An article in The Globe and Mail published late last year recently caught my attention, and I decided to file it for future reference. It interested me because the piece addressed a key issue in retirement living: finding a way to supplement your retirement income. The article was directed at women, but I felt the same also applied to men.
Increasing numbers of retirees are beginning to realise that the so-called three pillars of retirement – government pensions, including the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) and Old Age Security (OAS); employer-sponsored pension plans; and/or personal savings and investments – are not enough for their day-to-day living needs.
The ideal situation at retirement is that the monthly income generated from these pillars is enough to sustain your lifestyle without going into debt. Expert financial advice can help you achieve this goal – we recommend speaking to our credit union partners Interior Savings, Coastal Community Credit Union and Coastal Community Private Wealth Group for personalized guidance – but some retirees are feeling the pinch and others prefer to have an added source of income.
Introducing Jacquie Doucette
The article referenced Jacquie Doucette who, upon leaving Canadian public service, started looking for creative ways to earn extra money. In that search process, Ms. Doucette remarked that she “ran into a lot of people who said, ‘I can’t retire – my job is my life.’”
This precipitated her decision to launch a coaching enterprise designed to help pre-retirees and retirees who are not sure they can retire because “they’re scared they won’t have anything to do.”
Since that time Ms. Doucette has interviewed many retirement-aged people who have taken on a new line of business.
“Almost all of them seem to be trying to build a little business of their own around some project they are passionate about, or something they stumbled across,” she was reported as saying.
The Consequences of the Pandemic
There’s a great deal of online inspiration out there designed to help people unlock their inner passion to find fulfilment and new ways of work. Some of those ideas are wishy-washy. Others are downright misleading. Most involve an exercise in re-definition or re-imagining yourself in a role for which you might be unsuited or cannot sustain.
But the article did make one observation that is worth seriously considering, and it has to do with the consequences of the pandemic: “With the pandemic having proven the viability of remote work, companies may be increasingly open to hiring contract or freelance talent too.”
In other words, re-building an income generating retirement career doing – on a part-time basis – a job that you are already supremely qualified to do might be the most creative way to go about things than virtually any other option.
Obviously, this tactic is unlikely to work for someone whose pre-retirement job was something they didn’t enjoy. But if you got a decent degree (or more) of satisfaction from your pre-retirement job, then re-introducing yourself back into the workforce makes more sense than reinventing yourself from scratch.
Re-entering the workforce can feel like an overwhelming endeavour. The working world has this funny way of making you feel like everyone else has been moving forward while you’ve been standing still.
The key is to treat the challenge as if it were a personal marketing campaign, with you as the product for sale and the employment prospects out there as the consumer eligible to be sold. Consider the following steps before you get going:
Clarify Your Goal
Before you start job searching, you must know what you’re targeting. A clear goal helps you focus your search, it helps you position yourself as a good fit, and it makes it easy for your network (more about that later) to understand what you want. Don’t start your search with, “I just want a job.”
Buff Up Your Professional Bio
Be sure to include something current on your professional bio, so you can demonstrate to prospects you’ve continued to develop your professional skills. The webpage, though U.S. inspired, offers a refreshing approach to resume writing that might help.
Develop An Elevator Pitch
You possibly already know what an elevator pitch is, but in case you don’t it’s this. Widely used in the movie industry, an elevator pitch – with an allowable length of about 90 seconds, which is the average amount of time it takes to call an elevator, get in, ride it to the 15th floor and get out – is a simple story that summarises who you are, what your goal is, and why you’re a great fit for the job for which you’re applying. Again, the embedded link will help you find inspiration for your elevator pitch.
Market Yourself to Top-of-Mind, Low-Hanging-Fruit Connections
According to a recent LinkedIn survey, 85% of jobs are landed through networking. This means that your best prospects consist of people who already know you or who know someone who does. They represent your potential advocacy group.
Make your list of potential advocates and reach out individually to share your elevator pitch and your ask: “I need some help breaking back into a part-time position. Can we chat about how you might be able to help me?”
Once you contact them, ask if they can help in one or some of ways listed below:
- Are they hiring, or would they be interested in hiring you for part-time or freelance work?
- Would they refer you for a role at their company?
- Do they know of any people in their immediate network who may be hiring who they could introduce you to?
- Do they have any feedback on your goals, elevator pitch, or resume?
- Would they write a recommendation on your LinkedIn profile?
It’s remarkable how willing people are to help. Ask.
Be Prepared to Adjust Your Goal – and Stay Curious
Finally, go after the job you want most. While you’re trying to get that job, you’ll be learning – learning how your qualifications stack up, how best to position yourself for the job you want (or what you could do to become a stronger candidate), and what similar jobs may be worth considering as well.
Stay curious. Adapt your search based on those learnings.
It may take a few more steps than you’d like. But if you’re moving in the right direction, you’re on your way to where you want to be.