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Career Pathways:
Keep Working or Not?

November 11, 2015

Annabelle Reitman

A Personal Note:  This is the beginning of my 7th year writing this column.

Most people, whether they are retired, thinking of retiring, or actually making plans to retire, give some consideration to their work situation – should a job be added to the mix of activities in this next life phase?   The present economic situation is impacting the financial status of the majority of our membership

Thus, retirees are reviewing their income flow and people looking forward to leaving the workforce are reconsidering their options.    Additionally, “boomers” are quite different from past generations - more active, live longer, have diverse perspectives of life, etc.  Many women from this generation have vibrant professional careers that they may not yet be willing to give up.  A report by Intuit Inc., indicates that by 2020, roughly 34 million traditionalist and 76 million boomers still will be in the work force.

A growing trend influencing this occurrence is the reduction of typical stereotyping of older worker and increased acceptance and respect by the younger generation. 

Therefore, some basic questions that you may need to ask yourself are:

A. Retired or Planning Retirement

·      Due to my present financial situation, is it essential that I work?

·      My financial situation is good, but do I want to continue to work?

·      If work is now in my retirement picture, what does it look like?

Ø  Part or full time

Ø  Remain in present work or seek a change

Ø  Realize my passion/growing interest

Ø  Start my own business

Ø  Work in an arena that would be fun for me

Ø  Have less responsibility and/or less travel

B. Motivators to continue working in present position

·      Is work still fulfilling, challenging, and enjoyable?

·      Is the organization culture age friendly and am I valued?

·      Do continued learning opportunities still exist for me?

·      Are work preferences of older workers considered?

·      Are younger colleagues engaging with me and want to learn about my experiences and knowledge?

C. Volunteering is another form of work

However, if comfortable with your retirement financial status, but would like to be engaged in some form of work activity, why not consider volunteerism? These are some basic questions that you may want to ask yourself to find a good match:    

  • How can I give back to my community?
  • Where can I best utilize my expertise and skills?
  • What are my expectations from this experience?
  • How much time am I willing to give to volunteering?
  • Do I prefer an on-going assignment, a series of one-time activities, or some combination of both?
  • What personal constraints and obligations do I need to take into account?
In the end, your decision regarding the inclusion of working in your retirement years, is not just a financial one, it is really a life style decision.  The big final questions: What are your priorities?  Do you have a “bucket list”?  And, will you need additional income to be able to fill in the details of this ideal picture?
Annabelle Reitman, Ed.D.
Career Management Strategist & Author