Friday, November 21, 2008

Rebooting: an idea whose time is still here! started up a year ago in September. Back then, the economy was fairly healthy and optimism was strong. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 13,820 on September 21, 2007, on its way to 14,164 in October. The Consumer Confidence Index was in the 80s, on its way to the 90s.

It seemed like a good time to launch a website dedicated to the proposition of reinvention, restarting, and rebooting – especially after “retirement” from a conventional career.

Now the Dow is barely above 8,000 and the consumer confidence index is at 38, its lowest point since it was first devised in 1967.

Nonfarm payroll employment fell by 240,000 in October. Job losses over the last 3 months totaled 651,000. In October, the unemployment rate rose from 6.1 to 6.5 percent, and the number of unemployed persons increased to 10.1 million.

Many retirees have seen much of their savings wiped out. People are still talking about rebooting, but now it’s about rebooting the whole country – or at least the whole economy.

So is one of the basic ideas of rebooting – continuing to work after retirement – out the window? Is reinvention no longer an option? Are so many people out of work and the economy so far in the tank that there simply aren’t any jobs for people looking to start anew?

I think not.

Maybe the possibility of staying on the job, or finding a new job, is off the table. But there are many other ways to reboot, and now is the time to explore them. Here are a few ideas from (

• Start your own business – maybe consulting in your field of expertise, or some other field. In her book, Starting Over: Reinventing Life After 60, author Pat Skilling Kellerman tells story after story of people over 60 who have turned their interests into businesses, including pottery, woodworking, cooking, selling wallpaper, owning and operating a bed and breakfast, song writing and farming, among others. You may not grow “too big to fail,” but you may do very well, as have many of the people in Ms. Kellerman’s book.
• Volunteer at a church or local non-profit. There are scores of organizations that need willing, capable and experienced volunteers in virtually every area -- financial, marketing, fund-raising, general management, hands-on work, you name it.
• Go back to school.
• Become a teacher.
• Join the Experience Corps. Go to
• Join the Peace Corps. (
• Pursue a paid Encore Career, as championed by Marc Freedman, Encore.Org ( and Civic Ventures (
• Volunteer elsewhere and do good work. Go to the website and you’ll find thousands of opportunities, and even if none of them are in your area, maybe you’ll get some good ideas there.

Yes, even with so many gloomy signs and downward-pointing arrows, there are still opportunities for personal reinvention. Despite the dark clouds, there are rays of hope and optimism. At the upper levels of government, on the Obama transition team, in Congress, among the scholars and pundits and commentators, there is talk of rebooting – rebooting the economy and, indeed, the whole country.

In hard times, Americans have always risen to the occasion. We will do so this time, too.~