Sixteen years ago I officially retired from active employment. I was 49 yrs old then. No, I was not suffering from burnout but from office politics. When driving to work each day was becoming a torment, I knew I had to get out while I still had my boots on.
That was the most productive, exciting and fulfilling 18 years of my life. My last job was so much a part of me, or I, a part of it that even now, most of my dreams are still of the things, places, and people that comprised my career.
I never regretted leaving, yet, because of its being so fulfilling and meaningful, I still pine for it. Accidentally meeting the people I worked with for so long gives me total, albeit momentary, happiness.
I got into the job because I had to support a family. Transforming it into a career was a case of serendipity.
How I started was the same way we all start – through employment or something right after graduation. How we retire years later can be any of two ways – happy and fulfilled or frustrated and beaten.
Either way does not happen overnight, but their seeds are, more or less, sowed at the outset of our jobs. Building a career takes a working lifetime and how it ends, at retirement, is dependent on the choices we make along the way.
When I joined that company I was already determined to succeed. In a sense, I already planted the seeds of success. Luckily, the soil I planted them in allowed them to grow to full maturity and bear fruits.
My case is not unique or rare. In fact, according to a survey done by the Arizona State University Career Center, roughly 75% of the overall workforce is satisfied with their career choices.
How about the rest? I am sure they want to succeed as well; to retire from their careers happy. What about you? You are just starting and are probably retirement is so foreign to you that you couldn’t care less.
If that is your career game plan, then you are heading into the possibility of working all your life in a career that you despise.
Time flies so fast that it is often unnoticed, Very soon you will be middle-aged, your choices will be fewer, and your window of opportunity, narrower. If you are not going to build your nest egg now, you will never be able to do it at 40 and your retiring happy at 60 will be as good as impossible.
The question is “How?”
You can devise your own formula or you can get some ideas from the following. They are not easy. But so is making a career you can retire happy from
1. Keep your options open:
The current business climate and the application of technology has given the job market a radical face lift. Redundancies are becoming common, the pink slip is no longer intimidating; and job lines are becoming longer.
On the other side of the coin, it also spurred the creation of career opportunities not available when I got out of college. Now, work can be done at home, In fact, some companies encourage certain types of office jobs be done at home. Work, as it is defined, is now either offline or online.
More and more people are getting into home-based business with nothing but a computer and an Internet connection and lots and lots of imagination, initiative and drive.
These developments give you a wide choice to build your career on. Keep an open mind and look around. Don’t get married to your job. Divorces are always nasty and costly.