you need additional education or training to pursue your chosen encore career. Consider enrolling in courses, workshops, or certification programs to acquire the necessary skills and credentials.


  • Financial Planning: Evaluate your financial situation and determine how your encore career will impact your retirement savings and income. Consider consulting a financial advisor to develop a plan that aligns with your financial goals and lifestyle needs.


  • Networking: Build relationships with professionals in your desired industry or field. Attend networking events, join professional organizations, and connect with peers and mentors who can offer guidance, support, and opportunities.
  • Volunteer Work and Internships: Gain hands-on experience and explore different encore career paths through volunteer work, internships, or part-time positions. This can help you test the waters, build new skills, and expand your professional network.


  • Launch: Once you’ve identified your desired encore career path, take the leap and launch your new venture or pursue opportunities in your chosen field. Be open to feedback, learning, and iteration as you navigate your encore career journey.

Pursuing an encore career can offer a range of personal benefits!

  • Fulfillment and Purpose: An encore career allows you to pursue work that aligns with your passions and values, providing a deep sense of fulfillment and purpose in your life after retirement.
  • Continued Learning and Growth: Engaging in a new career path challenges you to learn new skills, stay mentally sharp, and grow personally and professionally.
  • Community Engagement: Many encore careers involve working with others, whether through volunteering, mentoring, or collaborating with colleagues. This fosters a sense of connection and community, which is essential for overall well-being.
  • Increased Self-Confidence: Successfully navigating an encore career can boost your self-confidence and self-esteem, proving that you have the skills and resilience to thrive in new endeavors.
  • Legacy Building: Your encore career allows you to leave a lasting impact on your community, industry, or the world at large, leaving behind a meaningful legacy for future generations.

Looking for some inspiring examples?

  • Social Entrepreneurship: Creating a nonprofit organization that addresses a pressing social or environmental issue, such as sustainable agriculture, women’s empowerment, or access to education.  You don’t need to make it complicated either, just volunteer!
  • Artistic Pursuits: Do you have a passion for art, music, or writing?  You may be called to teach workshops, exhibit artwork, or publish books.
  • Health and Wellness:  Have you thought about being a certified yoga instructor, personal trainer, or nutritionist? If your passion is to help others lead healthier, more fulfilling lives this may be for you!
  • Education and Mentorship:  Maybe you’ve thought about teaching and have something valuable to share.Teaching courses, workshops, or seminars in your area of expertise, or serving as a mentor to young professionals entering your field. You can always volunteer in your local school or offer tutoring at the local library. 

Ultimately, the path to an encore career is as unique as the individual pursuing it. By embracing your passions, skills, and values, you can embark on a fulfilling second act that brings joy, purpose, and meaning to your life after retirement. Are you curious about exploring an encore career but don’t know where to start? Grab your free worksheet and start the process!  If you’ve already embarked on your encore, share in the comments below! 

If you feel you are ready to explore your new career but don’t know where to start, please reach out to me via my website  , and book a free exploratory call here.  Together we will discuss your situation and if life coaching is the best option for you right now!  

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About Deborah

Deborah is a professional, certified Life Coach who helps women over 40 take the steps needed to go from feeling bored and stuck to finding the confidence they need to prioritize themselves so they can finally pursue their purpose & passions!

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