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Five New Sources Of Work For Seniors In The Digital Age

July 19, 2012
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Maintaining a source of income after retirement is easier, more accessible and more diverse than ever before. Whether you are searching for a “second career” or a part-time job to keep you busy during your retirement, look beyond the traditional employers, and consider startups, call centers, and other businesses that are leveraging technology so that they can employ remote, less-skilled or less-active workers for a good wage.

1. Customer Service

Customer service jobs are good for people who are outgoing, friendly and have a background in sales or troubleshooting. You can work from home, and maybe even work for a company or brand that you already like or are knowledgeable about. For example, companies like Needle use what they call “fan sourcing” for customer service – meaning they employ people who are passionate about a particular product to answer customers’ questions, while working remotely. That’s one way to turn your knowledge of specific brands and products into revenue. A site like this offers the opportunity to meet like-minded people, while generating income. Call center Alpine Access encourages its employees to virtually mingle in chat rooms in order to boost company morale.

Call center companies employ seniors, stay-at-home moms and other remote workers to answer customer questions, troubleshoot products or help with directions. Be careful when you research these companies online, however—because of the high number of people surfing the web for stay-at-home work, scam operations have sprung up. Beware of any company that charges you for training, demands monthly service fees, or asks you to cash a check or wire money.

2. Personal Assistance

Even though you’re finding work in the Digital Age, that doesn’t mean the job needs to begin and end at the computer. Running errands is a good, low-stress way to make extra money. It has the added benefit of getting you out of the house, some light exercise and making new acquaintances.

At TaskRabbit you are connected with people in your area who have everyday chores that they are looking for help with. Tasks vary from household work like laundry or grocery shopping, to handyman jobs like fixing things around someone’s house, to simple administrative office work and testing websites’ usability. The fun thing about a site like this is the variety of choices it offers. Find something that you have a knack in, but never pursued as a career or moneymaking opportunity.

3. Teaching and Tutoring

Are you good at explaining things, or always wanted to be an educator? Teaching or tutoring online, with sites like, can provide a rewarding second career with flexible hours.

This option is more for people who already have a degree on hand (although you could always go back to school! A great way to broaden your horizons, as well as receive educational tax breaks). Generally if you want to tutor someone in high school or below you’ll need to have a Bachelor’s degree (teaching may also require a license). A Master’s or Doctorate will often be required for any higher education work.

Often you can make your own hours, and may even be able to create your own curriculum on a subject that is of particular interest to you. Most importantly, you are teaching other people the knowledge you have and helping them, which could be all the reward you need.

4. Translator

If words are more your thing—and you are fluent in a second language—a post-retirement career working as a translator is a great vocation to consider. Try searching Craigslist for translation work, or try sites like TranslatorsCafe. If you can speak Spanish, French, German or Chinese, to name a few, you already have most of the tools necessary to get started translating. You can work and take on assignments at your own pace, and sometimes set your own fee.

5. Do It Yourself

If you have more of an entrepreneurial spirit, then starting your own business could be the way to go. Sites like Etsy and eBay make going into business for yourself easier and more straightforward than it was before. If you are creative and crafty, give Etsy a try. With a few exceptions, like vintage items, everything on Etsy is handmade. Make that quilting or crochet gift of yours work for you. If you happen to be a collector, or have a lot of nifty knick-knacks around the house, consider becoming a professional seller on eBay. Assess what’s popular, and if you have a product or skill that you can leverage into a new business venture.

There are plenty of different jobs and opportunities in the Digital Age and just as many resources. Check out The Occupational Outlook Handbook at the Department of Labor’s website, as well as these two online job resources for retired citizens: RetiredBrains and Work Force 50. Also, take your time. Retirement is meant to be enjoyed, so don’t simply go into a job that is stressful and time consuming, or that could be physically strenuous and detrimental to your health. Picking out a good fit can take research, and knowing what you’re capable of is important. Be adaptable, creative and innovative, and you can find a fulfilling and lucrative post-retirement career.


Senior with computer image via Shutterstock