Baby Boomer Explores Possible Careers by Job Shadowing

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Speaker and author Silvana Clark recommends job shadowing to retiring Baby Boomers looking for meaning in their encore years. A short job shadow experience gives Boomers a first-hand, realistic look at a possible new career.

"When I job shadowed the owners of a Doggy Day Care, they actually offered me a job!"

With 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 50 each day, many are looking to find meaning in their “encore” part of life. But getting a job as an older adult is difficult. That’s where job shadowing comes into the picture. Silvana Clark, a professional speaker and author, suggests Boomers get a first-hand look at a job by asking to shadow an employee for a few hours.

“I always thought I’d like to work in a florist shop and drive a colorful van delivering beautiful flowers,” said Clark. “Then I spent an afternoon delivering flowers to a mortuary and trying to wrangle loose flowers into a balanced arrangement while standing all day. I quickly saw that wasn’t a job for me.”

Job shadowing can result in a pleasant surprise. “When I shadowed the owners of a Doggy Day Care, they actually offered me a job!" said Clark. Asking to job shadow an employee gives people a realistic look into that particular field. According to Encore.org, a San Francisco based organization that helps Boomers find second careers; thirty-one million older Americans are looking to find a second career but are struggling with the transition.

So far, Clark has job shadowed a casting director, a florist, owners of a Doggy Day Care and the activity director at a retirement center. “I simply call various companies and say I am interested in exploring new job opportunities. Only the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation turned me down!” said Clark. She now plans to travel the country with her husband in an RV and job shadow people with interesting careers while writing her twelfth book, "Can I Still Be A Marine Biologist?".

With so many older Americans looking to find purpose in their later years, job shadowing can be the key to finding a position that gives satisfaction as well as a paycheck.

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SILVANA CLARK
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