Nov 1, 201812:43 PMExit Stage Right
with Martha Sullivan
What will your last job change be?
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When was the last time you changed jobs? Do you remember the exhilaration of it? I was reminded of how exciting it can be as I grabbed coffee with someone today who recently started a new gig. He had that new-job glow about him, filled with hope, renewed energy, and determination. He had been at his former employer for about 10 years. He enjoyed his time there, but knew there were other passions, needs, and achievements he wanted to pursue. So, he made the leap.
Changes of this magnitude are fun and also a challenge — like an exciting, uncharted cross-country road trip. There are tons of unknowns waiting for you: “Where’s the restroom?” “Who are you?” “What am I doing?” and “We do what?” You’re creating a whole new routine, changing your commute, what you do, and what you take on. Let’s face it; you enter a “dumb-as-a-rock” phase with every new job. Yes, you’re bright, accomplished, capable, and prepared to make this change, but you do not know what you’re doing — yet. You’re figuring it out as you go. It’s an adventure and a bit unnerving.
The same should be true when we make that last “job change” — that is, when we retire. We should have something we are looking forward to — new tasks and things to learn — with family, friends, and colleagues cheering for our happiness and success. What’s different with this gig is you write your own job posting.
There are four steps that are crucial to defining your life after a steady paycheck:
1. Connect with your passions
What gives you meaning? What’s important to you that you still want to accomplish? There are many things to be passionate about, whether it’s building awareness around an issue, lending a helping hand to another, or creating something new. There are skills and activities you enjoy doing that would be useful and apply to other situations in your community. Just as importantly, there are many topics you probably want to know more about or other skills you want to learn.
Of course, there are only so many hours in the day to indulge these passions. We all have these lists in our heads. You do the ones you can, but many others sit in the background waiting for you to give them attention. Your challenge is to maintain awareness of them and develop your path to connect to them.
2. Align your relationships
As it relates to creating your next job, there are two types of relationships that need to be aligned. The most important is your relationship with your family. What do you want to do? What do they want to do? How do your individual needs blend, overlap, and align? Where do they diverge?
For example, my spouse and I have different styles, personalities, and interests. He enjoys devouring history, politics, and other nonfiction reads. I’m more into fiction. Chances are we’re not going to be in a book club together. However, we might both get involved with Schools of Hope and help school children strengthen their reading skills.
The other type of relationship that needs to be aligned with your passion is relationships with people currently involved in it. Who do you know that’s championing the cause now? What are they doing? What can you learn from them? If you don’t know anyone, what organizations could point you in a direction? Make a connection, even if it’s just getting a newsletter. Get information, lay the groundwork to exchange ideas, and go to meet those people.