Work & Money

10 Second Acts: The New Version of Your Former Career

They say life begins at retirement, and for some that doesn’t mean a life of leisure. Some of us need cash long after we reach official retirement age, or else we just want to keep busy. And that means working for pay or volunteering. But what kind of position can you seek after you’ve hung up your hard hat, briefcase or apron? Something that fits with your skill set but helps you reinvent yourself?

Read on to find the post-retirement versions of 10 former careers.

  1. If you were once a salesperson or elementary school teacher… try working as Santa or Mrs. Claus. For a six-week period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, you get to play everybody’s favorite and most huggable fantasy – or the scary guy with a beard who makes babies cry. We may be old enough not to believe in Santa anymore, but there’s nothing like reliving a child’s experience through their eyes. Click here for Santa School!
  2. If you were once an accountant or bookkeeper… try working as a retail sales cashier. A grasp of math and attention to detail served you well, so how about using those skills to ring up some sales? Aside from just taking money, you’ll need to handle coupon discounts, exchanges and refunds, or smooth the nerves of customers. It’s a good daily brain workout and plenty of people contact.
  3. If your job required you to make presentations (and you loved doing it)… try working as a product demonstrator. You’ve got the personality, the poise and the interpersonal skills already. Dust them off and reach out to curious customers who want to sample the newest craze in chocolate chip cookies or the mystery behind vegetable-cutting with a mandolin.  Click here to read the WikiHow on getting product demonstrator jobs.
  4. If you were once an interior designer… try working as a gift wrapper, holiday decorator or floral designer. Your creativity is easily translated to beautiful packages, splashy window displays or a bountiful bouquet of fragrant flowers. All are guaranteed to bring a smile to the face of the beholder.
  5. If you were once a teacher… try working as a classroom mentor. You might not miss the lesson plans but you still care and want to help. Here’s a chance to work to improve the literacy of today’s kids in underserved schools. (For info, email or go to
  6. If you were once a psychologist or social worker… try working as a volunteer companion or visitor at a long-term care facility, or a hospital or homeless shelter. The down and lonely will light up when they know someone really cares enough to visit, lend an ear and a hand of friendship.
  7. If you were once in law enforcement… try working as a senior police partner. Your skills and background are an asset in helping to keep people safe, whether it be behind a desk fielding calls, assisting in the preparation of crime reports or helping victims of robbery or abuse.
  8. If you were once an architect or construction worker… try working to build or spruce up existing playgrounds. You get to work hands-on while bringing happiness to children who will have a place to run free. And there’s nothing that makes kids happier than a slippery new slide, hands-down. (For more information, click here to go to
  9. If you were once a chef or catering manager… try working at a food bank or homeless shelter. Share your a spatula-wielding skills and food know-how with the less fortunate by helping shop for, prepare, transport or serve hot meals to the needy. (To find opportunities in your area, click here to go to
  10. If you were once a librarian… try working as a research assistant at a local university. You know how to find the studies and data and dig deep to find the answers; help a busy scholar complete their labor-heavy research project. You’re guaranteed to save them hours and hours of time-consuming work.

Photo of Kaboom playground build: timmy [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

What’s your new version of your former career? Share in the comments below.


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