Around the time I turned 50, I had the following dilemma to consider: either continue working for another 10 to 15 years in my old career to ensure a financially secure retirement, or change to a new career that is better aligned with my passion and purpose. After a period of struggling with this question, I finally decided to change to a new career in my mid-50s.
After 35 years in the same business, is it possible to turn on a dime and make a go of it in some entirely new field? The answer of course is "yes," but when you've been "downsized" or otherwise unceremoniously dumped by your company, it is still an incredibly unsettling and disorienting experience.
Encore.org is preparing to honor social entrepreneurs over 60 at next week's Encore Conference. Through recognizing these Boomer pioneers, I believe we will begin to define a better sense of what our generation is capable of in the coming decades, and, most importantly, to better persuade the rest of society just how important our continued leadership is going to be for everyone's collective future.
Everyone we know is going to give us advice and tell us what they think we should do, and what will be right for us. As tempting as it is to take the advice, it will likely completely screw us up. Dare to look the gift horses in the mouth: their well-intentioned sympathy may also mask their own fears that they are themselves only one step away from our scary situation.
Shifra Raz and Benny Rubinstein seem like just another happily retired couple living in Santa Monica, CA. Shifra was a teacher for much of her career, while Benny was trained as an engineer and worked as a project manager in the Southern California aerospace industry. Both Israeli immigrants to the U.S., they met and fell in love 17 years ago, on the heels of Shifra's divorce from her 31-year marriage.