(Post by ANN HARRISON)
Why are you considering retirement at this particular time? Is it because you’ve met all your professional goals and feel that the time is right for you to retire? Or is it just because you’ve reached the traditional age for retirement, everyone assumes you’ll retire and, because of that, you feel obliged to go?
Maybe your partner is already retired and is pressuring you to join them. Maybe another family member has their eye on you as their next babysitter, dogsitter or full-time carer. Or maybe you have a feeling that the ‘powers that be’ already have your successor lined up and are just waiting for you to go before they can slip that dynamic ‘new broom’ into place.
The run-up to retirement can be a lonely time for some and, if you’re one of them, the isolation you feel is often exacerbated by the fact that the thoughts and feelings you’re having are often ones which you feel unable or unwilling to talk about with the people you work (and, sometimes, live) with.
Let’s explore this in a little more depth… Firstly, you’re contemplating leaving an organization which has not only been your work, but an enormous part of your life for so long.
When you’ve dedicated your life to an organization, business or profession, it can be difficult to separate your identity from your work persona. This can fill many people with a distinct lack of motivation to prepare for retirement, since they’re unable to envisage what life in retirement could be like. Or, if they ARE able to envisage life in retirement, they don’t particularly like the vision they’ve created.
It’s also possible that your work may not have left much time for developing the social, recreational and community/voluntary activities that will add satisfaction, fulfilment, mental stimulation and a sense of purpose and engagement to the next stage of your life, and prevent you from becoming bored, dissatisfied or even depressed in retirement.
And if you’ve been in the habit of using work as an escape route from family and relationship problems and conflict, you’re probably all too aware that your bolt-hole is about to disappear and that retirement is going to provide you with an awful lot of opportunities to get under each other’s feet…
What will be the consequences if you don’t do anything to address this situation? What action could you take? What action do you need to take?
Here are some alternatives you might consider:
Would you prefer a phased retirement – not so much a ‘one-off event’ but more of a process, whereby you gradually phase out work and phase in other activities to replace it?
If you really DON’T want to retire, how much longer do you think you would you like to continue to work? When do you think would be the perfect time for you to retire?
If you prefer to ‘play it by ear’ (because you believe that you’ll know in your heart when it’s time to go), could your current work situation provide you with that flexibility?
Do you want complete retirement or just partial retirement? Are you considering taking on part-time or temporary work, or even starting a small business? What would that look like? What would be the component parts of your ideal post-retirement job?
Have you explored any other options which might be available to you, such as becoming a consultant to your old firm, doing freelance work or contract work, training/mentoring other workers, etc.? What options do you have? Which options particularly appeal to you?
Retirement doesn’t have to be the end of your working life. It can be the start of a different way of working. It can be a chance to do something else. It can be an opportunity to work on your own terms. Take some time to review your options and make sure you get the retirement you deserve!
Ann Harrison, Manchester, United Kingdom
Ann is a Retirement Options™ trained retirement coach and Too Young To Retire™ facilitator. She is also a writer, blogger and creator of information products; she retired from her job in education management at the ripe old age of forty-three. She is the author of ebooks, “The Retirement Detox Programme: 40 days to get your retirement back on track” and ‘Thought Provokers: Questions you need to ask yourself BEFORE you retire”. For more information, check out her retirement Website or Blog or follow her on Twitter.