Don’t Retire, Rewire!

Jane Brody wrote “Encore careers where you ‘rewire’, not retire” for The New York Times which was featured in The Sunday Times, 19 October 2008. She referred to a book titled “Don’t Retire, Rewire!” written by Jeri Sedlar and Rick Miners.

When we retire say at 62 years old, we have a good 20 years to live if we have good health and medical care. 20 years are long and it should not be wasted without active engagement of mind and body on a daily basis. One should not retire but rewire to re-energise after decades of full-time work.

The book provides step-by-step methodology on how to rewire. I present here some nuggets from this book.

Failing to Plan

A number left their jobs on retirement thinking that it is high time to relax and laze around. When one has no time-fulfilling activities, his cognitive intelligence and social skills will not be challenged. His psychological and emotional needs will not be fulfilled.

Do you consider your vision for retirement? Can you visualise what it will be like to retire? What is your typical week like on retirement? How are your friends and family going to be featured in your retirement?

Do you have a plan for retirement? It is never too early to plan ahead even when you are still working till the retirement date.

Rewire instead of Retire

The authors provide aspects of what rewire entails:

  • Staying vital
  • Using your strength and abilities, your gifts
  • Staying active in work related to your field
  • Working at something new
  • Doing what you love
  • Staying connected to what makes you special

Search within yourself

You will need to understand who you are and what drive you in your career and life in general. These drivers if fulfilled will provide satisfaction and meaning to life. Life will be worth living and to be enjoyed for the remaining years.

Each person has different dominant drivers. Some examples of drivers:

  • to be competitive
  • to have accomplishments
  • to be creative
  • to have identity
  • to pursue a passion
  • to be connected to others
  • to be constantly learning
  • to mentor others

Focus on 5 dominant drivers and prioritise them.

Settle on Activities

What will you do on retirement? What are the activities which you can do which will satisfy your 5 dominant drivers? You have to ask yourself how to fill your days with meaningful activities which will leave you feeling good. Some activities may include picking up a new skill, health exercises, volunteering your service, reading, social networking, consulting on piecemeal basis, etc.

Discovery of personal dreams and interests

We have dreams and interests that were set aside while we are working for a living. Do we know ourselves to discover our hidden aptitudes and talents? To know yourself is to help you rewire. Knowing yourself will require you to list your strengths and skills based on accomplishments. You can then search on what you should do on retirement.

Look at possibilities and take actions

For each possibility of activity, create a possibility profile.

Is the activity able to

  • satisfy your drivers
  • have the desired outcome
  • capitalise on your strengths
  • tap on your skills?

Further considerations will include

  • money consideration 
  • time commitment
  • impact on your family
  • any downside risks.

Some possible activities include:

  • volunteer your service at a health care institution
  • write a book
  • create e-commerce website
  • teach students in creative art
  • travel and blog about it
  • learn photography
  • attend social networking functions

You have to work this out yourself based on your unique circumstances and the methodology prescribed by the authors of the book.

Credits go to the authors of the book “Don’t Retire, Rewire!”

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