Saturday, September 3, 2011

How to carry the joy from your job into retirement?

I know...retirees all say they are so glad to be shut of that job.  When asked "What do you do all day?"  they answer, "What ever I want?"  It all sounds so free of obligation and stress.  

Then one day it occurs to them the no-stress is kind of stressful too.  Lack of purpose or long days stretching out before them with nothing they want to do can be boring.  This is when a retiree begins to ask themselves if retirement was such a good idea after all.  Many return to work at jobs they don't really like because they don't know what else to do. That is when they need to fall back on the things that actually had them choosing their career in the first place.  They need to ask themselves what it was that they liked about the job they left.

Open the window to retirement joy!
All I can tell you about is what I know.  I have been retired for 14 years now.  I was a teacher of kindergartners for the last five years of my career.  An opportunity fell into my lap when I was not looking.  A curriculum director invited me to participate with all the other kindergarten teachers in our district in a program that was designed for 5 year old's.  We used what was called "developmentally appropriate practices" gearing everything we did around the social, emotional and intellectual level of the children we taught.

I fell in love with this job and learned much more than I taught.  Oh, there were challenges.  Children that were hyper active and those that did not speak english filled the room.  Each day was full of surprises.  Still, when I talk about it I always smile.  I had a wonderful teaching partner that also acted as a mentor.  I always knew what I loved about that job. 
  • I loved the research and learning.  
  • I loved writing curriculum.  
  • I loved seeing the patterns and making connections between what I learned and what I could apply in the classroom.
  • I loved the creative part of the program
  • I love helping parents find their way in the rearing of their children.
I did not realize how natural those skills fit into the writing life I started with this blog.  The research, sharing of idea, connecting research with the needs of retirees and the creativity that goes hand in hand with the process all fill my days.  I feel like I am teaching every day but I am doing it because I want to, when I want to and at my own pace.

So this is what I think...if you are having a hard time adjusting to all that leisure, remember what you have always loved to do and do that even if it was part of your old job.  A purposeful life is a happy life. 

Happy retirement.



  1. Great advice! I think that often what we enjoyed about our jobs is also what we have enjoyed doing in other times and aspects of our life.

  2. Good advice indeed - one thing I think that is important to do is make sure you do not retire too soon. Even if you have the money to do so, do you have the creativity to keep yourself busy for the next 30-40 years? You need to plan ahead and find some interests before you retire to help assure that enjoyable, satisfying retirement.

  3. Thank you for your comments. I agree with you Dave. It may be that retirement can give you the income and the luxury to find a job that you love, love, love. That is what has happened for me. It may pay less that the original job with the retirement income who cares??

    Come back soon.


  4. what about references? when one leaves a job and have lost contact with those last people you worked with, how do you get references for the in retirement job? that is holding many back.

  5. Sandra
    You have a point but with all the ways to find people on the internet I would think contacting people would be easier than ever.

    However, if you have been off the job market for an extended period of time references from volunteering or even friends can help. If you are "self employed" in the free lance field like I am you need to show a product.

    Be well.



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