Growing old is compulsory. Retirement from work is discretionary.
~Anonymous wise person
You punched in the numbers on your retirement calculator and discovered you’ll have to work until you’re 75 or risk living out of a shopping cart on the street.
Horrified, you picture yourself hunched over, toiling away all day before wearily trudging back to your home for a small dinner before falling into bed. Only to get up and do it all again the next day. “And then I die,” you think.
But what if something that feels like a jail sentence could actually be one of the most satisfying experiences of your life?
Working Longer Could Be Extraordinarily Satisfying
Even just 20 years ago the distinction between work and retirement was sharp; the idea that you could work at something you were passionate about, for as long as you chose, was certainly not mainstream. But today you can find a plethora of opportunities to keep going at a job you love, or turn your expertise into a different version of your current career or even discover a new profession based on a passion you identified in your 50’s or 60’s.
Indeed, 70% of pre-retirees say they intend to work during their retirement years – but on their terms, which include a flexible schedule, remote working, and being able to flex between work and time off.
Many of us are going to live much longer lives – into our 80’s and beyond. Not only that but overall we’re likely to be healthy and energetic, with a lot of expertise to share with others who could benefit from our wisdom.
Given all these opportunities, perhaps the question should be “Why wouldn’t I choose to retire later?”.
But What If I Don’t Like My Current Job?
No one is asking you to slog away into your golden years at a job you dislike!
Instead, here’s how I helped one of my clients, Brad, identify a new career after he became miserable and depressed in what he had thought would be his dream job.
Brad, a highly intelligent man, loved computer science. He thought his dream job was to be a researcher. But spending all day at a computer, with little social interaction, sent him into a depression.
Together, we did several exercises to dig deep and discover what was going on with him. One of the exercises we did was a personality evaluation, where Brad put a check mark beside traits that describe him, such as
- You prefer to interact with people
- You “process” problems by talking about them with others
- You find interruptions to be a blessing
- You prefer working with a group to working alone
- You prefer to read and think, rather than talk about how to solve a problem
- You are annoyed by interruptions
- You prefer working on tasks alone to working with groups
What we discovered is that Brad is highly extroverted and needed the social stimulation of working around people. Spending his days with mostly just a computer for the company was a complete misalignment with his personality.
It wasn’t lack of ability that caused Brad to become depressed in his job; the job was simply the wrong fit for who he is. Once we discovered he was genuinely happier working with people, we were able to identify that a career as a computer consultant would be an ideal match for him and allow him to use the expertise he’d developed
Brad made the transition to consultant, and blossomed in his new career. As a bonus, consulting work is something that would be straightforward to scale and adapt as he grows older, should he want to continue with a job he loves into his 70’s.
Discover A Career That Nurtures You In Your Later Years
Computer consulting may not be your thing, but I encourage you to take time to explore the many options available to you to make working into your 70’s joyful instead of something to dread.
And you don’t have to do this alone! Sometimes just taking the first step is frightening, but you can find excellent resources online, find a friend or family member who’s willing to support you, and brainstorm different ideas for how you can create a career in your golden years that nurtures you.
Imagine waking up full of eagerness and anticipation at what your work will bring; loving what you do so much that the idea of retirement seems laughable.
And when you do finally make the decision to stop working, it will be because you truly feel it’s time to move on. You’ll be full of gratitude for the many years of passionate work you’ve had. Your perfect career is waiting for you.
Michelle Raz of Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD, PTSD, Stress, TBI’s and ASD find careers they will love and land them. Read more at:
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