When you are bored by retirement, but worried that landing a job would be difficult.

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Q: Several years ago, I took early retirement to look after my elderly parents. Now that I no longer have caregiving responsibilities, I’ve begun to think about returning to work. Because I like to stay busy, being a full-time retiree is extremely boring.

I’ve considered volunteering, but those assignments can be tedious. A part-time position would be fine, since I would enjoy having time to pursue other interests. However, I’m afraid no employer will hire someone who has been out of the workforce for so long. Do you have any suggestions?

A: People work to fulfill many needs — financial security, accomplishment, social interaction, mental stimulation, sense of purpose or just having some place to go. So before jumping into a job search, take the time to carefully consider what’s most important to you.

Having clarified your primary motives, you can then establish some specific criteria for your desired job, such as interesting problems to solve or frequent communication with colleagues. As a final step, you might also add preferred working conditions, like a particular schedule or a short commute.

With a clear set of parameters, appropriate positions should be easier to identify. Online searching provides a simple way to explore possibilities, but active networking will increase your odds of getting hired. A positive personal impression can make your lengthy job gap seem less relevant.

Finally, if money isn’t a consideration, don’t rule out volunteer work. If you can find a cause that inspires you, that might be a very rewarding choice.