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You can add some of the joy, freedom of retirement to life now

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Q: I’m a few years away from considering retirement. I know I’m lucky to have the option. The problem is, I’ve watched friends who golf, travel and volunteer, then get bored. What do you advise your clients about how and when to retire?

A: I advise my clients to look at the last third of their life in a larger perspective than “just quitting work.” Since our society believes money can make us happy, the idea of having enough money to retire means we’ll be happy, right?

Not always. Before retirement, many clients tell me they feel frustrated, disagree with management and are overworked. Then, after retirement, many feel irrelevant, out of touch and bored. They realize they miss the challenge, meaning and social connections they derived out of work.

The irony is, if we pretend we could all retire at 22, we’d make much more powerful career and interpersonal choices than if we believe we’re trapped because of finances. Imagine a scenario in which you truly could retire tomorrow. What if you could do anything? Notice how thinking along these lines opens up your creativity.

When clients start their own businesses, I always warn them to never make choices regarding their business out of financial fear. Entrepreneurs who make early business decisions out of desperation to cover expenses always sacrifice the long-term profitability and effectiveness of the enterprise.

Even in a job you may consider dead-end, there are opportunities. If you can imagine what you’d do if you retired, you can look for ways to engage in these activities in your current job. When one of my clients was fed up at work, he nursed the impossible dream of putting his company into the cloud. I asked if he’d considered proposing such a project at work. We argued for a few weeks about strategy. He finally proposed to his boss that he head up a minor cloud-based project. Today, he’s a cloud expert in Seattle.

People joke that if you enjoy what you do for a living, then you’ll never work a day in your life – and this is actually true. Unfortunately, when we believe we’re trapped by our paycheck, we never break open the box to consider how to morph what we do now into what we’d prefer to do.

Yes, it takes time. Yes, it takes patience, but at the end of the road you can have the best of both worlds. Your work will keep you growing, relevant and entertained as you enjoy the best of the freedom of retirement while still making a living.

Think of a rich retirement as putting yourself in a position to experience both creativity and freedom. If your work becomes more of your play, you don’t need to stop making money to retire.

The last word(s)

Q: I’m known in my office as the King of the One Liner. I have a reputation for getting the last word. In my last performance review, my boss said he felt I wasn’t a team player. Can’t co-workers get over the fact they were wrong?

A: No. While you’ve been making sure to get the last word, you’ve been permanently losing allies. No temporary satisfaction is worth the long-term alienation of your co-workers.

Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel’s “Workplace Guru” each Monday morning. She’s the author of “Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything” (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.


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