We teach what we want to learn.

For about a decade, while working as a freelance journalist/author/speaker, I taught an adult education class on freelance writing at a local community center. I taught because I knew it was the best way to keep my own writing sharp. And I taught because I believed in the power of peer groups. I learned as much from my students as they learned from me. Years later, I still savor the posse of fellow writers I found there, and we’re still supporting each other through the ups and downs of writing and publishing.

These days I’m consumed with the future of work, specifically how we can remain relevant, generative and, most important, employed over the course of a much longer career than ever before.

My most recent article for The New York Times, to be published in the next few days, is about the “new fifties.” If midlife used to be a time to start planning for retirement, increasingly it’s a time to ensure we’re planning for work’s later chapters. Many of us know we need to do it, and many of us want to. But often it’s a daunting idea and a do-it-yourself project.

When I put out a call to my networks to learn how others are working to extend their careers (and their relevance), I learned four, key things. First, lots of people hitting their forties and fifties are refreshing, reinventing (and all the other ‘re-’ words you can think of) to prepare for another few decades of meaningful work and contribution. Second, lots are doing it alone, without much of a road map. Third, there are tremendous barriers, most notably ageism, both foisted on us and internalized by us. And finally, those who are most successful are finding that connecting with younger people is a vital part of the equation!

When I wrote the Encore Career Handbook a few years ago, I explored how to find purpose, passion, and yes a paycheck too — in the second half of life. And when I toured the country to promote that book, I met many people who were using the book with others to create their own support and accountability groups around encore careers.

For years, people have been asking me where to find an online class on encore careers. I couldn’t find one.

Beginning today, you can find a brand-new, free class on encore careers developed in partnership with LinkedIn Learning. I stand 100 percent behind it — because I teach it!

In a series of short videos, we’ll discuss all the topics covered in the Encore Career Handbook — how to discover and hone your interests, how to invest in yourself, how to present yourself online, and perhaps most important, how to find your place in a multigenerational workforce.

If you take the class, I encourage you to do it with someone else and join the LinkedIn Encore group to connect with others seeking and in encore careers. Encore transitions are never a solitary activity. The whole process involves exploring new things — both within yourself and out in the world. You’ll want to meet new people, both online (contacts of your contacts, LinkedIn style) and in real life. And you’ll want to do lots of experiments, trying things out to see what you’re drawn to, and just as important, what you’re done with.

I hope you’ll join me in this new journey. Take a look at the course description here, sign up, and please help spread the word. Let’s teach each other what we want to learn!


Published: November 7, 2018

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.

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