An Encore or a Second Act?

As I mentioned in my last post, my absence from the blog has been in part related to the fact that we’ve been CRAZY BUSY with our “Encore Careers.”  He’s an architect, and I do virtual administrative tasks, and we have created our own second act that allows us to work mostly from home.  In the last year we’ve learned some great things in this Encore, along with some not so good…

The Great Things

  1. The world is flat – We can work from anywhere, provided we have a strong cell signal.  I purchased a wi-fi hot spot which lets us connect to people and projects, even if we are in another city or on the top of a mountain.  I have found that I can check email and send a quick response from anywhere.  Often, a client needs to hear, “I’ll have it to you by close of business tomorrow.”  They don’t need to know that I am on the 7th tee box at my favorite golf course!
  2. Starbucks is our conference room – We joke that we have many coffee house conference rooms in and around our city, perfect for meeting with clients.  Or we offer to meet at their offices.  Works perfectly, and I benefit from frequent pumpkin spiced chai teas!
  3. We don’t use an alarm clock – The voyage allows us to set our own schedules.  This is the best!  I never feel exhausted as I did when I was teaching.  We are able to schedule so that our days meet our needs, and we schedule our “down time” with intention.  Oh yeah, and I am always rested now….No seriously, I am!
  4. Togetherness with QUALITY – Back in the days of full time employment for others, we would both drag in at the end of the work day, and it was all either of us could manage to get some type of sustenance prepared for us.  The evenings progressed with me doing school paperwork and him manning the TV flipper, then collapsing into bed.  Now, we plan to do things together, often during the day!  A lunch out, an art museum, a park – whenever WE decide!
  5. Saying “NO” is an option – Because we get to decide what to make of our business, we get to select which projects we will take.  Which leads us to

The Not So Good

  1. We don’t say “No” enough – We have found from the early days of the voyage, we were a bit afraid to turn anyone down.  While we have adequate retirement funds in place, we like not having to draw upon them – and you never know if and when the next job will come along.  We’re more comfortable now, and we are seeking the perfect balance between encore and voyage.
  2. We’re always “at work”  – Even when we’re on that golf course, it’s important for us to care for our clients.  So even if I skip a hole to take care of business, it is that availability that ALLOWS us to make these chosen careers work well.  Being an entrepreneur isn’t a part-time job or a full-time job.  It’s a lifestyle!
  3. It’s easy to over-schedule – Number 1 above has occasionally caused us to pick up too many projects at once, making short-term scheduling difficult.  While we’re pretty good at scheduling our long-term goals, sometimes we let our alligators overload our hummingbirds…
  4. There’s no escape from the office – Our offices are at one end of our home.  We don’t have the luxury of leaving the office to go home.  Sometimes, for good or bad, the settings run into each other.  We are learning to consciously “leave the office” and shut down.

Don’t get me wrong.  We have had more fun since we started this voyage than we ever had in our “pre-retirement” years.  We love that we get to remain mentally engaged, with important work to do, on our own terms and in our own way.  Nearly every day one of us says to the other,

“This is a good gig, scooter!”

And so we we will continue to make adjustments as we journey down this road. Are any of you working any side gigs during your retirement years?  We’d love to hear the things you’ve learned!

Lynn

7 thoughts on “An Encore or a Second Act?

  1. Retirementallychallenged.com

    I am so happy that I don’t have to be on-call anymore. I remember when taking a vacation really meant getting away from work. Once email and cell phones came along it seemed like my employer expected me to be available even when I was away… and I was. Now if I have more than two appointments on my calendar in one week, I get fidgety. Do you two have a plan for the day you’ll say “no more”?

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    1. Encore Voyage Post author

      Thanks, Janis! That was part of our lesson…we don’t know if we’ll ever actually STOP, as long as what we’re doing is FUN and we enjoy it. We pretty much get to do anything we want, only on our own schedules. Hubs reminds me that Frank Lloyd Wright didn’t really hit his stride until age 70! But what we FINALLY figured out is that if we take on too much, it starts feeling like work again! And nobody wants that!!!

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  2. Donna

    ‘Sounds like you have found a great ‘encore gig’ that you are reflecting upon and revising as you go. I’m so glad that you are back blogging about this as I know that your journey is (and will continue to be) very inspiring to others.

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  3. Terri Webster Schrandt

    Like I’ve been saying, when you have a passion, it ceases to be “work” (although there may be some drudgery and exhausting moments). Today is Sunday as I comment here, and I have a boatload of papers to grade while my hubby is in the other end of the house refinishing our ceiling. I might as well blog and “work”, reading student papers is quite illuminating and not what I would call work 🙂

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  4. patwdoyle11

    I’ve done some part-time consulting and also have had to learn to say “no” to projects (people) that I just don’t feel good about or just don’t have time to fit. It’s a learning curve and I failed miserably last May when 3 large projects coincided and I was working 40-50 hours a week. Right now, I’m down to 1 project that’s only 2-5 hours a week, but that’s OK as we’re focused on a personal project (downsizing). What I’ve found, however, is I don’t like the networking/selling I need to do to find the projects. I like the work, but not the search and contract negotiation stuff.

    The other side (life) still needs work. I’m not yet into the “lunch out, art museum, park visit” mode of living with hubby. That’s where my focus needs to be!

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    1. Encore Voyage Post author

      What you describe is exactly what was happening to hubs and me during the last nine months! We ended up working our tails off! Now we’re learning that we don’t need to accept every job that comes along. But it took us a few years to get to the point that we didn’t need to “chase” too hard. We’re just finding that balance!

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