Everyone has a story, I personally find the stories of boomers most interesting because you never know what you’re going to get. The days are gone when a person would work thirty plus years at the same menial job, reach age 65 and promptly check themselves into a senior’s residence to say goodnight. A great many boomers today are now seeing 65 as the beginning of a new life entirely! Exciting new career paths, traveling to far off places, experiencing new people, places and cultures are just some of the activities that boomers are getting involved with. I took to the street this past week to interview baby boomers about their stories, analyzing their past and looking ahead towards their future. I was quite surprised to hear what a lot of them had to say.
Take the case of Leonard K. Leonard worked as an engineer for a company in Ottawa designing power supplies. When his time came, and with no interest in fully retiring, he chose to go mobile and now works part time for the same company virtually – providing technical support to their Toronto clients for the same units he designed years before. “You can work from pretty much anywhere as long as you have internet and a fax machine,” he says with a smile.
Leonard has no intention of retiring fully; he’s found a healthy work-life balance in his second phase of life that suits him, and his wife Gail, just fine. “We’re musicians,” Gail says proudly, “And for five months of the years we winter in Florida.” Working virtually affords Leonard the flexibility he needs to balance work, music and a couple rounds of golf a few days a week, regardless of where he is.
“So how long have you been working remotely?” I asked. “Since 1986!” Gail chimes. “A few years now,” Leonard smirks, the three of us share a laugh.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given, and for the fact that it’s worked out this well,” Leonard continues. “And not just for me, but for those I work for too.”
“And I guess it really benefits your company in Ottawa also,” I said, “They don’t need to be scrambling to find somebody with your knowledge or your particular skills, which sound pretty specialized.”
“Yes,” Leonard replies, “And my skills aren’t that easy to find either, with the background or the experience. “
“We’re very blessed,” Gail says. Leonard smiles and agrees, “It’s quite nice. We’re doing a lot more travelling too. Sort of getting caught up on our bucket list.”
I thanked them both for their time and for sharing their story with me. Another great example of how baby-boomers everywhere are chasing their dreams and securing a healthy work-life balance that allows them to achieve more of what they want on a schedule that suits them best.
Barbara Jaworski is Canada’s leading expert on boomers, chief KAA-Boomer of the Workplace Institute and author of Rebel Retirement – A KAA-Boomer’s Guide to Creating and Living an Explosive Second Act. You can find out more at http://www.KAA-Boom.com