What to Do When the Retirement Honeymoon Is Over
As part of the baby boomer generation, you are expected to be different from past generations. It’s assumed you won’t follow the same path as those retirees before you.
For one thing, you may retire more than once! Can you imagine? Let’s say you work in your career and retire at 57.5 years old, the average retirement age in the United States.
You hang out for a few months, or maybe an entire year, and then . . . surprise! You’re bored, you have no real responsibilities (and you want some), you’ve played every golf course in town, and you simply need something new. You need a challenge. You want to feel like you're accomplishing something, like you’re valued, like you're making a difference. Yup. The honeymoon is over.
Do you have any idea of what kind of work you might want to do? This doesn’t have to be another career, simply a job. Maybe something you can sink your teeth into. Make it exciting!!
As you’ve gone through your life, have there been jobs you’ve thought might be fun and interesting? What types of hobbies do you have? Could any of those evolve into a job?
How many hours do you want to work? Do you need benefits? Do you need to go back to school?
You will certainly not be alone should you decide to work in your “retirement” years. According to the Gallup Organization, 85% of boomers plan to continue working after retirement. Even if this is part-time employment, it’s a staggering statistic.
Another interesting point is that relatively small numbers of these people are returning to work because they need the money. They are looking for something else, something that brings them what they were not able to find on the golf course or the local fishing hole, no matter how many fish they caught.
Your experience and maturity are significant strengths. Don’t ignore your assets! How can you put these to use? How can you promote what you have to offer? Big companies and small are in for a rude awakening when all of you leave your careers in droves! What can you work out with your current employer? Don’t be shy, give it a shot. What do you have to lose?
You might enjoy working part time, either short days five days a week, or only two or three full days. How about working full time for several months a year? You could work at home or enjoy the social aspects of an office or shop. The options are endless, if you really think about it. Put out your ideas to the powers that be! Don’t wait for them to come to you. Put yourself in charge of your retirement career!
This may require you to step down from the career ladder. So what? Are you really looking for prestige or power at this point in your life? If you are, fine, but for many, being productive, being social, and doing something interesting may be just perfect. Did you know you could work at least 20 hours at Starbucks and not only have fun but also get full health benefits? Explore! Keep an open mind. You never know how expansive and enlightening your bonus years can be.
So, start making a list of jobs that would be fun and interesting. Now, get on the phone or change your shirt and start your engines! Get yourself out there!
Published November 14, 2008
Kim Kirmmse Toth
Positive Aging Inc.