An awful lot of retirees and pre-retirees are obsessive contingency planners. They’re the masters of the ‘what if’ – by which we mean that they consider post retirement work options as a) necessary to help fund an underfunded life after work, or b) sufficient, which means they like the idea of doing something that stretches them cognitively in retirement so they don’t lose their mental edge.
In short, a great many retirees and pre-retirees are not prepared to ‘pack it in’ for the simple reason that the retirement world is rich in undiscovered employment opportunities. Some are obvious, others less so. Let’s take a look at a few of them, based on the premise that what you do should include these three key qualities or ingredients:
- Ignite your passion.
- Meet your need for flexibility.
- Be fun to engage in.
Rearrange Your Relationship with an Existing Employer
This is an obvious, but frequently overlooked, option. Negotiate a new deal with your employer, based on reduced responsibilities and reduced compensation. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that remote work – telecommuting from home – is an increasingly acceptable alternative.
Set Yourself Up as a Consultant
Let’s assume that you understand the business you’re in and have accumulated a great many friends and professional acquaintances along the way as you prospered in your chosen field. These relationships are a goldmine of opportunity. You’ll get a few turndowns, sure. But if you’re good at what you do, capitalise on your expertise and sell your services as a consultant. You get to charge what you like, work for who you like, and work when you like. What’s the matter with that?
Become a Career Coach
Younger adults need and feed on the industry insight and working knowledge you’ve acquired after a lifetime of work. There are well established organisations out there to help you find the right direction to take in your quest to become a seasoned mentor and professional friend. Why give away all that good advice you have access to when you can charge for it?
Consider Sports Coaching
A friend of ours sold his gas station. Having done so, he announced his latest career move to his wife with the words, “Honey, now we can spend more time together!” His wife was aghast. “I married you for life,” she replied, “not for lunch.” She further explained that she didn’t want him under her feet all day and that he should find something else to do. He took a tennis coaching course – he was already a decent player – and now teaches tennis at his local club three days a week. Perfect!
Become a Professional Driver
Driving is an increasingly popular sideline these days. Uber and Lyft offer opportunities, or you could drive a delivery truck in your local area. One of the best jobs the writer of this blog ever had was as a delivery driver. Once he had loaded up his truck with that days’ deliveries, he was off on his own, free as a bird – and free from professional supervision. It was one of the most liberating experiences of his career.
Work for a Non-Profit
Non-profit organisations tend not to pay well, but the work is deeply satisfying. What often starts as an offer to contribute on an unpaid basis may eventually evolve into something with compensation. Here’s how to orchestrate the process leading to paid (however modest that may be) employment:
- Start getting more involved with your favourite local charities and non-profits.
- Volunteer at their events.
- Get to know the staff, managers, and other volunteers.
- Offer to sit on their board.
- Then ask how you can work even more closely with them.
- Tell them about your career history, your skill set and your network.
- Explain that you’re looking to change careers to find more meaningful work.
You might get a turndown, or possibly an expression of interest based on your personality and skill set. It’s worth a try.