Retirement is a time in life when people look forward to taking an extended break from the workforce and enjoying life without interruptions. As time goes on or if financial circumstances arrive, returning to the workforce may seem like an exciting or inevitable prospect. Retirees are returning to work at a rapid rate, and there are jobs you can try that may be more satisfying than your former career.
Some unusual jobs for seniors who wish to join the workforce include babysitting or pet sitting, joining the gig economy, or driving a city bus. They have options in either full-time, part-time, or freelance positions. Teaching or working for a non-profit can also be personally fulfilling.
No job is unusual unless you have never done it, so these 9 jobs represent unique ways to try something new during this new and rewarding phase of your life. Read on to discover some jobs you may have considered and a few that may surprise you as options to consider.
Is Retirement All It’s Cracked Up to Be?
As human beings in the modern world, we are programmed to expect to work from our late teens until our early to mid-60s. You cannot change how society operates. Therefore, that same programming tells us we need to work to be successful and live a comfortable life sometimes has us counting down the days until our 65th birthday. It’s a perfectly normal response to years of responsibility and hard work.
But retirement can sometimes leave a void in ourselves that is hard to snap out of. It’s one thing to be stressed out about future finances, but retirement can also be draining to the spirit. One study by the Journal of the American College of Radiology found that retirement can force a loss of identity to an individual after decades of having a daily purpose with responsibilities that must be met.
You may find yourself sleeping longer, sleeping during the day, and staying up all night, becoming more sedentary than you ever were when you were working. All of these feelings can be mentally draining, not to mention bad for your physical well-being.
Some seniors may find that they need to head back to work because their finances are not panning out the way they hoped. If this is the case, you may want to consider some new options when it comes to re-entering the working world. Just because you have to return to work doesn’t mean that you have to return to the same job that you did for so many years before retirement.
All in all, retirement is not all it’s cracked up to be. The first couple of years may be a much-needed break, but you will likely find yourself wanting to get back into a routine. Thankfully, there is a wide range of unusual and new ventures you can try that you never had the chance to try before.
Suppose you feel that you miss your previous job or are nearing the time to retire and don’t want to leave. In that case, you can always ask your employer if it is possible to continue in a reduced capacity or even on a consultancy basis. Never feel that you must leave a company based on age expectancy related to the national retirement age.
Before we dive into the list, take a look at this video offering advice on where to begin your search when looking for a new job:
Becoming an educator is a career field that many people have a passion for. Teaching may sound easy, but it takes a lot of patience and passion with a subject to pass that enthusiasm on to a room full of students. The great thing about becoming an educator is that this field does not regard age as a possible detriment to succeeding in the field, which is refreshing to hear.
Teaching can be broken down into many different categories, such as elementary, secondary (middle and high school), community college, and teaching at the university level as an adjunct. Let’s take a look at each of these categories and the details and qualifications that pertain to each.
At first, it is easy to see how becoming an elementary school teacher as a senior can be unusual, especially if you never worked with kids in your previous profession. But this can be rewarding as this position allows you to pass on knowledge and ignite younger imaginations in the second half of your life.
It may seem unusual since teaching can normally be thought of as the main career option for those who dream of spending their career in a classroom. However, teaching younger children is a perfect option since your life experience can bring the third chapter of your life full circle; this is a great way to earn an income and pass the time if you feel like full retirement is overrated.
Teaching elementary school will require a bachelor’s degree. Most states do not mind what major your degree was in, but a teacher preparation course will typically be required to sit for your state-regulated teaching license. Be sure to specialize in elementary education for your prep program.
If you don’t have the patience to teach young children, there is also the option of teaching middle and high school. The older the student, the less hand-holding you may have to do, but there will be instances where some older students need more guidance than other students.
Overall, you can expect to have a more independent-minded classroom than what you would find with kids, which can let you dive deeper into the subject you wish to teach.
Teaching secondary education is also a great way to focus on one subject that matches your preference or skill set. Elementary settings typically require teachers to teach multiple subjects at one time. You can teach multiple variations of math, history, or science, and this individual specialization is perfect if you majored in any of these subjects as an undergraduate.
The same qualifications for elementary education also apply to teach at the secondary level. Be sure to select secondary education as the focus of your teacher prep program.
Community college is a national education system that typically awards 2-year associate degrees to students and various certifications. This job will allow you to share the wisdom you have gained over your life in the career world to students who are ready to begin their journey.
There are also so many areas that you can teach if you choose to teach community college, which allows you to share your passion for a topic.
Unlike elementary and secondary education, you will need to have a master’s degree to teach at the community college level. Most colleges will also want some teaching experience under your belt to go along with a graduate degree.
Volunteer work or applying to work as a teacher’s assistant are great ways to meet the teaching experience qualification that will allow you to pass the qualifications when applying to teach community college.
Adjunct and Online Opportunities
Gaining a teaching position as a faculty member can be difficult at the community college and university level. Positions are limited, and most professors who reach faculty status are in no hurry to give up their position.
If you are a retired teacher, you may land an adjunct position based on years of proven teaching experience in your field. The model for securing an adjunct position is similar to teaching community college.
A master’s degree is almost always required. You may be stuck teaching courses that pertain to whatever your master’s degree was in. If you don’t have one, numerous online options can allow you to receive a master’s degree in as little as 15 months.
Suppose you do not have prior teaching experience. In that case, you can also take the same route as community college instructors and spend some time as an instructor’s assistant after you receive your graduate degree.
If brick and mortar schools are not producing any results in your search, consider applying to universities with online adjunct positions. These positions will require you to learn how to teach in a virtual setting, which isn’t for everybody. However, it can also be very rewarding due to the ability to teach wherever an internet connection is available.
Education is moving more rapidly towards the virtual component. This option will allow you to teach from the comfort of your home. Some positions may not require video lectures and allow you to write out lectures, which is great if you are camera shy.
Private tutoring is a perfect choice if you find the prospect of teaching in a classroom to be unusual. Tutoring allows you to have a more controlled and individualized approach to teaching since you are only responsible for assisting one student at a time. If you are a retired teacher, this is an easy option to consider; you already have all of the skills and experience you need to teach at a more leisurely pace.
If you want to try tutoring with no prior teaching experience, this option also represents the best choice in terms of qualifications. Typically, all you will need is a bachelor’s degree to apply for tutoring positions. Most private tutoring sessions are aimed at students who need help in preparing for college entrance examinations. Therefore, being a college graduate makes you a perfect candidate for tutoring.
These types of jobs can be found under tutoring or education sections of job boards and numerous online options. Virtual tutoring is perfect since this allows you to remain in your home and conduct tutoring sessions without ever having to worry about commuting across town.
The great thing about becoming a senior is that you are now aware that people or even pets need to be cared for due to the busy nature of life. Caretaking can take many forms, like babysitting, caring for the disabled, or even pet or house sitting.
Babysitters and pet sitters are two great options because this gives you a low-maintenance job in your retirement. You get to help busy parents or career professionals who are in desperate need of assistance.
Sure, this does sound very unusual indeed; babysitting is for high school and college students, right? You may be surprised to know that many parents probably feel a lot more secure about having an adult look after their kids than a teenager or college student.
As a senior, you automatically project an air of confidence and assurance for parents when it comes to looking after their kids while they are at work or away. This makes you more attractive as a candidate since parents will likely not have to wonder whether you will be distracted.
You may have to be willing to adjust your hours a bit since most parents are likely looking for a babysitter during the evening hours. However, this job helps foster relationships, keeps you busy, and even allows you to share some wisdom with children who can boost your self-esteem.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is pet sitting. More and more families are seeing both parents join the workforce in the modern age, which means that family pets can sometimes be left home alone for between 8-10 hours each day. Pets still need to be fed and allowed to go outdoors to relieve themselves. Therefore, a pet sitter’s role is becoming a rising trend.
Many pets can also suffer from a condition known as separation anxiety, where a pet panics and acts out when they are separated from their owners for long periods. With another person in the home to provide them company and see their needs, pets will be more comfortable with a sitter and live happier and healthier lives.
Both babysitting and pet sitting require no common qualifications, yet you may need to successfully pass a criminal background check since you will be inside people’s homes for hours at a time.
When you reach senior status, and especially after you retire, you may feel that you want to see as much of the world or your surrounding region as possible. This sense of adventure is healthy, and considering a job in transportation offers a great way to tap into this, even if your destinations are local.
Working in transportation can present its fair share of challenges as well as some qualifications and tests that will need to be met to be considered for a job that puts others’ safety in your hands. Obtaining a required driving license and possibly being required to successfully pass a physical could be some prerequisites you will need to consider.
Transportation employment can take on many forms, so let’s explore a few options to consider:
City Bus Driver
Driving a city bus is sometimes considered to be a popular job for retirees. It gets you out and about and allows you to make a living in the process. The work is fairly minimal, and the stress associated with the job is easily managed. You just need to be patient in traffic and handle customer complaints well.
You will need to obtain a CDL (commercial driver license) to operate a city bus. This can usually be obtained by going through your local motor vehicle division and requesting a CDL study manual. A written and driving test must be passed before a CDL can be issued. Be sure to request a CDL that certifies you to drive a commercial bus.
National Bus Driver
If you want to branch out even further and see the country, you can consider becoming a driver for national bus lines such as Greyhound and MegaBus. Imagine being able to wake up everyday and travel on the open road to states and destinations you never got the chance to see all those years you were working. Driving a bus on a national route is a great way to see the country and spend your later years.
Like city bus driving, you will also need to obtain a CDL for this kind of transportation job. A physical may be required due to the long time spent behind the wheel on the open roads.
Some may consider this more a service industry position, but being a flight attendant allows you to experience far away destinations and travel through the air, which can be exhilarating. This job’s service-oriented skills are perfect if you want to take up an adventurous job and still have enriching interactions with travelers.
Becoming a flight attendant is relatively easy. You will need to be a high school graduate and have some experience in customer service. You will most likely need to obtain a passport based on the destinations covered by the airline you choose.
The gig economy is another term for the self-employed and those who work on a freelance basis. Work in the gig economy is on your terms. This means you can choose how much or how little you want to work and, in most cases, when and where you work.
If you are experiencing job burnout or have unexpected life events arise, that won’t be a problem. You are the boss of your workload, and you can complete work and step away whenever you wish.
The gig economy is a blanket term because there are so many different skills and types of jobs you can choose from. If you like writing, you can apply to ads needing a freelance writer or a blogger. You can even start your blog if you wish and consider adding affiliate marketing to it to make money.
If you want to drive and do not wish to jump into a long term employment contract, you can drive for Uber or Lyft. The sky’s the limit in the gig economy world, and this option undoubtedly offers you the most freedom and flexibility.
When you retire or reach senior status in age, you may feel a need to become more involved in your local community or have an urge to do something meaningful. The workforce’s non-profit sector is primarily about serving a local community through a wide range of themes and services.
These examples can range from organizations that cater to the arts scene, religious or spiritual centers, self-awareness or counseling services, community action centers, and even organizations committed to the environment and nature. Most non-profit organizations operate on their terms, and due to smaller sizes, finding a paid position may present a challenge.
If you want to work for a non-profit, the best course of action is to consider volunteering first. Let supervisors see your passion and skills in action. A paid position is possible and will be rewarding if you are invested in the organization’s mission statement.
Housekeeping probably sounds fairly unusual. You may feel like housekeeping is just something you have always had to deal with yourself, and you were never paid for it. This is true, but considering a job as a housekeeper or even a groundskeeper is somewhat of a stress-free job, and your workload has not hidden challenges that creep up on you.
Becoming a paid housekeeper can be either a small or large endeavor based upon the house maintenance you wish to take on. You can check local job boards for homeowners who only need their house cleaned or even apply to large corporations who need several rooms or units cleaned and maintained.
A job in housekeeping can be therapeutic since this allows you to work out your organizational skills and feel accomplished when the task is finished. There are minimum qualifications required to land a job as a housekeeper. You can help the disabled or the elderly or consider this as an unusual and new venture that is also an easy way to make money.
Massage therapy offers a great therapeutic service to people who need stress relief, and muscular discomfort eased. Massage therapy is also perfect for upper body exercise and gives you an insight into what areas of the body carry the most stress and ways to relieve that tension and pain whenever those sensations flare-up.
Becoming a massage therapist doesn’t take a long time. A 6-month to a 1-year educational requirement is typically mandatory, leading to certification or licensure depending on your state. You can work out of your home, work for a non-profit, or even apply to work as a massage therapist on a cruise ship. Massage therapy is a versatile career choice and a great way to earn an income.
Greeting sometimes gets a bad reputation since the most obvious position people think of is a door greeter at a retail store. Regardless of opinions that see this as a laid back job for senior citizens, the position can be a rewarding experience. Being a greeter does not always have to mean simply welcoming a customer into an establishment.
There are several ways in which this job can get exciting and different. You can choose to dress up as a mascot at an amusement park or a character at World Disney World; you can operate the phone lines as a receptionist at an establishment or even work as an announcer advertising an establishment or being a brand ambassador.
The position provides a major boost of self-esteem and is a perfect way to fulfill a wish to work after retirement without all the necessary hard work that you spent your life fulfilling in your previous career.
Do you have an interest in a major tourist attraction in your town? Have you ever wanted to educate guests at a museum or on a nature walk? Becoming a tour guide is a perfect job to consider if you want to enrich interested patrons or tourists in a topic that has always fascinated you. Tour guides have incredibly fun jobs that allow them to answer intriguing questions and tell a story daily.
Becoming a tour guide doesn’t have to be limited to your neck of the woods, either. You can choose to work for a travel company and take adventurous trips to exciting destinations and even operate tours that go deep into nature and exotic locations. This is a job that lets you see the world while earning a living in the process.
So there you have it, 9 unusual jobs to consider when you become a senior. These jobs may not seem unusual, but do provide options that you may never have considered when you were first entering the workforce. Retirement doesn’t always have to be lounging around the house and losing contact with the outside world.
There are many employment options available, some of which allow you to stay inside your home if you don’t want to join the daily commute again.
- Sunrise Senior Living: Why Are More Retirees Returning to Work?
- Journal of the American College of Radiology: Retirement: It’s Not About the Finances!
- Teacher Certification Degrees: Better Teachers, Better Futures: Teaching Certification and Licensure Guide
- The U.S. News and World Report: Find the Best Online Master’s Degrees
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: All in the Family: The Impact of Caring for Grandchildren on Grandparents’ Health
- ASPCA: Separation Anxiety
- FMCSA: How Do I Get a Commercial Driver License?
- First American Careers: Current job openings
- MegaBus.com: Employment opportunities
- Wikipedia: Affiliate marketing
- American Journal of Nursing: Housekeeping Can Be Therapy
- Massage Therapy License: Massage Therapy License Requirement