August 12, 2014 — OK, it’s a little bit of an oxymoron to put jobs and retirement in the same sentence. But we are not talking about full-time employment, we mean part-time or flex-time jobs. We also don’t mean for this article to be a one way stream of information – our hope is that our members will contribute their ideas on dream retirement jobs – both the positions themselves and the criteria that make for a great gig. We also recommend our Blog series on Adventurous Baby Boomer Retirements, where we’ve posted multiple profiles of fascinating, and off-beat retirements.
Criteria for dream jobs
Here are some criteria that we associate with dream jobs:
– Flexible schedule. You are retired, so who
wants to be a slave to someone else’s schedule. Sure, if you want seasonal work you might have to work long stretches in the peak season, but then you’ll have plenty of time off the rest of the year.
– Has to be fun, or at least interesting. If you are retired you’ve probably had it with a job or a boss that kept you singing “Take this and job and … it”. We are looking for jobs that if not downright fun or engaging, are at least interesting enough to make you want to report for duty.
– You get something out of it. That something might be a paycheck – or it might not be. If it is a volunteer job, you get to feel like you are helping other people or a good cause. Perhaps the wage isn’t the greatest, but maybe you get great discounts, a free or discounted place to stay, or special privileges.
5 Dream Jobs for Retirement
Here are our suggestions for 5 dream jobs. We’d love to hear yours.
1. Spend a day in the park. The New York Times published an article, “Learning to Make Work More Like Summer Camp“, that listed many great jobs that baby boomers are enjoying. America’s parks (local, state, federal) are mostly examples of seasonal businesses. They need lots of workers during the high season. Which makes it tough to staff for them and ideal for retirees, because non-retired people don’t care to work only 4 months a year. Aramark is one of the companies that has some of the biggest park concessions. Most of these jobs are outside and in beautiful locations!
2. Mail order company/seasonal employment. LL Bean, Amazon, and many other giant companies do a tremendous percentage of their business in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Some of these companies actively recruit retirees, many of whom move temporarily to areas near fulfillment centers with their own RVs. They get a free or discounted place to stay, and plenty of work for a short season. See: “Holiday Season Turns RVers into Workforce“.
3. Be a travel guide. Like to travel, and have experience? Why not get paid to do it, like Leanne Robinson does for Road Scholar. Leanne, who works as a part-time tour guide, was just one of the boomers profiled in the Times article. Companies in the travel, hospitality, and entertainment business like ski resorts, tour operators, amusement parks, and summer resorts need lots of workers who can fill in at peak times. They offer a variety of jobs, some of which might be perfect for your skill set and interests. Our friend Bill bought a used tour boat – now he takes people on tours of the coastline here in Connecticut. He gets out on the water and gets a kick of meeting new people too.
4. Turn your hobby into a business. Can you repair bicycles like our friend John, who operates a small bike repair shop out of his garage? Our friend Bob takes people on garden tours. How about doing home or computer repairs for the many people who are starved for someone to fix their stuff? If you live in a place that has seasonal residents, offer to check their houses while they are away. Pet-sitting or dog walking are great for folks who love pets.
5. Be a volunteer. Write down what interests you, for example: helping sick people, mentoring/tutoring young people, taking care of abandoned animals, working in a library, reading or talking to senior citizens. We profiled Barbara Traynor’s exciting adventures as a professional volunteer in our Adventurous Baby Boomer series. Once you decide on what interests you, start looking around or ask at the Town Hall what organizations in your area are looking for help. You probably won’t get paid – in dollars anyway, but you will get psychological benefits that might be worth a lot more.
Working on your terms in retirement might be just the thing to round out your life, and put a little more money in your pocket. But just don’t take any job – there are too many good ones to settle for one that doesn’t meet your terms.
Comments? Please share your thoughts – both about the criteria for your dream job in retirement, and what those dream jobs might be.