The Second Act: How to Create a Fulfilling Encore Career

For many high-level professionals, reaching the top of their career success in the corporate world can feel like the end of the road. But for those who are not ready to retire, the question becomes: what’s next?

The good news is that there are many different opportunities for those who are looking for a new adventure in their remaining years of work. One of the most exciting options is an encore career.


Stevie Ready for his encore career

What is an Encore Career?

An encore career is a second act that combines personal meaning, continued income, and social impact.

It is an opportunity to use your skills, experience, and network to make a difference in the world and find fulfilment in the process.

Encore careers can take many forms, from

  • starting a business or nonprofit,
  • to work in the public sector
  • or joining a social enterprise.

The key is to find something that aligns with your values, passions, and strengths.

(Not entirely sure which of your values you should prioritise? We have a free Values Exercise to help you review and reflect).


How Do I Create an Encore Career?

To create a fulfilling encore career, you will need to take some time to reflect on what you want to achieve.

A good start is simply asking yourself some questions:

  • What do I want to accomplish in the next phase of my life?

    • Do I want to meet hard metrics like helping a start-up achieve its first million in turnover? Or Am I more concerned with having time flexibility whilst imparting knowledge and skills?


  • What causes or issues am I passionate about?

    • What have I always wanted to give to the world, but have never had time to do whilst I focused on my career? The world has never needed so many people to lend their contributions to environmental or social causes.


  • What skills and experience do I have that I can use to make a difference?

    • This is where the encore career professionals really come into their own. They are titans with a wealth of experience and skills honed from decades of work. Don’t be reticent when thinking about this – you have an incredible amount to offer.
    • Indeed, more and more organisations are actively searching for those top-level professionals who are looking to make a change.


  • What are my financial needs and how can I meet them?

    • Do I have a family to support? A lifestyle that I want to keep living?


  • What kind of work environment and culture do I want to be in?

    • An encore career is almost always a brave new adventure taking place outside the comfort zone. Whilst this is exciting, it is also important to make sure you’ll be working in an environment that still keeps you happy and satisfied.



What Are The Options For an Encore Career?

The sky is the limit! Often at this stage, professionals don’t have the considerations they once did (finance, status, stability) and they can lean into their passion.

Once you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve, you can start exploring different options. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Start your own business or nonprofit: If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for a particular cause or issue, starting your own business or nonprofit can be a great way to make a difference and find fulfilment. This can be a challenging and risky path, but it can also be incredibly rewarding.


  • Join a social enterprise: Social enterprises are businesses that use market-based strategies to achieve social and environmental impact. They can be a great way to use your skills and experience to make a difference while still earning an income.


  • Work in the public sector: If you have a passion for public service, working in the public sector can be a great way to make a difference. This can include roles in government, education, or healthcare.


  • Volunteer: Volunteering can be a great way to explore different options and gain new skills and experience. It can also be a way to test your interests and passions before committing to a full-time encore career.


  • Join a mentorship program: Joining a mentorship program can be a great way to find guidance and support as you navigate your encore career. You can learn from experienced professionals who have been through the process themselves.


Real-World Examples Of Encore Careers

For over 5 years we’ve been working with top-level professionals who are searching for a more fulfilling bookend to their careers.

  • Stephen was a former CEO who started a consulting firm to help small businesses in their community grow and become more sustainable.


  • Paul was an engineer who created a green energy consulting firm to help businesses and organizations reduce their carbon footprint.


  • Alice was a retired lawyer who becomes a mediator and helps families and organizations resolve disputes.


  • A former marketing executive, Catherine started a small business that sells handmade crafts made by artisans from underprivileged communities.


  • Robert was a retired financial analyst who now volunteers as a financial advisor for a local community development organization.


  • A retired IT professional, Ian, now works as a mentor for young people interested in pursuing a career in technology.


As you can see, encore careers can take many forms. They can be a blend of personal meaning, continued income, and social impact. It’s an opportunity to use your skills, experience, and network to make a difference in the world and find fulfilment in the process.

Creating a fulfilling encore career is not easy, but with the right mindset, dedication, and guidance, it is the most rewarding way to round off a successful career.


Paul started an encore career

John’s Experience of His Encore Career

“I had spent the last 30 years of my life working in the corporate world, climbing the ranks and becoming a successful executive at a major technology company. But as I approached retirement age, I found myself feeling unfulfilled and ready for something new. I was probably in a rut.

I had always been passionate about the environment and wanted to find a way to make a meaningful impact in that area. But how does one even start?

I started working with Rutbusters, a company that specializes in helping professionals transition into encore careers.

My coach helped me to realize that my skills and experience in business and technology would be valuable in the field of sustainable energy, and would fulfil my desire for impact. Together, we scoured my contacts and after several networking opportunities, I landed a job as the Director of Business Development at a solar energy company.

I quickly found that my new role was incredibly fulfilling, and I was excited to be using my skills and experience to make a positive impact on the environment. I felt reinvigorated and passionate about my work and knew that I had made the right decision in transitioning into an encore career.”

Read more of our success stories here 


Are you looking to make a change but arent sure how? We’re experts in helping people make their next stages of life their best – so why not get in touch?