It’s late, but it’s not too late.

We tend to think of birds as raising their young in the spring. A pair of robins might build a new nest in our area in April. A pair of red-tail hawks may build a new nest or refurbish to an existing nest in the spring as well. Because we see this nesting activity in the early spring, it’s reasonable to think that spring is when a new generation is raised.

Some migrating birds that nest in New Jersey, such as barn swallows, will raise more than one brood in a single breeding season. However, their offspring need to reach maturity and build sufficient body mass in time to start the trip to their wintering grounds. It’s not a good idea for pairs of migrating birds to start new broods too late in the season.

Birds that stay in the area throughout the year, such as robins and mockingbirds, can afford to start new broods late in the season. Although it’s already September, at least one local pair of mockingbirds only recently sent their latest brood out into the wide world. Below is a photo of one of the juveniles. I’ve also just seen an immature robin perched on a fence, perhaps waiting for one of its parents to bring it a beetle or worm.

A juvenile mockingbird perched on a power line.

These late-season broods remind me of a term that’s entered my vocabulary recently: Encore Career. I will update this post if I can find out where the term originated. I encountered it in the course of pursuing options for future employment.

The Baby Boom generation, of which I am a member, has given rise to the notion of the Encore Career. I’ve encountered numerous organizations, each with it’s own Web site, Facebook page, Twitter presence, blog, and so on, dedicated to Baby Boomers looking to start new careers. The conceit is fairly simple: with U.S. life expectancies in the mid-seventies, and more people remaining healthy and productive into their eighties, the notion of retiring and settling down to collect a pension or a Social Security check does not appeal to many of us.

Then there are those of us who are between careers because of layoffs or other involuntary disruptions. The pension or 401K is not quite sufficient to meet our retirement needs, and Social Security is still a few years away.

So here I am writing this blog, posting to Facebook, following lots of NGOs of various descriptions on Twitter, and attending Webinars on using social media as an outreach or marketing tool. I’m also planning to take a fairly intense copy editing course at considerable expense. Looking for my Encore Career.

Summer is over. The career that I had with Pearson is over. It’s highly unlikely that I would be hired again for a similar job in a commercial publisher. And to a large extent that’s OK.

The quote attributed to George Eliot, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”, has a certain romantic appeal and there are many times when I think I can do lots of things. Then I spend two and a half hours working at Shultheis Farm and the next day I can barely walk. Let’s be reasonable and realistic. Even being reasonable and realistic, though, I am convinced that it’s not too late to be a person who contributes in a measurable and meaningful way to the local and global community and make a living doing it. I’m looking forward to my Encore Career, whatever God has planned for it.