Second-Act Ideas From Five Canadians

Connie Proteau | April 13th, 2015

Want to reinvent your worklife? Here, second-act career ideas from 5 Canadians

Beth Esenbergs Waterloo, Ont.

My resume “I was a professor and program co-ordinator at the school of business and hospitality at Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning for 29 years until I retired at 64. Prior to this, I operated a family-style restaurant and was a public school educator with the Toronto Board of Education.”

What’s my new job? “For the last seven years I’ve worked as a business adviser for the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre and currently for the City of Waterloo.”

Why do I work? “In retirement, I didn’t have the desire to take up typical pastimes such as travel. I missed the stimulation and challenge of new situations and the personal interaction with peers. I’m extremely fortunate to have good health and I thoroughly enjoy my job.”

My typical day “The position of Small Business Adviser requires me to do all the activities that I enjoy and find rewarding: individual coaching and mentoring and presenting seminars to community groups. I like being creative and encouraging entrepreneurship.”

What do I love about my job? “I get my energy and enthusiasm from the people I meet and the people I work with.”

Greg Newton Ottawa

My resume

“I’ve been a portrait and commercial photographer for over 50 years. I’m only employed as much as people will let me these days. One photographic assignment earns me more than two days of flower deliveries in a week.”

What’s my new job? “For the last five years, I’ve worked as a part-time delivery driver for Mill Street Florist located in Manotick.”

Why do I work?

“The extra money allows me to do a few things that I probably wouldn’t be able to do with just CPP and Old Age Pension. I enjoy travelling and attending Kiwanis conventions around the world.”

My typical day

“I deliver flowers two days a week and, depending on the season, drive all over the greater Ottawa area, with Valentine’s, Mother’s Day and Christmas being the busiest. It can sometimes be stressful driving downtown in the late afternoon, because like any good-sized city, you have traffic jams. Out here in Manotick, it’s okay because it’s less congested, so I prefer to get all the downtown Ottawa deliveries done as early as I can.”

What do I love about my job?

“It is enjoyable. Most of the time, I’m putting smiles on people’s faces with a delivery for a birthday or an anniversary or a congratulations on the new baby. And Mill Street Florist does such a beautiful job.”Wendy McMillan Salmon Arm, B.C.

My resume

“I’ve been a small business owner since the age of 19 with a hair salon and then later, my husband and I ran a succession of businesses in the logging and construction industries. When our marriage ended eight years ago, so did my self-employment.”

What’s my new job?

“I work as a room attendant at Surmount 2, a 3000-person accommodation complex near Fort McMurray, Alta.”

Why do I work?

“To top up missed contributions to the Canada Pension Plan and to pay off my biggest retirement asset, my home.”

My typical day

“While cleaning up to 50 rooms a day, I walk an average of 16 kilometres in a 10-hour shift. It’s a big work load, but I’m lucky to be healthy enough to do it.”

What do I love about my job?

“My work ‘week’ is a 21-day stretch with one week off, a rotation schedule that allows free time and overtime pay to spend at my vacation home in Palm Springs. It’s the best of both worlds. I’m a working snowbird.”

Wayne Olson Blind Bay, B.C.

My resume

“I worked in sales for a sawmill equipment manufacturer for 10 years and also owned a wine-making store with my wife. Prior to this, I owned an automotive and industrial parts business in Saskatchewan for 20 years.”

What’s my new job?

“For the last eight years, I’ve worked for a Canada Post contractor, responsible for the maintenance of community mailboxes in my area.”

Why do I work?

“Before I retired, I had enough money saved that was making six per cent, and it was supposed to last until I was 82. But when I retired, the stock market went in the toilet so anybody my age probably lost 25 to 40 per cent of their RRSPs. So that was part of the reason I went to work, and the other reason is I had an opportunity of doing something I wanted to do.”

My typical day

“Year round, I’m on call to repair broken or vandalized mailboxes and, in the winter months, I take care of the snow removal. The hours I work average three days a week.”

What do I love about my job?

“I love driving around in an old truck, plowing snow and talking to people.”

Armand Foisy Lillooet, B.C.

My resume “I was an automotive mechanic and owner of a service station. I sold my business in my early 50s. I then took a part-time position with a major North American ginseng producer working in plant sciences for 12 years. This job took me to many ginseng growing areas in B.C. until the company was bought out by investors and relocated to China. Other hobbies and interests include electronics, photography, and videography.”

What’s my new job?

“Six years ago, I was sought out by the owners of Fort
Berens Estate Winery, who had plans to develop a vineyard located in Lillooet. They were looking for a generalist, and there I was. I’ve been here working part-time in a variety of projects ever since.”

Why do I work?

“I like to keep active with work that I find interesting and to be able to pass on my knowledge to others. The extra money is for travel. Older workers have a work ethic that doesn’t have to be taught and a broad skill base that comes from their work experiences and hobbies. This is valuable to an astute employer.”

My typical day

“I take on a variety of projects: vineyard maintenance, farm equipment repair, creating video blogs and giving informal talks to visitors and tourists.

What do I love about my job?

“I like the flexibility that part-time work offers. Working at the winery is fun. When I’m here, you’ll find me either in the wine store or underneath a tractor.”