We are so much younger and healthier than generations gone by, that many people don’t feel ready to retire when they reach retirement age. People to whom work has given life its purpose can find they are nervous and worried about what their life will be like when they do retire. They look to the future and can’t see anything that will stimulate them or give them the same sense of purpose and drive they have always had.
This is the 9th in the “The Stages of Work” series where we are talking about how people’s lives seem to have distinct stages which give them opportunities to reflect and pivot to suit their lives.
Conversely, many people are really excited about retiring but reality doesn’t always live up to expectations. This article by SA Govt gives you some tips to adjust to retirement.
If you are one of those people who’s identity is tied up with their work and you know it is going to be really difficult to adjust to retirement then taking the time to think about what you will do when you retire should really be a part of your exit strategy. For best results it would be wise to start planning early and putting some steps into place before you retire.
Bridges Transition Model can help us understand the stages people go through when they are transitioning between what was and what is to come (there is no set timeframe for these feelings):
- Firstly you may feel confused, sad, angry and afraid
- Secondly you can feel resentment, have low morale & productivity, feel anxious and questioning of the need to change
- Finally you start to see a new beginning, you have high energy, want to learn more and feel focused and committed.
I have been through this experience once already. I had been working for over 15 years in a career I loved but I knew I had to make some changes due to family circumstances and also the organisation I worked for was starting a restructure. So I spent quite a bit of time thinking and researching what I was going to do next.
I knew I wanted to work but I wanted to control the hours I had to work. I also wanted something I would love doing but I didn’t know what.
The first thing I did was talk to a Career Coach and research some of her suggestions. Once I had made my decision I had to plan and start the process. I started my studies but kept my old job going.
It took quite a while for me to really feel comfortable with my decision and for a long time after I had resigned and started my business I would baulk at my answer to “what do you do”.
For many of us our identities are tied up with our work. It is difficult to visualise a life without working every day as that is what you have done for so many years. Work provides you with a place to go, a way of gaining skills and expertise, an outlet for your energy, and provides independence and feelings of usefulness.
You can still have all those things but in a different way. Although for many people retirement takes a lot of adjusting.
Most people have a good life after retirement, in fact so many people wonder why they didn’t do it earlier.
There are so many options that you can choose for your retirement:
- Retire and travel,
- Retire and work part-time,
- Retire and start a small business,
- Retire and do volunteer work
- Retire and garden, take up a hobby…
To help you with that transition, I have some questions and tips for you.
1. Do you have any ideas of what you would like to do? Take the time to explore your ideas even if they seem unrealistic.
2. Do you need to continue earning to live the way you are use to or want to?
3. Will you need to search out company or do you already have a good network of friends/family?
4. Will you need to change where you live?
- Learn something new every day or week
- Think about how can your current expertise and skills contribute to your community. Can you do a coaching course and then volunteer or mentor
- Keep fit
- Develop a hobby
Remember there are so many other rewarding ways you can contribute to society and keep yourself motivated and stimulated.
This is the last article in this series. I hope you have enjoyed reading about the Stages of Work.
Remember if you are feeling stuck about what you want to do, if you are at a turning point in your working life and need some guidance on how to find your way to more satisfying work or to an interesting retirement then book a free 30 minute “Right for You” call so we can help you.