These gigs offer unique rewards — do any match your interests?
The joy you felt at your retirement party is a fading memory; you’ve begun to feel restless. Or perhaps you could use some extra money for health insurance or a cruise. You’ve got company. Forty percent of boomers plan to work part time after leaving their main jobs, according to a recent survey by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. Many will use the skills of their former work lives. Others will find an entirely new field.
The trick is to find something that feels more like fun than a workaday grind. To get you started, here are 10 jobs worth going back to work for.
Where The Jobs Are
The percentage of positions occupied by workers age 55+ in these growing fields:
Curators: 35 percent
Clinical, Counseling and School Psychologists: 32 percent
Instructional Coordinators: 34 percent
Library Technicians: 31 percent
Postsecondary Teachers: 34 percent
Museum Technicians and Conservators: 35 percent
Morticians, Undertakers and Funeral Directors: 42 percent
Source: EMSI, a labor-market data firm
Do you speak Spanish? Vietnamese? Turkish? In our multiethnic society, all sorts of institutions need help with languages: courts, social service agencies and customer service centers, to name a few. Typically you’ll need to get certified. But with that done, you’ll have the freedom of freelancing, taking jobs or turning them down. And a translator’s job can be the gateway to meeting fascinating new people and learning about new cultures.
Getting started: Check in with the website of the American Translators Association. Websites such as Upwork and Freelancer.com can also help you find clients.
- Tax-return preparer
If you have a mind for numbers and computers, consider joining the small armies of tax preparers that firms such as H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt muster for the January-April peak tax season. Typically you’ll be doing the straightforward returns.
Getting started: You can build up experience with AARP Foundation Tax-Aide, which trains volunteers to help older people with their taxes. Check the big firms’ websites for details of their programs. Many companies will require you to take classes that they offer in the fall.
- Ride-hailing driver
Like meeting new people and making random explorations of the area where you live? Smartphones have spawned ride services such as Uber and Lyft. The basic requirements are a clean, well-operating car and a good driving record. When you want to work, you turn on an app and pick up nearby ride requests.
Getting started: Check the big companies’ websites for details. Note that many areas have local start-ups as well.
- Park ranger
Maybe your idea of a well-spent day is experiencing the great outdoors. Each year the National Park Service and state park agencies take on rangers for the summer surge. You can also seek employment in the parks’ hotels and restaurants. If you’re lucky, you’ll work in a historic lodge.
Getting started: To find seasonal openings for park rangers, go to usajobs.gov and search “National Park Service.” For other jobs, look at the website of Aramark, a firm that the NPS uses for many of its facilities and concessions. Or check the website of your state’s parks department.
- Direct Salesperson
The thought of working from home after years of commuting and office politics may be your idea of joy. If you’ve got what it takes to make a pitch, consider direct-sales firms like Mary Kay, Avon and Cutco. You need only a computer, internet access, a phone and a comfort level with calling strangers. You may have to pay for a start-up kit, but legitimate firms will buy back products you haven’t been able to sell.
Getting started: Get tips at the website of the Direct Selling Association. Do some due diligence—not all firms out there are straight shooters. Check out individual companies at the website of the Better Business Bureau.
- Dog Walker or Pet Sitter
If you are one of those people for whom being with animals is never a chore, make a few bucks at it. Summer, spring break and holidays are the peak times, but there’s also demand year-round from working people who want Rusty to get some midday exercise. You get some, too!
Getting started: This is usually a word-of-mouth business. Get the talk started by posting notices at the local pet store and on local Listservs. The website TaskRabbit, which connects people who need help performing certain jobs with those willing to do them, can also find you clients.
- Retail Cashier
If you like to stay busy, work a check-out lane and watch the hours fly by. Demand spikes at certain times of the year, but stores always have a need for cashiers. Be prepared for hours of standing and loads of personal contact. Also available: jobs in shelf stocking, security and customer greeting.
Getting started: In the Older & Bolder section of the website CoolWorks.com, older workers can get help finding placements.
- Craft Worker
Some people have looked forward to retirement to indulge their love of craft work. You may be able to turn this hobby into a business, selling at local craft fairs or online. Promoting will be as important as making gotta-have-it products, but that’s part of the challenge and satisfaction.
Getting started: ArtFire, Etsy and Bonanza are among the many online markets where crafters sell their creations. Check community websites for craft fairs near you.
9. Package Courier
If a bit of heavy lifting to stay in shape appeals to you, delivery companies such as UPS and FedEx face a constant need for mail sorters, truck drivers and floor managers. Some positions are more physically taxing than others; you may need to lift heavy boxes or be on your feet for hours at a time.
Getting started: Check the websites of the big package companies for applications.
10. Your old job, part time
You may be able to negotiate a deal to stick with your work, but maybe do it three days a week. That means endless long weekends and time for other pursuits.
Getting started: Has someone in your workplace gone part time? Find out how the deal was struck. Then be your own advocate. Approach your boss with a specific proposal: how many days, what responsibilities you’d keep and so on. If you want to go back into your field but with a different employer, FlexProfessionals, a staffing firm based in Washington and Boston, can help you find work in those cities.
Kerry Hannon is AARP’s job expert. Her latest book is Getting the Job You Want After 50 for Dummies. She has also written Love Your Job: The New Rules for Career Happiness and Great Jobs for Everyone 50+: Finding Work That Keeps You Happy and Healthy … and Pays the Bills. Find more from her at Kerryhannon.com.