Veteran journalist Brian Williams said he is leaving his job at MSNBC at the end of this year after almost three decades with NBC — but that’s not a retirement announcement.
Williams, 62, said he will spend a few months with family after his contract expires in December. “This is the end of a chapter and the beginning of another,” he wrote in a memo to colleagues, according to the Associated Press. “There are many things I want to do, and I’ll pop up again somewhere.”
For some Americans, Williams’ career strategy may sound familiar — or even desired. Not all workers in their 60s want to retire for good, but they may take some time in their 60s, or even 70s, to pause and reflect on their next steps. Then, they re-enter the workforce.
Seasoned workers are reimagining their careers. There are plenty of people 50 and older who are retiring, especially in response to the changes brought forth by COVID-19. But others are switching jobs, trying new fields or starting their own businesses. The key is to keep skills sharp.
This has also been a time for reinvention, a trend that has been growing steam for the last couple of decades. Researchers at the Center for Retirement Research followed workers between 51 and 61 years old from 1992 to 2012, until they turned 65, and found those who voluntarily changed jobs saw a higher likelihood of staying in the workforce until 65. Entrepreneurship has also become more popular — a study out of the Kauffman Foundation found more people were creating startups in 2020, a majority of which were among those 45 and older.
Some people choose to keep working because they find passion in it, or they want to stave off loneliness. Of course, there are many others who do it because they need to pay the bills. Americans are living longer, but not always healthier, which means there will be bills to pay. Even workers who don’t think they’ll keep a job in their 60s may have some reflecting to do — millions of retirees are on the verge of poverty, and others are battling rising healthcare and housing costs while living on a fixed income.
Regardless of the reason, retirement isn’t for everyone, as made evident by some well-known celebrities. ABBA came back together to release a new album 40 years after they left the studio.
Williams was the top anchor for NBC News between 2004 and 2015, at which point he was suspended for false claims related to his reporting. He began hosting MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour,” covering daily news events, in 2016.