I'm having an increasingly difficult time defining two words that one hears a lot lately, what with the "new economy" and all. More and more of us mid-career (the new euphemism for "middle aged") folks are trying to figure out how to re-invent ourselves to address our "new circumstances," whether due to job or portfolio loss. In the "new economy," we're likely to have to keep doing whatever the "new us" decides on for another 10-25 years longer than we expected to last year, when it was still the "old economy". And let's not forget the unfortunate retirees who were betrayed by the "old economy" and are forced back to the workplace.
So what is retirement (word #1) in the new economy? If the old economy wiped out your savings and your plans for your later years, does that mean retirement is no longer achievable for the middle class?
Many are finding their new circumstances provide the ideal moment to try their hand at starting and operating their own business. Some are hanging out their shingles, seeing greater opportunity in the "gig economy" than in traditional employment.
Are these people entrepreneurs (word #2)? I thought entrepreneurs were folks who are blessed/cursed with a need to be in business for themselves, not people who start businesses because they don't have something else to do. (Interestingly, "entrepreneur" comes from the French "entreprendre," a verb made up of two parts: "entre", meaning between; and "prendre", meaning to take. When looked at this way, entrepreneurial activities might actually be the things we do to fill in the spaces between other things - like employment.)
While I've been fussing over these ever so important issues, retired 79-year old Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has been busy with her new venture, "Our Courts". I'll let her explain:
This summer, Our Courts.org will release two games for middle-schoolers, just in time for the new school year. The games, called "Do I Have A Right?" and "Supreme Decision: Freedom of Speech", will each reside within the Our Courts virtual world. The website already has lesson plans and activities for teachers. More resources and more titles are expected in coming months.
Apparently, Justice O'Connor has this entrepreneurial retirement thing figured out. Plus, anybody who gets into videogames in her late 70's definitely has it going on.