When I speak to a group of pre-retirees, I only have to say, "imagine Sunday evenings," and then pause a few seconds, to trigger a wave of laughter and sighs from the participants. Instantly people understand the wonderful feeling of approaching a new week without facing impossible deadlines, micro-managing supervisors, stressful commutes, etc.
By the time we've been in the workplace for 30+ years, most of us are more than ready to give up these unfavorable aspects of employment. But there's one lingering characteristic about work that is difficult to let go—our work identity. We become so attached to our work role that we don't know who we are without work. This can be a real problem when adjusting to retirement.
Think back to the workplace for a minute. We're all familiar with the annual job performance review—an evaluation of how we measure up to our stated goals and objectives. Now I invite you to think of another type of performance review—your eulogy. One strategy that might help to release some of your attachment to the work role is to fast-forward to your final performance review.
What's important to people when they face death? Do they focus on their accomplishments or do they talk about the little things? As Arianna Huffington says in her book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, “Our eulogies are always about the other [non-work] stuff: what we gave, how we connected, how much we meant to our family and friends, small kindnesses, lifelong passions, and the things that made us laugh.”
How do you want to live on in the “minds and hearts of others?”
If we can acknowledge that work is a role—a role that will require less of our time in retirement—then we’re free to examine other roles. It’s often these other roles by which we will be remembered in the final performance review.
Copyright 2017. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.