In May, I talked about recent college graduates commencing and taking on their first job post-college. There is also another group commencing; those commencing to retirement. Congratulations to those approaching retirement! How do you want to spend the last year or months of your career? How can you contribute the most value? Here are some things to consider when approaching commencement to retirement.
You are at the point in your career where you will have the most skills and knowledge. Focus on ways you can add the most value to your company, peers, and mentees.
Here are some thought starters to help you clarify the objectives/goals for your time before retirement.
1 – Have you achieved the work persona you desire?
Here are some personas you may have aspired to your career:
– the successful individual contributor
– the mentor that people find for career advice
– the knowledgeable person who has valuable information or perspective to help make decisions
– the collaborative person with ideas to improve the company
Identify who you want to be and walk the walk. Be the best person you want to be. Especially with the finite time left, you can commit to being your best for one more year. When you feel that you are giving any less than your best, take a pause point: reflection on the situation, put it in perspective, be your best.
2 – How do you leave the company set up for success?
Transitioning Workload: Use the time you have to successfully transfer your workload to the next person(s). Set your successor up for success. Have a clear transition plan and be comfortable playing support through the transition as they get the opportunity to lead. Even if they have the confidence to fully take the responsibility or task before your last day, great, let them run with it. It will give you more time for people and wrapping up projects. Transitioning Knowledge: What information do you solely have? Who can share that information to ensure continued success?
3 – How do you plan for success in retirement?
You’ve conquered successful transition before in your life. College to Professional, Single to Married, or added to your life with kids, pets, or commitments. Each of those transitions required planning and flexibility. Retirement will be the same way.
– Consider what routines and activities you value currently. What will you keep? Where will you invest more time? What will stop with your full-time work?
– Set up some pause points. Identify some timelines where you will pause to evaluate how you are spending your time, energy, and month. This pause point allows you to live in the moment for a defined period. For example, you could say, “I don’t want to do anything for the first three months.” Great. Enjoy that freedom and flexibility for three months. And be fully present in that timeline knowing you’ll review and reevaluate in 3 months.
– Plan a bucket list item. Have you wanted to travel somewhere? Or pick up a new hobby. Plan to start this upon retirement. This activity/event will be something to look forward to and to plan for. It will also give you a strong answer when people ask, “You’re retiring….what are you going to do?” It’s a question with great intentions but can be overwhelming if you don’t have a plan.
Congratulations on approaching this career and life milestone. Enjoy your final year of work and focus on what you value: people, sharing value, specific contributions.