Maybe you have suddenly realized that your retirement savings won't go as far as you thought. Maybe you find yourself out of work before you're ready to stop. Or maybe you simply have a yearning to do something else for the remainder of your work life.
Whatever the reason, more and more Americans are embarking on second careers. A survey by retiredbrains.com, a website that helps with retirement planning, found that more than 86 percent of business professionals plan to keep working even after they are eligible to retire—and a sizable portion of them choose to switch gears.
If that's your plan, then you are probably facing a task you haven't contended with in decades: how to figure out what you can bring to a new career and where you can find the best opportunities.
First up: Stow those old notions about the importance of job titles and your place in the corporate hierarchy.
"Your job title is not your asset," said Nancy Collamer, a career coach and the author of "Second-Act Careers: 50 Ways to Profit From Your Passions During Semi-Retirement" (Ten Speed Press). "Your asset is that you've got 25 years of knowledge of how to bring a product to market, or you know how to negotiate major contracts."
Collamer cites the example of a longtime marketing manager at Microsoft who decided to make a change. He had always enjoyed magic and performed on the side, so he became a marketing manager for other magicians, helping them get gigs at events such as corporate parties. It's an unusual niche, but it was a neat fit with his talents and interests.
"The reality is that we are quickly evolving into a situation where many of us, regardless of age, are not going to be working in traditional jobs," Collamer said.