Old People Make Great Chefs

Okay, don’t take this in the wrong way. I’m not digging at the elderly or trying to make any Walmart greeter slams. The truth is that many of us find retirement either limits our income too much — or just isn’t all we thought it would be.

You don’t have to be poor to work!

In her 2012 book, Great Jobs for Everyone 50+: Finding Work That Keeps You Happy and Healthy … And Pays the Bills, Kerry Hannon proposes some ideas you may not have thought of. Her suggestions definitely turned the lights on for me.

Here are but a few of Kerry’s suggestions:

1. Retirement Coach: Hey, you’ve “been there and done that.” Why not help others, who may be facing the golden years with more than a bit of fear, get lined out?

Coaching has become big business. The book says the pay can range from $50 to $400 per hour. Sounds to me like a bit more than Walmart ponies up … and you already have the skills you need: experience and compassion.

2. Nonprofit Fundraiser: Chances are that you have helped more than one organization plan events and raise funds in the past. Why not consider those talents as potentially launching a second career? Your age can be an asset when it comes to people skills. You know the ropes, and you are (maybe) beyond your sounds-like-a-sales-pitch years. Hannon says a good fundraiser can earn upwards of $80 per hour. I’ll take some of that.

3. Tax Preparer: You have courted Uncle Sam for a long time. Why not turn some of that experience into a paycheck? This work gets really busy between January and April 15, but there is work all year long doing light bookkeeping and helping keep folks ready for tax season. With pay running $30 per hour or more … why not?

My turn!

Since reading “Great Jobs for Everyone 50+”, my eyes have been opened to the possibilities. I see jobs us old fogies could do, just about everywhere I roam. Here are a few of my own:

1. Social Media Help: Companies need “buzz” … they need to get their brands spread around the webosphere. Why not learn the major social media platforms and tools — then use your skills to help others build their business? Almost every company, both local and national, could use help in this realm. Pay? Set your own price. It may be better to consider your work by the piece instead of by the hour.

2. Chef or Cook: What is the difference? Attitude! You’ve been cooking meals for a long time. If you are good at it, why not share the grub? Don’t want to work the long hours at a restaurant? Why not check with the local schools to see if they need kitchen help? Anywhere people eat, there is a potential demand for a good Chef.

3. Housekeeping: This one sounds tough, but when you are in business for yourself, you only need to take the jobs you want. Would an extra few hundred dollars each week benefit you at all? Do you believe it is a good idea to stay active? Why not combine the two? An average housecleaning job takes a few hours and pays $100 or more. Don’t want to clean someone else’s kitchen? Consider cleaning for local businesses after hours. Good pay. Call your own shots. Keep moving.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with working as a greeter at Walmart. It could even be fun. When you are considering the possibilities, though, do some research. Your age doesn’t have to work against you. Chances are good that your experience, wisdom, and work ethic will make you more capable of earning a decent income … not less.


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