Transition Into Retirement
Retirement can come as a shock. One day you’re doing what you’ve been doing for most of your working
life – getting up on a weekday morning, commuting to the office/jobsite, and spending most of the day doing what you
have to do to earn a living.
Then one day you wake up and realize that everything has changed. The routine that
you’ve gotten used to over the past 40-50 years is gone. You sink into your favorite chair, and while sipping
on your morning cup of coffee you start to contemplate your new situation. What do I do today, and for that matter the
other days that I now own and are mine to design to my liking?
Certain careers greatly facilitate the transition into retirement. If you’re in the professional services industry
(attorney, accountant, doctor, barber, etc) or a small business owner, you can gradually cut back on your work hours.
This gives you more time-off for vacation, travel, and family while still maintaining proficiency in your profession and retaining
an income stream. For the rest of us, the transition is more difficult.
Pursuing a Second Career
For a wide variety of reasons, many people who leave their “regular” job are not quite ready for “full
- Enjoy the challenge of work;
- Feel the need to share their experience and
- Feel obliged to “give back” to society;
- Perceive an unfilled need in their community
(e.g. volunteer work, community service, or politics) that they believe they can address;
- Like feeling important,
being a part of a major cause or involved in something significant; or
- Need or desire extra income to meet their retirement
expense or achieve a certain lifestyle.
An optimal approach to starting a new career is to gradually begin while still working in your regular job. By this
I mean that you should start using your free time to explore other things that you’d like to do to broaden your experiences,
challenge your abilities and provide enjoyment. Perhaps you can take on volunteer, consulting, or other part-time work
while still on the job.
Whether you have the time and ambition to begin pursuing new opportunities pre-retirement, or
whether you have to wait until that moment in the chair drinking your morning coffee, you need to decide soon whether a new
career is on your horizon. If this is what you want to do, the sooner you begin the better. Right after you leave
your job, you have the best network of contacts and are used to a regular work routine. Plus your skill set may be at
Volunteer vs Salaried Work
There are many alternative ways to pursue working in retirement, the easiest of which is volunteer activities. Whatever
your skills are, there are always more volunteer opportunities than available human resources to address them. Opportunities
exist for those who prefer consulting, teaching, analyzing, managing, or performing physical labor. Check with your
church, community or various organizations to find out what’s available within your particular area of expertise.
Finding salaried work could pose a greater challenge. You’re now considered by many as “too old”
and having “outdated” skills. This is particularly a problem at this time because many younger employees,
some just freshly out of college with current technical skills, are unemployed and competing for open positions.
due to an aging population and the major contributions being made by seniors, I believe that we are finally starting to appreciate
the benefits of life experience. This, coupled with the fact that your extensive experience may be available for a greatly
discounted (post retirement) price, may make you a more attractive candidate.