Revealing Retirement Plans to Management: Should You Be Paranoid?
Should you reveal your retirement plans to management? Perhaps. However, before you do so, there are pros, cons, and sometimes serious ramifications to be considered.
Your retirement announcement will most likely be handled with practical efficiency by your manager. He or she will be groping for a solution to the knowledge gap you’ll likely be leaving in the wake of your departure.
Even if you’re well-liked, there’s less concern about enshrining your exit inside the category of ‘parting is such sweet sorrow’ – and more about solving for the changes it will bring.
And your vow to work diligently up to the moment of departure? That can sound tinny to a manager with no apparent succession plan. Or worse, a half-baked plan developed without your participation.
During this critical moment in your career, remove the rose-colored glasses and develop a solid strategy for navigating through these rough moments of transition.
Employ Your Highly Developed Senses
There’s much to consider. Age and experience, the very things that brought you to this point in the first place, can contribute to a robust situational diagnostic.
Perform a reality check by doing research on the overall feeling about the Baby Boomer population in your company. Has age and possibly ageism (silent or expressed) marginalized your once-valued participation?
Are Millennials the management flavor du jour? Do less tenured generations automatically receive prized projects, accounts, and management positions? Do your Boomer colleagues share a put-out-to-pasture feeling?
You must also consider the value your company places on coaching and mentoring. Perhaps they have established company-wide programs and incentives that value and reward experience. Maybe younger generations are encouraged to buddy-up with Boomers to burnish their talents with a Master Class.
You can also observe if there is an underground swell of younger colleagues doing workarounds to learn from senior staff.
Carefully observe your manager’s relationship to age and aging. Does he or she still perceive and express the value of your projects and efforts both for management and the team?
Perhaps your experiences and talents are extolled intra-team and intra-company as relevant and contributory attributes, which is great news, but surprisingly rare.
What you might consider the best possibility is for your manager to show empathy, depth, and training to turn the situation of your pending departure into a stream of transformative best practices.
It’s always a good idea to check how transparent your HR department is about sharing information that helps employees construct a viable exit strategy.
Is financial information about post-employment transfer of your 401K, pension plan, insurance, etc. easily obtained without raising uncomfortable questions?
Perhaps your company’s intranet provides information about the successful career-dismount experiences of Boomer colleagues who’ve transitioned ahead of you.
Timing the Big Reveal of Your Retirement Plans
Tackling everything mentioned above head-on will provide ground for a road map that makes sense. Above all, don’t forget to trust and incorporate your hard-won intuition.
Announce your retirement intentions early only after you consider:
The Financial Side
Make sure your post-employment financial planning is not reliant on monies earned after you announce. You’re essentially quitting your job. Post-announcement, your future will move down a road paved by the largesse of your company.
Stand prepared for the possibility of marginalization, and the loss of clients or projects contributing to your compensation. It’s entirely possible you’ll be maneuvered into an earlier departure or lessening of your current role.
Your Manager’s View
You can work in partnership with your manager to determine a career dismount strategy which includes succession planning, mentoring someone into your role, and the timing of your departure.
The Possibility of Consulting Work
You can use the last months of your career to discuss some consulting work post official retirement. A large percentage of retired Boomers are becoming unretired. A respectable departure might lead to a return engagement.
Even if you don’t envision returning to the company, you might, however, need support when tracking other opportunities. In other words, leaving in a positive mist of esprit de corps can future-proof valuable recommendations.
Your transition can create an honorable give-back to the company and a gift of pride to yourself. Boomers are passionate loyalists. During the final days of your career, when you look back in the rear-view mirror, will you feel gratified?
To sum up, if some or all of the conditions above don’t exist or feel sketchy, announce your intentions just-in-time.
Expect more on the characteristics of a just-in-time departure in a forthcoming article.
How did you handle the announcement of your retirement? Did you undershare, overshare, or get it just right? Most importantly, what could you have done to increase the potency of those last days at work? Please share your story in the comments below.