You put in your time. Worked the 12-hour days, the weekends, and you’ve accomplished a lot. You’ve helped the company grow and received your share of promotions and attaboys. But maybe, just maybe, it’s time to explore new options, to combine your favorite hobby or pastime with something that brings in money. Everyone in their 50s or 60s has felt the urge. But how do you know when it’s time to retire? Here are some signs to help you decide:
The burn out. You’ve simply got too many “miles on the odometer” to pull those 12-hour days and weekends at the office. You’ve tried the energy drinks and they give you a 2-hour boost and leave you with a 5-hour crash. You find yourself staring at your computer like a zombie, and you’re a near narcoleptic in those late afternoon meetings. It’s time.
The zone out. You can do your job practically in your sleep. There simply are no more challenges to overcome, no more “hills to take.” Your job skills and knowledge exceed the job. You may be close to the top of the ladder, but the very top is far too political for your taste. You used to like mentoring newbies, but in this economy, the company hasn’t hired anyone in nearly a year. In short, the thrill is gone.
The comfort zone. The lunches keep getting longer and the workload keeps getting lighter. You keep hearing things like, “So and so can handle that” and “the computer program does that now.” It could be the boss is getting ready to outplace you. You find yourself all caught up by noon with nothing to do but water the plants or wander from office to office talking politics, sports or vacations.
You go surfing. Web surfing becomes an obsession. You start looking into alternate part-time careers. You check out hobbies that generate income. You build files and folders on your computer that detail how to get started. This may lead you to take some courses at a community college. You talk to your spouse and relatives about jettisoning your job to get their reaction.
The angel on your shoulder. It’s that little voice in your head that keeps saying, “Time to get out, try something new. Leave before you keel over at your desk and the EMTs jump start you with 400-watt seconds of paddles to the chest.” You need to listen to that voice. Because you know it’s never been wrong. It told you to take this job 10 years ago, but now it’s saying you’ve had enough. Listen to it. Heed its warning.
Just because you’re 60 or 65 doesn’t mean you have to settle for “chewing the leather.” Today’s seniors have a wealth of options for post retirement careers. Got some suggestions? Include them in the comments section below.