Retirement: The New Dirty Word

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I’m fortunate to live in southern Europe with a lovely climate and a great airport for business travel. There are also a lot of retirees living here.

In having a conversation with a colleague we talked about how the word “retire” makes us cringe.

We grew up in an era where a lot of parents worked and looked forward to retiring from those jobs. We would ask “why” wondering what they were going to do now.

The usual answers were that they were going to relax and enjoy life. What we often saw were fathers dead a few years after retiring.

We saw people who had great skills and nowhere to use them; no one to pass them on to.

Sure maybe they took some trips, played some golf, volunteered a bit…but something was always missing. They didn’t feel vital or relevant; they weren’t needed.

“Don’t count they days. Make the days count”.

Muhammad Ali

Human beings need to be needed.

I vowed never to be in that position so I started my own business and built in a shortened work week so I could do work I loved, and have time to do other things I enjoyed.

I don’t plan to retire. I just keep re-inventing my business.

This approach has worked for many of us in the “self-employed tribe”. However running your own business is not for everyone.

So what about everyone else? They may want to leave their current employment but go towards something else.

Retiring was always about leaving something.

It’s time to retire Retirement. We need a new word….I’m going to vote for “Commencement” as defined by Merriam-Webster “the time when something begins”…most of us remember this as the name of the ceremony where we received an academic diploma….a graduation.

Commencement of your Next Act.

Just as we are taught to be responsible for our self development during our careers, I believe it’s also our responsibility to look towards, and to plan, for what we will do after we leave a job (formerly known as retiring)

Employers need to provide resources as well in order to help prepare your staff for their next act. Coaching, financial planning, and other types of training help to ensure a smooth transition.

As coaches we work with people who are concerned about their next act, their legacy, staying relevant, and using their skills and knowledge.

Today you can create your Next Act. Start thinking about it now. There are exciting possibilities ahead.


“It is not true that people stop pursuing dream because they grow old. They grow old because they stop pursuing dreams”. Gabriel García Márquez


Always: Live Learn Lead.

shutterstock_120119884 (Copy)    I would love to hear your plans for your next act? Can I help?





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