Reinvent vs. Retread: Why the Odd Metaphor Wins

Reinvention is the biggest misconception about late in life career shifts.

As I point out in this¬†article for AARP’s “Life ReImagined” website,¬†you just don’t have time to abandon everything and everyone you know.

Retread instead. Gain traction by changing your grip.

But wait! Doesn’t ‘retread’ have bad connotations? Retread tires are likely to shred after a few miles. They’re not a good deal. Isn’t it ‘reinvent’ better?

‘Retread’ is better, in the context of shifting into an encore career, for two reasons.

  • A ‘retread’ only has to get you a few more miles, just one last version of your career really only needs to get you over the retirement line. Most late-in-life entrepreneurs don’t want or expect to build a Fortune 100 company. They want a steady income stream from satisfying work, with a sunset in view. Those factors, which are all wrapped up in the ‘retread’ connotation, make that term a better fit than the open-ended, sunny-with-ambition ‘reinvent.’
  • Secondly, ‘retread’ carries just enough surprise factor. It starts out like “reinvent,” but goes in a different direction. It’s a twist on a term that has become a cliche.

You don’t have to reinvent every metaphor. Sometimes, a retread works turns out to be a better fit all the way around.