August 14, 2003
The new retirement era - part two
Special to NWjobs
"Retirement's not all it's cracked up to be," said former school secretary Jo Madison. "You get bored and need something to look forward to. Mindless days and going to bingo isn't my idea of living at 55. I want to do things that matter."
"Golf was all I ever dreamed about," said 50-year-old Mike. "I knew all I'd do was golf once I quit the rat race. So when the pressure cooker got so overwhelming at my store manager job, I took the early retirement plan. And I golfed and golfed, but eventually needed more. So now I'm a high school baseball coach getting paid peanuts; just loving every single second of it."
A recent Worth Magazine survey revealed that 41% of new retirees found retirement very difficult. People need a sense of purpose to have meaning in their lives.
There's a whole new group of seniors finding happiness through work. "I've practiced law for 60 years," says 82-year-old Nick Midey, head of a prestigious legal firm. "My doctor tells me if an active guy likes me stops working, they often die within six months, so I never plan to retire. I love my work. I enjoy meeting and helping people - I never want to give this up." While most lawyers complain about how stressful the job is, Midey says that stress and exacerbations are part of the package. He noted that four years ago he had heart surgery and was confined to his home for a few months to recover. "I nearly went crazy. I read everything in sight and easily tired of TV. I couldn't wait to go back to work." He said it was during this recovery period that he decided he'd never retire.
A growing trend among seniors reveals that many may leave their old company or career behind, then begin a new career and remain a vital part of the workforce. Recent studies report that active seniors who continue to learn and utilize their mental capabilities do not see a dramatic decrease in abilities. Today's seniors (defined by AARP as over 50) seem to be finding challenging work that they are passionate about. Many seek a job that makes them feel as if they are making a significant difference. They want to add value to society and help others. It's been proven that work activity often keeps a person more youthful and vital. Many seniors cite "work" as their reason to go on living when faced with life tragedies such as the death of a spouse or a child.
Society no longer views retirement as a mandatory state. But, many individuals who remain in the workforce may choose to slow down their schedules or lower stress levels in order to incorporate other pleasures into their lifestyle.
The truth is many of us will not just want to stay home. You might choose to leave a career and profession behind, and look for something to do just for fun. A hobby can turn into a business. An interest in painting or music might find you employed in a museum or becoming the church choir director. The new career may come with a salary, or it may not.
Many working 60 and 70-year-olds say the secret to a happy life is knowing they have something important to do.
Interested in this topic? Read last week's column: Read "The New Retirement Era: Part 1".
Robin Ryan has appeared on Oprah, NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, CNN, CNBC and is considered America's top career coach. She is the best-selling author of: 60 Seconds & You're Hired!; Winning Resumes; Winning Cover Letters, and What to Do with the Rest of Your Life. She's the creator of the highly acclaimed audio training program Interview Advantage and The DreamMaker. Robin's passion is helping people find better jobs which she successfully does through her career counseling practice where she offers individual career coaching and resume writing services. A popular national speaker, Robin has spoken to over a thousand audiences on improving their lives and obtaining greater success. To purchase products or contact Robin visit her Web site at www.robinryan.com.
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