I’m Not Retiring… I Quit! How the Way You Leave Your Job Can Change Your Life
At any other point in your career, telling your employer that you are quitting without a new job waiting for you is a big mistake. But, I’m here to tell you that there is something far worse than saying “I quit” and that is saying “I’m retiring.”
This may sound crazy, but, by the end of this article, I hope to convince you that there are many reasons that announcing your retirement could result in financial strain, boredom and missed opportunities.
What’s the Problem with Announcing Your Retirement?
The simple truth is that after the glow of retirement wears off, many of us will find ourselves wanting – or needing – to work.
Unfortunately, when we tell our friends, family, employers, business partners and other contacts that we are retiring, we put ourselves in an iron cage with no door.
From a psychological perspective, announcing our retirement tells others that we are leaving the workplace for good. As a result, our colleagues and business partners cannot help but put us in a “retired” bucket.
When we retire, we are no longer valued business partners, teachers, scientists, speakers, managers, accountants or lawyers. Instead, we have become pensioners, golf players, bingo fans and cruisers.
This means that, if we decide to start a business, look for consulting work, join a company part-time or look for another job, we will have an uphill battle convincing the people in our network that we still have what it takes to succeed.
In the meantime, they sure as heck won’t be actively looking for opportunities for us. Why should they? We just told them that we have retired!
Saying “I’m Retiring” Feels Good… But, it’s a Pyrrhic Victory
Telling everyone that you are retiring feels good. There’s a sense of accomplishment that you get by telling the world that you have “arrived” at retirement. If we are totally honest, it’s also nice to see the look of jealousy that others give us when we tell them that we won’t be coming back to work.
Not knowing the truth about our financial situation, our friends and family assume that we have enough money to live in style for the rest of our lives. This is rarely the case.
Besides, shouldn’t we ask ourselves if it is really any business what we do when we leave our current employer? Why does it matter that we are leaving our current job at 65 vs 45? Some of us will want to play golf for the next 20 years, but, many more will find themselves looking for work before they can say “fore!”
Ultimately, what I’m saying is that you lose absolutely nothing by keeping your cards close to your chest. If you tell your employer that you are leaving to pursue other opportunities, you avoid being put into the “retirement bucket.”
You can still sit on the beach sipping Piña coladas. But, if you do decide to start a business, go back to the office, do some consulting or work part-time, it won’t come as a shock to anyone.
Retirement Doesn’t Have to Be a Public Event
I realize that there are many people reading this article who worked for companies with a well-defined pension plan. If you have specialized skills that can only be applied in a large organization and a big pension waiting for you, it may not matter whether the world thinks you are retiring. In fact, it may be nice to celebrate with your new gold watch and a glass of champagne!
But, if you are like the majority of us who worked in more general professions and with multiple employers, celebrating your retirement with the world may not be in your interest.
At the very least, the decision to officially “retire” vs “pursue other opportunities” should be made consciously. It really is no-one else’s business how you plan on spending life after 65… unless you want it to be!
Do you plan on telling people that you are officially retiring? Why or why not? Do you agree that there are times when not officially retiring – even if you don’t plan on working again – could be the right decision? Let’s have a chat!