The“Third Age”：How to Prepare for Life After an Intense Career
Stefan Stern 斯蒂芬·斯特恩
Long-held assumptions about the traditional career path， and its duration， have been overthrown. Increased life expectancy means people entering the workforce today may have as many as five decades of employment ahead of them.
London Business School professors Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott labelled this phenomenon a “100 year life”. But today's fiftysomethings did not have too much warning about the changes they would see in their lifetimes. It is relatively new for professionals at or near the peak of their careers to have to recognise they probably still have a lot of living to do long after their main work has been done.
In Changing Gear: Creating the Life You Want After a Full-on Career， published this year， authors Jan Hall and Jon Stokes set out how this next life — or “third age” — might be approached.
This is not a simple transition to make.“To make a shift you have to have a picture of the future，” Stokes says. “And you have to take the first step towards that future， take action of some sort，” he adds. “It has to become real. Contemplating the future does not make it happen.”
It can clearly be unsettling to recognise you are entering a new and perhaps very different stage of life. Hall and Stokes offer some practical strategies to prepare for the “third life”. It is not a quick process. A year，18 months， or more may be required， and progress is not always linear or predictable. But each of these steps will be necessary:
Losing your balance — and noticing. Shake off denial， recognise and accept that change is happening.
Take stock — look around you and move from alarm to curiosity. This involves becoming more conscious of thoughts and feelings.
Be open to the new — explore and investigate fresh possibilities. You will need to recognise potential desired competences.
Try out new things — experiment with new behaviour， test and learn. This involves developing and playing with new competences.
Let go — accept the inevitable pain of loss and feeling naked. The rebuilding process can make you more resilient.
Become your new self — practice makes （nearly） perfect. Time to build sustained， conscious competence.
Enjoy a new sense of poise and balance. Conscious competence becomes unconscious competence.
Review your progress. Develop strategies to cope with the inevitable setbacks and failures in your experiments.