Don’t Retire, Evolve

by | May 23, 2017 | Career Transition | 0 comments

When your 50th birthday passes, there are some changes that get set in motion. For one, you start getting AARP magazines – which is quite the splash of cold water for many of us. For another, the company you work for starts hinting about impending retirement. That’s fair – after all, most people do choose to retire by the time they hit 70, so it’s only prudent to start preparing to do so.

Except you’re not most people. You’re driven by accomplishments, by your never-ending ambition, and really, you don’t feel worn out, even if societal expectations are that you should. You just feel like it’s time to move on to the next thing. You’ve spent 30 years (or more) working up to where you are today, and it’s a good place – but it’s time to try something else.

You aren’t the only one who’s had these thoughts, either. Many greats opted out of retiring, and instead went on to do great things – in many cases, accomplishing feats that dwarf their previous accomplishments:

  • At 59, Ray Kroc became the owner of the McDonald’s franchise, after convincing the original owners to sell their shares.
  • At 55, Pablo Picasso completed his masterpiece, “Guernica.”
  • At 60, playwright and essayist George Bernard Shaw finished writing “Heartbreak House,” regarded by many as his masterpiece.
  • At 62, J.R.R. Tolkien published the first volume of his fantasy series, “Lord of the Rings.”
  • At 64, Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first book, “Little House In The Big Woods.”
  • At 66, Noah Webster completed his monumental “American Dictionary of the English Language.”
  • At 70, Cornelius Vanderbilt began buying railroads.
  • At 72, Margaret Ringenberg flew around the world.
  • At 73, Peter Mark Roget compiled the very first thesaurus.
  • At 75, cancer survivor Barbara Hillary became one of the oldest people, and the first black woman, to reach the North Pole.
  • At 77, John Glenn became the oldest person to go into space.
  • At 81, Bill Painter became the oldest person to reach the 14,411-foot summit of Mt. Rainier.

But how do you switch gears without needing to do things you may not want to do? Well, the same way you’ve done every other big move in life – by planning it out, working methodically, and keeping your eye on the prize!

A few tips from all of us here at Shield Meneley Partners:

Start Planning Now

If you want your best accomplishments to still be ahead of you, start planning out what those will be and how you’re going to get there today. Don’t wait until you’ve already left your company, either by choice or being pushed out.

Not sure what you want to do, just that you want to do something? Start taking classes in topics that you’re interested in, but not very familiar with. Take a variety of classes until you find a topic that you’re constantly itching to learn more about, to practice more, and to get more involved with.

Don’t Limit Yourself – This Is About Happiness

You’ve done your time. You’ve put in the work and whether you felt passionate about it or not, the income you’re guaranteed as a “retiree” is well earned. You can do with it whatever you find meaningful and important – whether that means golfing all day, or going after your next big move.

A big mistake we see many fall into is thinking that they have to pick just one thing. It’s understandable – that’s how it’s been for your entire life. You pick one job, one company, and so forth. However, what you do once you’ve officially retired does not follow such restrictions. If you have one thing you’re going after, that’s great! If you have a dozen things you’re passionate about, that is just as wonderful.

Get Help

If you’re planning a big life change, it’s a good idea to get professional advice on how to do it correctly. At Shields Meneley Partners, we’re in the business of helping you transition from your career to your next big accomplishment – and we’ve helped hundreds of others who have faced the same challenges you’re going to. Draw from our expertise and transition smoothly to your next adventure, instead of spending months (or years) dealing with hurdles and speed bumps.

Get Your Significant Other Onboard

If you’re planning on doing something unconventional with your retirement, it’s wise to start getting anyone you’d like to take along for the ride onboard with the idea – and also listen to their concerns, which may highlight any potential problems that have been overlooked. You want your partner to have just as great a retirement as you do, so don’t hold back your plans. Let them bring you closer together by removing the threat of them driving a wedge between you two.

At Shields Meneley Partners, we work with C-Suite executives in transition and we ask our clients to invite their spouses/partners to our earliest discussions. These discussions are powerful. Every other career/location change, usually the partner is brought into the discussion at the stage where he/she only has veto power and who wants to jeopardize our life partner’s career?


Reach out today to find out more about how Shields Meneley Partners can help you summit your own Mount Everest. Whether you choose to take that hypothetically or literally is up to you.