For the past couple of weeks, I have been involved in a project where I coach and counsel senior-level employees who are preparing for retirement and it has been a very engaging and eye-opening experience.
Is your perception of retirement laying on the beach, sailing all day, playing golf and just relaxation?
Now, I had a similar perception about retirement and assumed that every person facing retirement is overly excited, jumping for joy and elated at the thought of not working. Well, we are both wrong...retirement actually brings about a whole new change in mental and emotional well being for many people.
Retirement means change, more importantly a very dramatic life change and transition into new activities and a whole new sense of "normal". I remember when my mother went through period of discomfort and uncertainty as she faced retired after more than two decades as a registered nurse. Recently, I have really got to thinking about why this process is not always as "joyful" as we imagine it to be. A new retiree summed it up when he said, "I feel like I am losing my label" - talk about a loaded statement. Why are so concerned about losing our "career labels" and why does that concept hurt so much?
-- One of the first questions we are asked in any social or professional setting is about our work, career and profession - it's a popular icebreaker
-- If we are very passionate about our work, we tend to identify our life's purpose and contribution through that channel
-- A positive work environment is much more than work, it offers a place of social connections, lifelong friendships and personal growth opportunities
-- Facing retirement often means taking a close look at your list of dreams, goals and accomplishments to determine your successes to date, which can be either motivating or depressing
-- Retirement brings a significant, overnight change in our daily routines, habits and responsibilities, if you are a person who likes to stay busy, you can suddenly feel less needed or useless
So what's the solution? There is not a quick fix or 24-hour solution to facing depression in retirement...I have been advising my clients to take the transition one step and at time and embrace each stage of it. Like the death of a loved one, job retirement is often the "death" of a career and the end of decades of contributions. However, it does not have to mean the end of you.
Maybe it's time to re-visit your bucket list and take advantage of the time you have now to experience adventures and activities that were put on hold; enjoy your family more; seek out volunteer opportunities with an organization whose mission is close to your heart; take classes at a local community college; even take a part-time job if you need to keep working.
One thing you may be overlooking is that the end of one career opens the door to a new one - if you are still very interested in working for another five or ten years, why not maximize your transferable skills and core competencies into a second career.
Do you know anyone who is retiring soon or in retirement? What are some of the emotions he/she is exhibiting? What is your attitude towards retirement - are you looking forward to it or dreading it?
About the writer
-- Are you struggling to effectively market yourself to employers because you don't know your personal brand?
-- Does your executive resume lack compelling Challenge-Action-Results success stories that indicate your value proposition?
-- Are you getting interviews, but not getting favorale job offers?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to contact Abby Locke. She helps 6-figure executives and professional MBA women who have a hard time marketing themselves become sought after leaders, attract jobs that match their values and earn the salaries they deserve.