It used to be that when you turned 65 you retired. You were done. You got your gold watch, and you moved on.
Perhaps you played golf, sat back, enjoyed the grandkids, and spent more time visiting with friends and family.
But you were basically done. It was black and white. You were on, then you were off.
But today it is different. We are seeing people leave their primary careers in their 50s, 60s, 70s, sometimes even in their 40s, and moving into what I call quasi-retirement.
These quasi retirees are not quite done with being in the workforce. They are contributing selectively, and for many reasons. Some do it for extra income. Others realize they have the financial means to retire fully, but want to stay with it selectively. They extract what they consider the ‘fun’ parts, but in a more focused and discriminating way. I’ve been working with clients in this new phase of life. and helping them transition from full time careers to a more diversified lifestyle that includes work as just one component of a multi dimensional life:
- Marie – Marie coordinated disability services for large university. Her work was demanding and rewarding, and she served students with a full range of needs. She assisted blind students with special computer technology, helped students in wheelchairs with mobility issues, and helped deaf students, too. She was looking forward to retiring and not having to work 40-50 intense hours a week, and she couldn’t wait to no longer have an arduous and difficult daily commute. In reflecting on her 30 year career, she realized her favorite thing was working with deaf students. Marie had completed the specialized training in deaf interpreting, but in her administrative role she hired others to do it. On the occasions she was able to substitute for an interpreter, she loved it. She felt it was a special kind of dance communication, and it gave her a tremendous sense of aliveness, fulfillment and satisfaction. She learned it could be done on a contract basis, and researched ways to do it part-time. Marie was looking forward to doing interpreting about 10 hrs a week to stay in the game and provide some nice extra income, too.
- Susan – Susan was a partner in a corporate securities law firm and her work was intellectually rich and rewarding, but it was exhausting. She often worked 60 hours a week and spent about 50% of her time traveling to meet with clients throughout the country. She was looking forward to staying home and having the chance to pursue hobbies, rebuild friendships, working out on a regular basis, doing community work and yes, relaxing and enjoying life! In our conversations about her peak times at work, she realized that even though it was not the most lucrative part of her practice, she truly enjoyed being the editor of a law newsletter that focused on her area of specialty. It kept her involved with new cases, interesting colleagues, and it allowed her to use the editing skills she enjoyed. Her employer was more than happy to have her stay on board, and as the work was a predictable 5-10 hours a week, and it proved a great way for her to keep up with colleagues and have time for her ‘retirement’ activities.
- Steven – Steven was a clerk in a large supermarket and after 30 years he earned a retirement with a pension. (Sadly, those kind of jobs don’t result in pensions for new employees any longer, but that’s another topic). Steven was overjoyed to be relieved of the hard, physical labor and the demanding hours. But Steven knows he’s a very social guy and with his wife still working full time, he realizes he needs another outlet. Steven opted to work in the local humane society. He has been a lifelong dog lover, and though he is working as a volunteer,rand not adding to his income, he feels that the rewards he gets by working with the other volunteers and enjoying time with rescue dogs is reward enough.
Yes, we are in a new day. For the first time in history there is a cadre of people who have these three things: good enough health, good enough wealth and the time to do more, with vitality and purpose. So whether you are looking to retire, are retired or just interested in how you might set up life later on, think out of the box to intentionally and multi-dimensionally draw on what gives you satisfaction!
Onward to your success and happiness in all phases of the career cycle,