I retired. Now how do I unretire?

kent_dychtwald.top.jpgDychtwald in his Orinda, Calif., home office Interview by Beth Kowitt, writer-reporter


(Fortune Magazine) -- You retired. But that was then. Now things have changed, and you want -- or need -- to return to the workforce. Jumping back in may seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be, says Age Wave CEO Ken Dychtwald, an expert on boomers and aging. The challenge of finding a job -- again -- isn't just about the mechanics, like writing a résumé for the first time in years or convincing a potential employer that you're a better hire than the perky young college grad he just interviewed. It's also about altering your mindset and realizing that this may be a new beginning. Here's Dychtwald's advice on how to make your way back onto a company payroll without too much stress.

Reframe what work means

Having to go back to the office when you dreamed for years about puttering in your garden or volunteering can be frustrating, even depressing. But retirement isn't all it's cracked up to be either. For most productive, well-educated men and women, an average of 25 years of "leisure" can be terribly isolating and boring; returning to work may turn out to be a blessing after all. Remember that work is good not only for the cash flow but also keeping the mind and spirit sharp.

Don't play the youth game

This is an area where people make a lot of mistakes. They dye their hair (if they have any), get some hip, new, young clothes -- even though they might not fit -- and try to use the jargon and style of youth. That doesn't work. A better idea: Go on the offensive and sell yourself as a mature person. Stress your capacity to make smart decisions, your good judgment in managing people, your contributions in brainstorming and business development, and your lifetime connections. This is your advantage.

Target industries with older clients

70% of all money in banks is held by people over 50. That's an example of an industry that's finally coming to realize that a 60-year-old client might actually appreciate dealing with a 60-year-old banker. Other sectors likely to welcome a more mature approach: adventure travel, luxury cars, lifelong learning, or retail.

--A psychologist, gerontologist, speaker, and author of 16 books, Ken Dychtwald, CEO of Age Wave, advises large companies on developing products and services for the aging population. To top of page