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Author Topic: Peace Corps: Career Starter or Career Ender  (Read 8823 times)

Offline the boss

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Peace Corps: Career Starter or Career Ender
« on: November 25, 2013, 10:18:02 PM »
I was 60 years old when I left my career to join the Peace Corps.  I knew it would be difficult re-entering the job market after two years abroad, but it was a sacrifice I was willing to make.  Plus we had saved for retirement, so worst case, we would be ok financially. 

Now, six months after my COS date, it has all become very real for me.  Re-entering the job market is tough, especially at 62.  I have not been able to get the kind of job I had when I left, and when I tried to get lesser ones I was deemed overqualified.  Finally, I was able to overcome that and have been offered a job that paid 1/2 of what I made prior to the Peace Corps.  Don't get me wrong, I am grateful to get it and just consider the lower salary part of the sacrifice "senior" PC Volunteers sometimes endure for putting their life and career on hold. 

That is where the subject of this topic came from.  For folks right out of college Peace Corps service is in many ways a career starter, but for senior citizens it can be a career ender.

Thoughts anyone?

Offline Marion

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Re: Peace Corps: Career Starter or Career Ender
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2013, 10:34:07 PM »
Perhaps it can be a career starter for older volunteers as well, but in a different field.  But I agree the starting salary in a new career would probably be much lower than at the end of a long career.   

Marion
RPCV, Botswana (2011-2013)

Jane

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Re: Peace Corps: Career Starter or Career Ender
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2013, 11:19:15 PM »
I think most people think of older people having it easier in that their lives are all set.  This is enlightening.  I will appreciate more what older volunteers give up to serve now. 

Offline jlmanzak

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Re: Peace Corps: Career Starter or Career Ender
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2013, 05:48:32 AM »
For me, Peace Corps will hopefully be a career changer. At 35, I'm in the mid career range. I'm actually trying to change fields, and hoping my Peace Corps time will give me some experience so that I can start a new career without the "starting salary" woes. To Jane's comment about it being easier for older volunteers because their lives are set: in some ways, that actually makes it harder. Older volunteers have houses they own that they must decide what to do with while they're gone: rent it out and risk damage to their largest investment, or sell it and then have to find a new home when they return. They have a career already and are taking a big risk to take 2 years out of it, as the boss said. And there are unique family problems for older volunteers. Are they their parents caretaker? What if something happens to their parents while they are out of the country? I think it would be harder to miss the birth of a grandchild than to miss the birthday of an older relative. I'm sort of in the middle of the range, so I have some of the benefits and some of the disadvantages of both groups!

Cathy Mc

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Re: Peace Corps: Career Starter or Career Ender
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2013, 06:09:21 AM »
I am not looking for the PC experience to start a career, but it does sound a little harsh to call it a career ender.  At 65, departing for Namibia in  just over 100 days, I look at it as a rich "Third Chapter" experience.  The US economy is still fluctuating, full of young bright people coming up, with the continuing rapid changing technology requiring constant learning.  I think anyone who takes a break of over two years might find difficulty in just stepping back in to the job race.
If my financial situation requires that I seek work again after my service, I hope and suspect that this service would be a plus, but the advantages will most likely be personal. For example, I suspect that what I see as a "need"  or requirement for a good life may change.

Offline mwhittington

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Re: Peace Corps: Career Starter or Career Ender
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2013, 07:42:20 AM »
Peace Corps service in my mid-fifties ended up being a career changer for me.  Being a volunteer gave me the needed experience to transition my 30+ year career working for technology companies to working for Peace Corps.  I would recommend late-career volunteers check out employment opportunities at Peace Corps at the end of your service.  Peace Corps is a great employer!

Offline Magicdoor

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Re: Peace Corps: Career Starter or Career Ender
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2013, 09:58:08 AM »
Hi, I'm 50 and embarking on my journey in March. I'm looking for a change in career, lifestyle and way of living. I'm open to what ever experiences happen and where ever I may end up after. I don't expect to have a career similar to what I have now. I'm looking for an experience that will change my life, thinking and what I do for  a living. Trying not to worry about what will happen after my service is sometimes tough, but coming back to the idea of moving in a different direction is what keeps me from worrying. Does anyone have some stories about how what they are doing after their service is much different then what they did before and how that has changed their life?

Botswanadoc

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Re: Peace Corps: Career Starter or Career Ender
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2013, 11:34:45 AM »
Actually, I am hoping for both.  I did Peace Crops Botswana in 1976-78 between undergrad and medical school.  Now I am looking forward to retiring in about 3 years at age 62 1/2 and rejoining Peace Corps in some manner that will take advantage of my career in medicine, and then full on retire.

Offline wreloise

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Re: Peace Corps: Career Starter or Career Ender
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2013, 01:50:31 PM »
Check out Open Group Peace Corps 50+ Facebook!!! Fantastic supportive group for Peace Corps applicants, PCV, and RPCV.  Yeah!!!!!
Eloise-Born to Serve

LittleJo

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Re: Peace Corps: Career Starter or Career Ender
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2014, 04:12:13 PM »
Thank you for the tip Eloise! I didn't know that group existed. 

Offline PeaceCorps1

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Re: Peace Corps: Career Starter or Career Ender
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2014, 02:51:55 AM »
I am not looking for the PC experience to start a career, but it does sound a little harsh to call it a career ender.  At 65, departing for Namibia in  just over 100 days, I look at it as a rich "Third Chapter" experience.  The US economy is still fluctuating, full of young bright people coming up, with the continuing rapid changing technology requiring constant learning.  I think anyone who takes a break of over two years might find difficulty in just stepping back in to the job race.
If my financial situation requires that I seek work again after my service, I hope and suspect that this service would be a plus, but the advantages will most likely be personal. For example, I suspect that what I see as a "need"  or requirement for a good life may change.

If the truth is that Peace Corps was a career ender for some seniors then how is that 'harsh'? IT WAS HIS TRUTH!
"If it were not for the reporters, I'd tell you the truth"', President Chester A. Arthur

Offline PeaceCorps1

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Re: Peace Corps: Career Starter or Career Ender
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2014, 02:54:39 AM »
Check out Open Group Peace Corps 50+ Facebook!!! Fantastic supportive group for Peace Corps applicants, PCV, and RPCV.  Yeah!!!!!

I find that 50+ Facebook group to skirt truth (if one's truth was/is harsh in regards to any Peace Corps policy or experience). I loved my service, but there were areas of concern that could be addressed. It does little good to pretend it was all positive.
"If it were not for the reporters, I'd tell you the truth"', President Chester A. Arthur

LittleJo

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Re: Peace Corps: Career Starter or Career Ender
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2015, 04:44:14 PM »
Huh. I guess you're right in that we all sugar-coat things. But you know....it can be difficult to bring up the negative with people you don't know.

Offline ncdesertprincess

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Re: Peace Corps: Career Starter or Career Ender
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2015, 07:16:04 PM »
 I truly believe that perception is 99% reality. For example: I will be entering the PC tat 55 years young.  I don't look at as a negative impact to my career path. Instead, I look at it as a new career path.

Offline PeaceCorps1

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Re: Peace Corps: Career Starter or Career Ender
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2016, 07:57:35 AM »
I truly believe that perception is 99% reality. For example: I will be entering the PC tat 55 years young.  I don't look at as a negative impact to my career path. Instead, I look at it as a new career path.

Hopefully the way you see it and the way it turns out will align.
"If it were not for the reporters, I'd tell you the truth"', President Chester A. Arthur