The Baby Boomer generation is facing a time of heightened uncertainty. Blessed with unprecedented levels of education, health, and life expectancy, many hope to contribute to society after their retirement. Yet they must also navigate ambiguous career exits and retirement paths, as established scripts for schooling, parenting, and careers continue to unravel. In Encore Adulthood, Phyllis Moen presents the realities of the encore life stage - the years between traditional careers and childraising and old age. Drawing on large-scale data sets and interviews with Boomers, HR personnel, and policymakers, this book illuminates the challenges that Boomers encounter as they transition from traditional careers into retirement. Beyond data analysis, Moen discusses the personal impact for Boomers' wellbeing, happiness, and health when they are unable to engage in meaningful work during their encore years, as well as the potential ecomic loss that would occur when a large, qualified group of people prematurely exit the workforce. Moen concludes with proposals for a range of encore jobs that could galvanize Boomers to take on desirable and sought-after second acts, emphasizing meaningful work over high-paying jobs and flexibility over long hours. An important analysis of an understudied and new life stage, Encore Adulthood makes an important contribution to the existing scholarship on careers, work, and retirement.
Phyllis Moen is Professor of Sociology at the University of Minnesota where she holds a McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair.