10 TIPS TO HELP YOU RETIRE WITHOUT AN IDENTITY CRISIS

?????????????If you are still in the world of gainful employment or in your own business, you probably think you are too busy to think about retirement – after all, it is 3-7 years out.  Or, you feel that you can just figure it out when you retire because you will have all the time in the world then.  Be careful, that thinking can unexpectedly create an identity crisis!

Case in Point:  My friend, Karen, was planning on retiring in 2019 – 5 years from now and had not thought about what retirement would look and feel like or what she might do.  Then, life just handed her a curve ball.  Her company decided that it was “her time” to leave and offered her a package to go not in five years, but … now!

At first, Karen enjoyed sleeping in, loved her lunches with her already retired husband and enjoyed quick trips to see her children and grandchildren.  After about three months, she became depressed and asked for my coaching help.  She explained that when she was at work she knew exactly what to do every day and she felt fulfilled and happy.  She missed so many things about work:  a structured life, deadlines that kept her on task, wonderful camaraderie with co-workers, the boss she loved to hate, the business travel, her interaction with the outside world, etc.   She just did not feel relevant anymore.  She did not know who she was, what she wanted to do or how to get there.  She was also still struggling with the emotions of being pushed out of her job.  Even though, the “package” was decent – it still gnawed away at her.  She ruminated over scenarios of why they picked her and she began to feel like a victim of circumstance.

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Here are 10 tips to help you avoid this identity crisis:  Whether you are pushed out like Karen or leave on your own accord and on your own terms, you will feel a sense of loss.   The emotional turmoil can be overwhelming and begin to chip away at your identity.  So, what do you do?  Here is what Karen and I worked on together to help her manage this.  First, we worked on her emotions and self worth.  Then, we were able to work together which produced 10 ways to shift her mindset and shape what she wanted to do with her life:

  1. Accept that retirement is one of the biggest transitions in life.
  2. Take time to grieve for what has been lost and then move forward.
  3. Realize that you have the freedom of choice and time to do some long, overdue self reflection.
  4. Tap into your passions, interests, strengths and values to create an ideal encore career or life.
  5. View life as an opportunity.
  6. Appreciate that your life experiences provide more options.
  7. Capitalize on the skills you have learned over the last 35-40+ years and leverage them.
  8. Bask in the glory of your mature perspective and listen to and follow your inner voice.
  9. Enjoy the thrill of new horizons.
  10. Cry a little, laugh a lot.

So, what happened to Karen?  Her new mantra became:  It’s my time …It’s my time! … It’s my time!  Your old job is not your identity – it does not define you as a person.  You are unique and have many gifts to share with the world.  This time in your life is an encore performance for you.  You say to the yourself, “Watch out world, here I come.”

Moral of the story:   Take the time in advance of retirement to plan your second life so that you will be able to step into your new identity quickly without all the drama.  Break a leg!

If you are suffering from an Identity Crisis (retirement or not), please call me for a FREE Strategy Session.

To Your Career Success,
Katie Weiser

© Katie Weiser, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Weiser with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

The five stages to leave the ‘old’ behind in a career transition

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????With any change in your life, including a professional change, there is loss – even if the change is good.  And loss must be grieved so you can leave the ‘old’ behind and move into the ‘new’ in a healthy way. Keep this in mind when change happens to you in your career, as well as in your personal life.  

Career transitions can have a big impact on us because our jobs can be such a big part of our lives. So be pro-active and prepare yourself beforehand when possible, for a major career transition.

Most grief professionals agree that the grieving process consists of five stages that must be addressed in order to move on.  Here are the five stages:

  1. Denial– Not accepting that it’s really happening.  John was dumbfounded when he learned his two best friends were fired.  He got very caught up in their stories and often said “I can’t believe it” and bad mouthed the company for what it had done.
  2. Bargaining– Believing that with negotiation or adjustment it can go back to the way it used to be.   John was affected directly by additional responsibility which he told his boss he could not take on.  That met with skepticism which made John realize that he had better accept the new normal of wearing two hats.
  3. Anger– Feeling that the situation is “unfair”.  John confided in his wife every night that the firings and the additional work he had to take on was unfair.  She tried to console him, but he was very angry.
  4. Sadness– Feeling lost, alone, or vulnerable.  John’s days at work were lonely without his best buddies around, he missed them.  He found some of the new work was a stretch for him and he worried about whether he could master it.
  5. Acceptance– Realizing that things will not go back to the way they were, and it is time to move on.  Coaching through the above emotions and helping John understand that it is natural to have these feelings helped him to finally accept that he had to get with the program and that it was a new era for the company and for him.  It was okay to feel good about the job again because he was learning new things and ways of doing them.  And, even though he still missed his friends, he realized that commiserating with them, did not help him or them.

Moving through these five phases can take time.  It’s important to first understand that you must go through each of these phases and second, allow yourself to do so.  It is only then that you are ready to move forward.

If you need help with navigating change, take advantage of my 6 part Thriving in the Midst of Change…Career and Life audio series on change which contains over 25 tips on how you can master change in both your career and life.  Each audio is 7-10 minutes long and comes in an MP3 format which is downloadable and accessible on any mobile device.  It’s easy, click here for instant access to Thriving in the Midst of Change…Career and Life!

To Your Career Success,
Katie Weiser

© Katie Weiser, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Weiser with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.