Working into retirement

Your Working into Retirement Questions Answered

Research shows that 61% of retired Baby Boomers (people born between 1946 & 1964) choose to work because they desire to work and not for financial reasons. Boomers find work mentally stimulating, gives one a sense of purpose and helps to stay physically active. Some retirees are looking to start a second career and turn a hobby into a job that they truly love. Others have found that they have not saved enough to maintain the lifestyle that they desire and want to supplement their social security and pensions.

Whatever your reasons for wanting to work during your retirement years, you have lots of questions! We asked Down East magazine’s Retire to Maine readers to submit questions about work-related topics. We have Barbara Babkirk, Master Career Counselor and principal at Heart at Work Associates in Portland to answer those questions.

Q: I am trying to find employment as I transition from elementary school teaching to instructional design, a career I practiced before teaching. I am disheartened to see how few opportunities exist in Maine – no matter the location — for anything related to technical writing, training, instructional design. What suggestions do you have for a strategy to market my skills not only as an educational designer, presenter, and writer, but for project management? Thank you in advance.

A: Most jobs are not advertised on job boards, so don’t be discouraged!

You mentioned several skills that are quite marketable, but you need to know who is hiring for those skills (e.g. technical writing in what field…IT, medical?).

Project management is utilized in all marketplace sectors these days and being competitive by having your PMP certificate would differentiate you from others seeking a PM position.

Meeting with a career counselor to hone your skills, resume and LinkedIn profile might be the next step to help you transition from a teaching career.

Q: If we can move into the Portland area. I’d love to work for L.L. Bean, once I’m done with Fire Rescue here in Florida.

A: L.L. Bean has received the “Silver Collar Award” for its consistent hiring of older workers. They typically need seasonal as well as permanent employees on an ongoing basis. Here’s the link to its jobs/careers page. In the meantime, be safe in your very important work!

Q: I plan to move to Maine next spring. Inquiring how the in homecare giving business is? I’m a CNA who is looking for private duty work in the Lincoln Lakes area.

A: The Maine Department of Labor projects an 8-9% increase in need for direct health care workers between now and 2026. Healthcare is one of the key employment areas in need of talent at most levels.

It would be good to do a Google search for home health care agencies in Lincoln County and begin a conversation with each organization. I imagine they will be delighted to speak with you!

Q: I’m a very active young senior and work full time as a CNA (nurse aide) senior caregiver (for ten years). My CNA license isn’t recognized in Maine. Though I have great letters of recommendation from families of seniors I’ve cared for, I was a professional stone sculptor 25+ years so am strong, I’m open to other kinds of work, maybe in some artsy job since I was also an art teacher and am very creative. I’m writing to ask for any feedback or suggestions or helpful comments as I try to decide what to do.

A: It sounds as though you’re contemplating a change in employment, and perhaps one that incorporates your background in art. The second half of life is often a time when people “circle back” to experiences and talents they once used and incorporate them in a different way into their lives. I’d suggest that you read a book by author Gregg Levoy, Callings. It might give you a way of piecing thoughts and experiences together.

Q: Does anyone know, if you work outside of Maine, but live in Maine, can your paycheck be taxed by Maine?

A: I’d suggest you consult with a CPA to get accurate information on this technical question since the answers can vary from state to state.

Q: Has any teacher moved from Massachusetts to Maine before they reached their 30 years? How did this affect your pension? I’m turning 60 this year and would love to be in Maine but only have 20 years in teaching. I can’t see waiting 10 years, but I don’t want to lose my full benefits. I so wish pensions rolled over from one state to another. Any advice?

A: State pensions are complicated! I recommend that you contact the Department of Education in Massachusetts and have them explain your benefits and implications if you move to Maine.

Q: Looking to retire to Maine in a few years. What is the best location near a hospital for part-time employment as a nurse?

A: Maine needs nurses! I think it’s up to you to select the town or city where you want to live, then contact the human resources departments at the local hospitals and inquire about opportunities for nurses, including the qualifications they require.

Q: Any RN’S out there? I have a good friend considering a move to Maine in the next few years. She is a nursing home RN supervisor and her pay is terrible for her experience and work that she does. She loves working with seniors so prefers nursing home to floor nursing. What is the pay and job market in Maine for RN’s? Any part of the state better than another? Names of any good nursing homes (good to patients and staff)?

A: There are several reliable websites where your friend can find salary information for RNs in Maine: Linkedin,, and Indeed. I find it useful to check all three and then average them! provides reviews on specific employers (e.g. nursing homes).

Q: For those of us who will be working in retirement, how have you found employment that matches your skills and experience, while being able to live where you want; that is, not in the Portland metro area?

I have used job clearinghouses like Glassdoor and Indeed, local Chambers of Commerce, local newspapers, among others.

Any thoughts or ideas on how you make your Maine retirement work for you while still working would be greatly appreciated.

A: A recent study found that 3-5 retirees return to the workforce within 6-18 months. They have coined the term “the working retiree”.

It’s key to be able to identify and give examples of the skills and abilities you most want to use and research where these match in Maine’s marketplace. Start with a location you prefer and get to know the employers. You might want to subscribe to Mainebiz, a bi-monthly newspaper that gives updates on employers across the state.

Job boards are not the most useful source of job information. Personal contacts are! That’s why getting to know the area where you want to settle is essential to your job search. Unemployment is almost at 0% in Maine and talent is needed particularly beyond the most populated areas like Portland.

Q: Just wondering about substitute teaching. Is a Maine teacher certificate required? If so, what states have teacher certification reciprocity with Maine?

A: Maine does not require certification for substitute teachers. Each district or town sets its own requirements as far as education and experience.

Q: I’m retired at 62, but still want to contribute to my adopted home state of Maine. How do I find a non-profit that might be hiring?

A: Non-profits in Maine need talent since so many original founders and leaders are older boomers leaving the workforce. The Maine Association of Non-Profits (MANP) is a membership organization for all the non-profits in Maine. Their website has an active and up to date job board. You can also check out the non-profit organizations in your area by using the filters on the site (click “about us” then click “browse MANP’s member directory).

Q: Where might I find a listing of part time professional jobs, or projects now that I’m retired from a primary career?

A: There is an innovative Maine-focused initiative called The Boomer Institute that matches experienced & professional boomers with area employers. You might want to complete the profile and upload a resume (at no charge) and if there is a match, you’ll be contacted by the prospective employer.

Q: I’m in my mid-60’s, a retired attorney and have just moved to Maine. I’d like to use my skills and experience in either part-time or full-time work, but I’m concerned about age discrimination. Could you comment on this?

A: Sadly, age discrimination exists everywhere. However, we have a talent shortage in Maine and that is to your advantage. The key is to know how to present yourself and your skills in a way that does not make your age evident (e.g. include only the last 15 years of employment, delete the year your graduated from college). Make sure your resume is in a current format and that your LinkedIn profile is complete (97% of hiring managers go to LinkedIn first). Be sure to tap your networks and don’t rely on job boards for your information about openings. You might also find more good tips in a blog I posted on this topic. Good luck!

Barbara Babkirk is a Master Career Counselor and principal at Heart At Work Associates, an innovative career counseling and outplacement firm in Portland. A native to Maine who chose to return after living in Boston and abroad, Barbara lives and works in Portland. She is committed to strengthening Maine’s workforce by guiding individuals to positions that align with their skills and life stage priorities. She has a particular expertise working with the baby boomer population, that comprises 30% of Maine’s population. To assist with Maine’s talent shortage and experienced older adults who want to continue working, she created The Boomer Institute, an innovative site that matches experienced boomers with area employers. You may reach her at: [email protected].

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