Can't Afford to Retire?
Here are 5 ways to rethink working...so it works for you.
Posted September 16, 2010
Does the state of the economy have you rethinking your retirement? Are you convinced that you’ll have to work at least seven years after you’re dead before you can afford to retire? Has the challenge/joy/thrill of what you do long since departed, yet you feel you’re stuck in your current job? Do you feel that you can’t keep doing what you’ve been doing, the way you’ve been doing it, but are filled with doubts about making a job or career change?
Would you like to do work that you love, and have a healthier balance between work and the rest of your life, for the rest of your life? It’s definitely possible. All it requires is a fresh perspective and the discarding of some old, decrepit, limiting beliefs. You can rewire your thinking by realizing that:
You don’t have to keep doing what you’re doing. Maybe you’re really good at it, but you just don’t like it any more—or you never did. Perhaps you’ve grown bored with your work. Or, it could be you’re simply ready for a change.
You may feel stuck, but you’re not. You can choose to find work that’s aligned with your values, allows you to express yourself fully (yes, all of you!), and fulfills some greater purpose—work that challenges you, pulls you out of bed in the morning, and lights you up.
It will take pushing outside your comfort zone, being proactive, and living bigger and bolder. You can do it.
You don’t have to buy into the conventional wisdom about what is and is not possible. Who says you can’t find a great job, or start a successful business, or write a best-selling book in this economy?
What employer wouldn’t want someone with your experience, talent, resources, skills, wisdom and gifts? What service or product is the world in need of, that only you can provide? Who couldn’t learn from or be entertained by the words that only you can write?
If you’re planning on being conventional, then you may as well resign yourself to more of the same old same old. Otherwise, take the lid off and start believing that anything is possible. Then, go out and show the world that it is.
You don’t have to start over at the bottom. But you can find a new challenge. Start by looking for it in your current company.
If it’s past time for you to get out, then look for that challenge in a new company. But, don’t even think of approaching your job search in any—here’s that word again—conventional way. This is where you’ll want to get rid of the box altogether, and get really creative in how you approach prospective employers.
Years ago, I interviewed for a Producer job at WGBH-TV in Boston. I was the perfect person for the job (how’s that for confidence?) and I made it through the second interview. When I didn’t hear back in a few days, I called to find out if I was still in the running, then promptly hand-delivered a large box to the Executive Producer. In it she found a mannequin leg with a thigh high black and white stocking, a big red bow tied around the top of the stocking, and a note that said: “Let me get my foot in the door and you won’t be sorry!” I got the job. My out-of-the-box tweak pushed her over the edge, and convinced her that the job was mine.
Or, maybe you’re yearning to be self-employed. Go for the challenge of starting your own business. Find your passion, do your homework, research the market, find your ideal audience, and take the leap.
You don’t have to prove yourself. Honestly, how many times in your working life have you felt the need to prove yourself? Since you’ve been there and done that, declare “enough!” Instead, make a list of all your many qualities, capabilities, abilities, skills, experiences, and talents. Own them. You’ve earned every single one of them—most likely the hard way. Now use this list to build confidence in yourself, and what you can do.
You don’t have to go back to school, unless you really want to. If the idea of learning something new that will catapult you into a new career turns you on, great. There is, however, a lot to be said for experience, and don’t you already have plenty of that? Take the time to explore all the many options available to you. Yes, you have options—lots of options! Uncover long-buried dreams, dust them off, and see if they still fit. Discover what you love, combine that with what you’re good at that you love doing, and voila: you’ll find what’s next.
So, throw out those old ways of thinking, re-ignite your confidence, and get started on creating work that works for you.
Lin Schreiber, PCC, is a Retirement Revolutionary who loves helping self-reliant women reinvent themselves in the next stage of life, formerly known as “retirement.” Lin is featured on the PBS series Boomers: Redefining Life After Fifty, and is the author of The ABC’s of Retiring Retirement. A Professional Certified Coach, Certified Retirement Coach, and founder of Revolutionize Retirement, Lin combines her contagious enthusiasm, nonstop energy, and passion for her subject to create a fun, dynamic learning environment that energizes and inspires her audiences.