How to find your Encore Career

By Sheryl Smolkin, Retirement Redux

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

cf-old-and-new--timelines_500pxI recently interviewed Lisa Taylor,  president of Challenge Factory, for Challenge Factory helps individuals make career transitions and employers dealing with an aging workforce.

Her organization draws on the talents of a wide variety of professionals as required by individual clients. But what’s really interesting is that they have a roster of over 160 people who are experts in their own jobs, who have agreed to take on Challenge Factory clients for one-day test drives.

“If you’re in one occupation, and you’re thinking that you might want to go and do something totally different, the best way to make a decision is to do a dry run,” Taylor says. “This gives our clients an opportunity to spend a day with an expert in that particular field to find out if their assumptions are really true and whether the job is really as great as they thought it would be.”

A life stage that can last 20 or 25 years

I asked Taylor what the terms second act, encore or legacy careers really mean to her.

She responded, “Often when people hear about working longer, they sigh and say, ‘Oh my goodness, I’m ready to be out of here.’ But they’re not actually ready to stop making a meaningful contribution. I think that those terms help us to draw the line in the sand, to say it’s okay to think about these next 20 or 25 years differently than you’ve thought about the last 20 or 25 years.”

Lisa Taylor, Challenge Factory

And the second act or encore or legacy career concept is not only focused on paid work. For Taylor, the encore career concept really questions what the balance is between stable work, hobbies and interests, and risky or entrepreneurial ventures — things that may or may not pay off in the future, but clients would like to try and see what happens.

The Challenge Factory works with individuals from all different sectors. They also work on the other side of the equation — inside organizations to see how career paths can change so that their workforce can continue to contribute and deliver value for longer periods of time.

Few are in full retirement for decades

For Taylor, this language, of encore, or legacy or second act careers, helps to articulate that most people are not actually in retirement for decades. “Retirement is really only the period of time at the end of your life where you essentially withdraw from paid work or a voluntary contribution to society because it’s time for you to start to take care of yourself and to really focus on what’s important as you get to the end of your days,” she concludes.

Sheryl Smolkin is a lawyer and journalist. You can find her work on and You can contact her through either website. This article originally appeared on April 20th and is republished with the author’s permission. 




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