The other day I ran across two separate articles in the NY Times that are at total opposite ends of the career spectrum – college entry and retirement.
I’ve written before that I’m not a big fan of how college fits into the career world of today. It is working on a model that is outdated. Well, Lauren Clark’s story is one I advocate. She took a year in between high school and college to develop herself. She used a group called The Center for Interim Programs to organize her experiences. They set up two different choices: live in Ghana and help a community build a library and study art in Italy. These two experiences, especially the Ghana project, really helped her to focus what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. She delivered on something truly rewarding. Many freshman in college discover alcohol, not their future career path.
Of course this has way of doing things has risks as well. The first is that once someone gets out of the routine of education it is hard to get back into it. Perhaps never going to college at all. The second is that programs like what Ms. Clark did have a monetary cost. Not everyone has the ability financially to take advantage of this opportunity.
In the Shifting Careers section of the NY Times Marci Alboher presents an interesting illustration of what people who are retiring would do as an encore. It isn’t a surprise, but look how heavy it is toward helping others in some form or fashion.