By: Nanette Fairley
July 27, 2021


Although it is just over two years since I left full-time employment, I still go to say ‘business psychologist’ when people ask me what I do.  Saying I am ‘retired’ usually ends the conversation as I am clearly not really doing anything!!!  Yet in reality I am as challenged and fulfilled as I have ever been – just with different things!  When I came to update my LinkedIn profile it was just as hard – do I write flexible worker?  After much reflection I wrote Community Builder, Lifelong Learner and WhatNextologist. It feels right for now, but may change in five or ten years and that is OK.  What is beneficial is giving some thought to what’s next for you once you do step out of full-time employment, BEFORE you do it.

Spending some time figuring out what your ‘new’ purpose will be after leaving full-time employment can help make the transition easier.  And this is the same if your business card reads Full-time Mum or Caregiver.  What will you do when your time becomes your own?

As I have learnt from talking to many retirees, a fulfilled Third Age doesn’t just happen.  The day after you finish full-time employment the world isn’t suddenly at your feet.  The challenges that go with any transition, even positive ones, don’t just disappear.  It takes some thinking about more than just your finances.  But this can be good fun too!

Try writing down what you will do in a week once you are no longer working full-time.  Many people realise, when completing this task, that what they wrote down won’t keep them interested for very long.  Your retirement could last upwards of 30 years if you are lucky, and that’s a long time to play golf or tennis!

Another thing you can do is look at the factors the research are finding bring a happy and healthy Third Age.  If you don’t want to read the research, and it can be dry, just take our Wayfinder questionnaire to see how you fare on the key factors.  You can find the link to the questionnaire here.  Once you have completed the questionnaire honestly you will get a personalised report that can serve as the basis of figuring out what is next for you.

Stepping back from full-time employment, particularly a career you have loved, works best when you have thought about your plan and then begun to execute it.  Of course it won’t be perfect and will change and evolve over time, but early on it will give you the road map to thriving in your Third Age.

#businesscard  #thirdage  #retirement  #findingpurpose  #whatnext