Why is it taking so long to shift into retirement?
A lot of people ask this — and it’s usually because they tried to make the shift alone! People tell themselves that asking for help is a weakness, that it’s a waste of money. How could not working be hard? The ads sure make it look fun!
If only it were that easy.
The road to a successful retirement is paved with the hard work of accepting that your work identity is over and that you must create a new identity that you feel confident, comfortable, and excited about.
There are many factors that will influence this new identity. What do you really want to do? What’s your financial situation like? Your family situation? Your circle of friends?
There’s a lot to consider, and this new persona isn’t going to appear overnight. In fact it may take many months, if not a few years, to truly manifest itself. But you have to accept that change has to happen if you don’t get caught up in a Murray-esque Groundhog Day.
This is the time of your life that you really have the chance to make it all about Legacy!
So what is your legacy?
As a retirement coach, this is the first question I ask new clients — and few can answer it.
Being able to define your legacy is really the first step in defining what your new identity will be. You have the freedom now, so take advantage of it; take the time to identify and shape it. When you do that, you will find your new life’s-purpose-to-be.
It may drive you to seek out a board position on that special not-for-profit that aligns with your legacy goals and can use the wisdom of your business years or your financial support.
Other legacies come from an individual having the vision, wisdom, financial acumen, and time to develop it. This can also be rewarding and defining. It takes more time and work, but for some, this is a more rewarding path. Don’t discount this path because of its immensity. Embrace it if it is the vehicle that really brings you your manifest legacy.
Whatever you choose, what’s most important is that your new path provide you with that special identity that defines your purpose. Once that is realized, your Legacy appears, blossoms, and takes its place aside you.
How can I get back into the workforce?
I’m not worthy, they won’t hire me, I’m too old: this is a mentality that will defeat you before you even begin your search. Assumptions are the main ingredient to defeating yourself when it comes to a senior job search, but for some, a new job is an important part of a new retirement identity.
First off, you need to decide a number of things. What kind of job am I seeking? Do I want to work full or part time? What kind of income is acceptable? Do I want to work days, evenings, or overnight? These may seem like rudimentary questions, but remember, you are starting all over again so you need to build your new job profile.
When some go through this process, they immediately want to plug back into their old career — but if you are already retired, that ship has probably sailed. The time to connect with that strategy was when you were putting your exit plan together. A seamless shift into a consulting role at your last workplace has a higher level of success then attempting to do it two or three years later.
The key thing is to be honest with yourself about what you want to do. Seek out the islands of opportunity in that vast ocean of vocations, and be open to thinking of the world of work in a whole different way.
Think about this: Over the past few years, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 26% of the available workforce left their job for another. That means that 39 million jobs were open for a period of time. You don’t think there may be one for you? That same agency also pointed out that 6 million jobs went unfilled last year. So don’t be afraid to go back to school and acquire some new skills that will lead to a whole new career thought process! Just remember that you are not old, just adjusting to a different state of your life. You had value before you retired. Now re-engage and find your new personal value proposition again.
Finally, once you have found it and are ready to re-engage, put together your elevator speech to sell yourself to the people you want to work for. Market yourself. Isn’t that what you have always done? Don’t take no for an answer. Yes is just around the next corner. This life is all about adjustments. If you don’t walk that last mile you will never reach YES!
But, like I said at the start of this, you don’t need to walk this path alone — and it’ll be a lot harder if you do. You can learn more about how a retirement coach can help at legacytransitions.org/our-services.