20 February 2020 By Victoria Tomlinson
I had an interesting session with a director of a global corporate the other day. When we were exploring what she might do next, I asked her various questions including, ‘Are you interested in helping women into leadership positions?’
She paused and said, “I have never thought about this. But I could be. I like coaching and mentoring my own team and actually have helped people beyond my team”.
I confess I was surprised that any senior woman had not thought about what we need to do to get more women in leadership roles. But then again – she is an engineer in a real giant of an industrial conglomerate and her focus has always been on getting products to market safely. The issue has not been on her radar.
We agreed various areas for her to start exploring (see our 7-step process to fill a blank sheet) – including finding out who in this vast business is tasked with gender balance and diversity.
And all this got me thinking. What a great place to start when you are trying to think what next? Why not investigate all the initiatives that your organisation is involved in and see if one of them lights your fire. Could you get involved before you leave and build new networks for when you leave?
When you think of the sorts of things professional firms and corporates are doing these days, there is a wealth of opportunities. These are just some of the examples I have found
Where would you start with any of these?
This may all seem impossible or daunting when you are working 24/7. But it’s worth reading what your peers say in our reality check of retirement – this is a time to start putting yourself first. Some say you need to be selfish, even if your instinct is to put clients/team and colleagues first.
And while I have talked about large corporates here, the principles apply to senior people, whatever the size of your organisation. Challenges should be a win:win for both of you.
The one thing you have when you are aged 50+ and have some kind of seniority, is you will have credibility and contacts to make things happen. That is an enormous asset to your own organisation and others.
What most people want from this next stage of their lives (I am trying to avoid that word retirement!) is to find purpose, build new relationships and feel relevant and useful. For some, they need to continue earning money, for others they might like to, but it is not a priority. And for many, they want to give back. Most want to do this on their terms – combining with exercise, leisure and family.
Researching the issues on your doorstep and thinking about how you can help, could be a way to do all this – and give you that ‘life on your terms’.
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.