Avoiding talent depreciation

Something else I came across yesterday through Ashoka is Encore.org, a really compelling nonprofit with an unusual mission:

Encore.org is building a movement to tap the skills and experience of those in midlife and beyond to improve communities and the world.

And their vision:

While many see our aging society as a problem, we view it as a solution. Those in and beyond midlife represent a powerful source of talent with the accumulated skills, experience and wisdom to tackle some of society’s most urgent challenges. …

Neither young nor old, the vast population moving into midlife offers an extraordinary resource. Millions are determined to apply their experience to make a difference for others. And they are looking for a new model combining elements of work, service, and social impact – an “encore” or “encore career.” Some are able to do so as unpaid volunteers or in roles in their communities or families. But for many, encore work can bring a new source of continued income.

A few years ago I was speaking to an elementary school leader who was lamenting that he had a lot of personal contacts with retired accountants, scientists, business people, civic leaders, etc. who would be great fits in teach roles at his school. But because of regulatory policy for teacher accreditation, the reservoir of knowledge in that community wasn’t able to be put to use in the classroom in a formal way.

I’m not sure I see myself having the desire to retire. It’s my nature is to tinker and to try to be useful. As health and medical care improve life expectancy, we’re likely to be left with more time for “work, service, and social impact,” and I hope we can think through more compelling ways to spend that portion of life than spending down that inheritance through age-segregated communities and golf courses.