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  Jane Miller


Articles -- Why wait?

When you’re in a job that you don’t enjoy, retirement sounds wonderful. But once you get there, you’ll find that you want to do something more than just sleep ‘til noon and watch TV.

Many retirees have discovered that, even if their pension income is more than adequate, they want to do something that brings joy and meaning to their lives. Some have started their own businesses; others are getting training in a completely different field from the one they had worked in.

And the amazing thing is that, in this enjoyable occupation, many are now earning more than they ever did. And many are saying to themselves, “Why didn’t I discover this career forty years ago? Why did I stay in that meaningless, unfulfilling job?”

So the question for younger people is, “Do you really want to wait until you’re retired to look for an occupation that makes you happy?” What if you allowed yourself a couple of hours a week to explore possibilities? You may start by finding a hobby that interests you, or you may start to do some volunteer work, or start a special interest group.

When I was young, I started teaching a yoga class to a group of colleagues at work. This could have turned into a full-time job if I had pursued it. Not all side-lines turn into a career, but if you keep exploring various interests, it is likely that one will eventually blossom. For me, it was my coaching career, which I did as a side-line for two years before I dropped my day-job.

Here’s an exercise…

  1. Brainstorm. Tape four blank unruled pages together. Then write down all the things you enjoy doing and all of your interests. Jot these ideas randomly in different locations and orientations all over the page. Fill the entire page. Write for at least ten minutes. Pause and then write some more.

  2. Focus. Look at what you’ve written and start to circle the things that you like best - the things that light you up.

  3. Short list. Now draw lines between items that are linked in some way. And then create a list of these groups (with the sub-items in brackets). This list is much shorter.

  4. Plan. Think about how you can bring more of these experiences and activities into your life, and make a plan with action steps and timeline.

  5. Follow up. Set up reminders of your plan and your goal. Inspiring images and quotes often help to keep you motivated. Also, get an accountability partner to check in with you regularly and ask if you’re sticking to your plan.

Even if you’re not ready to go for a full career change plan, just doing more of the things you enjoy will get you moving in the right direction. And it’s guaranteed to bring more joy into your life. So, why wait?

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