Click here To Play Audio Version Of Interview
ever had to reinvent your career? For some people, later-in-life career
reinvention isn't an option — it's an essential survival tool.
More seniors are working now than
ever before, and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the next
seven years will only bring those numbers up. By 2022, the Bureau estimates 1
of every 3 Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 will still be employed — but
not necessarily in the same line of work they worked in before.
Austinite who falls within that age range has reinvented her career –
Kay Lively doesn't mind it when dogs bark at her. She visits her clients at
home, so barking dogs are just a part of her job.
specializes in estate planning, and she's 72 years old.
client Hank Einck just had surgery, so when Lively pays him a visit, he is
dressed in sweats.
will be designated as the executor of his mother's will, and that's what Lively
is helping him with. Einck's mother's death was completely unexpected. At 90,
she was still energetic – headed for Alaska this summer. But she had cancer
that went undetected until nearly the end of her life.
knew?" Einck says.
it's "gonna be a trying time as executor of the will to try and work with
puts Einck at ease. As they privately go over the terms of the will, Lively
explains things twice, three times if needed. Once the paperwork is done,
Lively slides Einck's credit card on her phone ("sign with your
finger"), and the session is over. Lively tells Einck that if they need to
meet with the sisters, she'd be "more than happy to do it again."
her home office, Lively tells me she decided to be an attorney when she was in
her 50s. It was her fourth career reinvention.
started out as an elementary school teacher. She was married to a pilot. She
traveled a lot and went to school in several countries.
I came back and taught gourmet cooking and international foods, French cooking
and light cuisine in community college for four years," she says.
teaching cooking, Lively ran a bed-and-breakfast.
after 32 years of marriage, she and her husband divorced. That's when she went
to law school. But finding a job afterward proved tough.
one came right out and said, 'we are not going to hire you because of your
age,' but just on paper, they assumed that I was going to be slow, [or] too
independent, where they couldn't control me," Lively says.
wondered how she could earn an income while putting her knowledge to work. Then
she got an idea from seeing how stressed out her own 103-year-old mother became
when she had any type of appointment. Her mother, Lively says, fears she'll
forget important paperwork, or that she'll get lost.
occurred to Lively that she could cater to elderly clients, like her mother, by
taking her meetings with them in their homes.
quickly realized that the elderly weren't the only clients who prefer home
a lot of young couples, they both work, they have three little kids, so I can
come any time that's convenient for them – including nights and weekends. The
kids can play right there. I'm a grandmother, so that doesn't daunt me in any
way," Lively says.
Lively found her niche, and her fourth career reinvention became a success: She
can pay her bills. She stays active and, through word of mouth, she gets more
clients every day.
Lively, other older people facing a career reinvention may not have found their
a-ha moment. And reinvention may seem like a daunting task.
Austin non-profit called Austin Up sees this as an opportunity to help. Teresa
Ferguson, Austin Up's director, says she's recruiting older Austinites to
become life coaches for people facing a fork in the road.
they want to start a new business – maybe they have an entrepreneurial idea but
don’t know the first thing about starting a business," Ferguson says.
these folks, a life coach or mentor with a business background could tell them
what it takes to run the business they have in mind. If those parameters don't
seem feasible, the life coach could help them look for a different option.
says that her father-in-law became a life coach during the last few years of
his life, when he was in his 80s, and in fairly poor health.
when he was talking about his career and things he'd learned and passing that
on to someone new, all of the health issues seemed to fade into the
background," she says.
Texas has one of the fastest growing
populations of seniors in the U.S. And as they consider their
options — retirement, volunteerism, a new career move — they may take advantage
of the opportunity to change careers. Maybe, as Lively did, for the second, or
the third — or the fourth — time.