According to Peoplemax Executive Coach, Humphrey Armstrong, life is no longer linear – many people are now moving through several careers often punctuated by a number of transitions and even ‘gap’ years. The age of portfolio careers and ‘greypreneurs’ is upon us. In this article, Humphrey shares his tips on how to make the most of your later-life career and retirement transitions.
Have you ever felt you would like to:
Refresh and get more out of where you are currently working by renegotiating what you do to more accurately reflect your interests, talents, knowledge and experience?
Release some of the steam from your current pressure-cooker career-path and transition into a part-time role more aligned to your changing needs, values and work/life situation?
Explore the possibility of doing something completely different by embarking on a full or part-time paid or unpaid encore career?
Orchestrate a smooth transition out of your current job into full-time retirement filled with a rich range of interests, hobbies and social connections?
Re-invigorate your current retirement routine to make your life more stimulating, satisfying and meaningful?
With life expectancy increasing and mid-life shifting from the 40’s to the 50’s, many baby boomers (anyone born between 1946-1964) believe this is certainly so as they lead the way in being the ‘change agents of aging’ just as they were the change agents of their youth.
Gone are the typical stages of schooling/tertiary education, establishing a career, climbing the ladder, retirement and finally navigating old age. Life is no longer linear – many people are now moving through several careers often punctuated by a number of transitions and even ‘gap’ years. Others taste retirement and then bounce back into paid or unpaid ‘encore’ careers, taking them well into their seventies and beyond. The age of portfolio careers and ‘greypreneurs’ is upon us either by choice or necessity. Lynda Grattan and Andrew Scott in a recently published book titled The 100 Year Life, believe that to make the most of our mid-life and senior years, we need to de-couple some of our age and stage stereotypes so that our ability to explore, take risks, play, improvise and experiment extends right through our lives.
However in doing so it is also important to work at building coherent life stories around what it is about us that needs to remain the same (sense of continuity) and what has (or is) happening which drives why and how we need to change. Without such a narrative there is danger we can be seduced into veering off on disconnected and possibly inappropriate tangents. Some long held dreams can turn into nightmares if they fail to align with who we are and what we stand for.
Another key success factor that enables successful transitions is our ability to identify and develop what Grattan and Scott call our “priceless intangible assets”, including our:
Productive assets like knowledge, skills, experience, professional networks and reputation
Vitality assets including fitness and health plus personal support networks
Transformational assets which enable us to learn new skills, grow and especially adapt to our VUCA world of increasing Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity.
Some opportunities and realities
Humphrey Armstrong in conjunction with Peoplemax is planning to release a new Guidebook titled Connecting the Dots: How to make the most of your later-life career and retirement transitions.
This guidebook has been specifically designed for people in their 50’s and beyond who want to reassess where they are in their work/life journey and start mapping new more stimulating and meaningful career and life options.
This guidebook contains a smorgasbord of reflective exercises, diagnostic frameworks, case studies and action planning templates to help readers:
Take stock of where they have been and where they are now
Identify their current signature strengths, mix of life plus career preferences and underpinning values all of which can assist in the selection of future lifestyle career and activity options
Begin to shape a new shared vision for themselves in consultation with their key personal and professional stakeholders
Conduct a ‘reality check’ of their health, fitness, career, finances as well as family and social circumstances
Create a progressive, long-term strategic plan for making the most of their later-life transitions, including moving into retirement.
OD and L&D professionals may also find this Guidebook a useful self-directed aid for their people who seem to be stuck or lost in their careers and who could benefit from some practical processes to help clarify their needs and explore new possibilities.
Connecting The Dots: How to make the most of your later-life career and retirement transitions will be available from Peoplemax in November. A workshop showcasing how the Guidebook can be used for a range of people experiencing transition difficulties is planned for the New Year.