You’ve never been in a better position to contribute to the world. Look at everything you have learned over four to five decades of hard work! Have you started writing that book yet? Maybe that’s a little ambitious, but the collecting and recording of your accomplishments can provide so much intrinsic reward, you’ll be surprised at how much you’ve done!
By cataloguing your experience; new discoveries, big wins, obstacles overcome, and the list of people/organizations you have helped, you can recapture those moments and add them to your LinkedIn profile. Key word searches for specific skills, or exposure to certain companies and industries, can increase your search ranking and launch conversations with people who really need your help now. Your resume is a living document. Keep it updated and available for review at all times.
The value of a well-documented career should never be underestimated. Give your time wisely, but don’t give it away. Your value as a material expert should be compensated fairly. If you are working with a small company holding very short purse strings, negotiate for free office space, use of their equipment, free parking, payment of an annual professional association dues, or even a gym membership! If it’s a startup and you’re being asked to contribute regularly, go get yourself some equity. It won’t cost you anything, but could pay off down the road -- hopefully, just in time for retirement!!