17 July 2018 By Victoria Tomlinson
One of the biggest issues that the newly retired people we speak to have is a perceived lack of identity. They spend a lot of time talking about their last job and “former” career. So what’s the best retirement advice for them?
As well as being hard work to listen to, focusing on the past isn’t good for the individual, as it reinforces the situation and the associated stereotypes and can leave a dent in your self-esteem.
We have found that the trick is to make sure you always have something going on. It’s all about having a story to tell, this could be helping a local business with its strategy or looking over a charity’s finances. From this you can segue into the fact you’re looking for longer-term opportunities.
So how do you ensure you have something going on when you feel like you’ve left your identity with your corporate career?
The best retirement advice (or unretirement advice) is to be interested in other people’s experiences. Everyone you meet can add to your story and you can add to theirs, even if it’s in incremental ways.
We’ve previously spoken with Bernadette Byrne about how every conversation can energise you and open a new door. The more you talk to people, the more interesting you become. The more interesting you become, the more people will want to offer you new opportunities.
After stepping down from a high-powered career as a group sales Director, Bernadette now combines consultancy work with a non-executive director role and is launching her own business. Much of this is down to being open to new opportunities.
“I am learning still, I am meeting exciting new people and I am open to new ideas. I’m now in places I didn’t know existed,” she says.
“I’m saying yes to things I would have previously shied away from and am embracing new challenges. I’m working with a young tech entrepreneur whose business is based on augmented reality. I had no idea what that was, but I am learning how exciting AR is now.”
Another piece of retirement advice – be open to new paths in unretirement. This could be trying a new career path, learning a new technological skill or retraining. LinkedIn is a great way to widen your network and get to know people in new areas and industries. Even if you don’t feel it was relevant to you in your career, it might end up throwing up useful new contacts or giving you ideas for projects or directions you never thought possible.
Former Twitter-denier James Caan says in this BusinessCloud.co.uk article, “LinkedIn has changed the landscape of professional networking and it also allows me to easily communicate with relevant audiences.”
Indeed, this CareerShifters article by Richard Alderson talks about looking for people, not jobs. He did just that and ended up working in a role he previously didn’t even know existed.
It might be hard to dip your toe into new waters, but being open to what comes next is key to your success. Elizabeth Jackson, from Flowers From The Garden, shares her retirement advice: “Starting is the hardest part. Be patient, and give yourself a break. Disassociate from the person your business has defined you as.”
As Seth Godin points out, the secret to creativity is curiosity. In order to truly find the path that’s right for you, it’s vitally important to be open to new ideas and ready to try new things.
Come along to our Next-Up conference in November to meet tech entrepreneurs who are involved with the latest trends in big data, augmented virtual reality, voice search, blogger influencers and more – and how they are shaping our lives and business.
Victoria Tomlinson is chief executive and founder of Next-Up. Next-Up supports employers with a range of services for directors, partners and employees to help them understand the impact of retirement on mental health and create a plan to use their skills and experience in new ways to ensure wellbeing. A key part of our role is to inspire people with ideas and contacts, beyond traditional expectations. A former director of EY, she is an international speaker on unretirement, personal branding and using LinkedIn strategically as well as on leadership and women on boards. She mentors chief executives and directors, start-up businesses and ex-offenders. Victoria is Honorary Teaching Fellow at Lancaster University and chaired an advisory board for University of Leeds.