Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I'm Not Living to Build a Resume

If you're anything like me, several of your life decisions have been based on what "looks good on your resume." You may have stayed in a job longer than desired so that future employers won't think you’re a person who jumps from job to job. You may have returned to the workforce, sooner rather than later after starting a family, to avoid having a gap in your resume. You may have taken a promotion because it looks good on your resume, even when the new role took you away from work that you enjoyed doing more.

I hadn't given this topic much thought until last week when I told a friend that the consulting work I'm doing for an amazing company is coming to an end. I had hoped for a permanent part-time position in the company; most likely this isn’t going to happen. My friend's comment: "It's been a great resume builder." 

My nearly knee-jerk response to his comment took me by surprise: "I'm not building a resume; I'm creating a lifestyle! At this stage of life I'm not living to build a resume." I didn't know I felt so strong about this until I said it, which doesn't mean that I don't plan to work in retirement, because I do.

I am a strong advocate for working in retirement. I believe there are too many benefits from work (aside from financial) that contribute to my happiness, sense of purpose, meaning, and community. But this work may never show up on a resume.

How about you? For the past 25-35 years, in what ways has your resume swayed your decisions?

Now it's time to shift your focus from resume building to lifestyle building. Whereas before you may have accepted a job because it looks good on your resume, now you can accept a job because it's what you want to do, whether you get paid or not. Before you may have rejected a job because it was "below" you. Now you can accept any job you want to do regardless of the perceived status. If you think being a short-order cook looks like fun, do it! You have already proven your professional self.

In this next stage of life, ask: "What do I want to get out of working in retirement?" and "If my real goal is to create a life, in what ways does work contribute to this lifestyle?"

One thing I know for sure: I'm no longer going to make life decisions based on how they will look on my resume.