Image captured in the Wynwood District of Miami, FL
There are three primary methods to learning – auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. These methods also apply to the way we express ourselves. In life, I’ve learned that images can speak as loudly as words. Specifically, when it comes to blogging, I’ve come to realize that the images I choose to share in a post are an additional way to communicate because people can interpret the images in various ways.
One of the features I’d like to include on this blog is a wordless Wednesday post. I’m not exactly sure how it got started but it’s the idea that on Wednesdays, bloggers post a photograph with no explanation except for the photo credit. Hopefully the image will inspire or just make someone think about life.
Hope you enjoy this first image! I’m looking forward to sharing more with you.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby in the lobby of her financial planner’s office
That’s why Keith and I started the Unretirement Project.
Years ago, I was the director of human resources, working for a major hotel chain. Our outside legal counsel would call and ask for a favor once a year. It was for lunch reservations on New Year’s Day at our restaurant. One time, I asked him about it and he told me that he and his wife sat down (on New Year’s Day) for a very long lunch to talk about life – their personal and professional lives. They talked about the things they wanted to do and stop doing.
Fast forward several years. When Keith and I started our HR consulting firm, ITM Group, we decided that talking about our business and personal lives was something we should do. Think of it as our own strategic planning session. In addition, we needed to talk about retirement. Specifically, what we wanted our retirement to look like.
Over the years, we’ve realized that the kind of retirement our parents had wasn’t in the cards for us. You know, work for the same company for 20+ years, announce your retirement, then hang out with friends, play cards, etc. There are a few reasons for this: 1) I’ll admit that I’m a workaholic and I cannot imagine not working. 2) We fell in love with this thing called blogging.
In 2008, we started a blog called HR Bartender. Keith wanted me to start writing an electronic newsletter for our consulting business. I was a bit reluctant to do so. No, the truth is I was a lot reluctant to do so. So, I mentioned blogging. I didn’t know anything about how to start a blog. Over the years, HR Bartender has done pretty well. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has named it one of the Top 5 HR and Business Blogs read by human resources professionals.
So, we decided that we wanted our “retirement” or in this case, unretirement, to include blogging. Hence, the Unretirement Project was born.
A lot of people post pictures of the sunrise on their first day of retirement representing a new beginning in their lives. I decided to post a pen because I think unretirement is about rewriting the rules of retirement. I used this old pen in my corporate life and my consulting life. I have no intention of getting rid of it. I’ll just use it for new things. Unretirement is about finding more time to do the things you love and less time on the things that are a PITA.
I’m not exactly sure where our unretirement journey will take us. But I’m looking forward to finding out. One thing I do know is that unretirement doesn’t start at a specific age or time. You control your unretirement. The question is “Do you know what you want your unretirement to look like?”
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby
We remember what retirement used to look like. One day, you just stop working and start retiring – living off your company pension with a little help from Social Security. That’s what our parents did. Today, for the most part, all of that has changed.
To help us understand, we might want to look at what retirement really is. The Cambridge Dictionary defines retirement as “the point at which someone stops working”. If we accept that as the true definition of retirement, we can then understand the need for something new. The need for unretirement.
Unretirement is the move from working full-time to working . . . less. But it’s more than that. It’s working, but doing something we want to do. And getting paid for it. Most of all, unretirement is earning the opportunity to live on our own terms.
Best of all? It’s exactly what the labor market wants from us.
Right now, ten thousand people reach retirement age every day according to a recent Pew Research study. The National Institute on Aging reports that, on average, only 33 percent of retirees continue working full-time. The result is a growing labor shortage that is creating a real need for our skills.
In most cases, businesses don’t want to hire more and more full-time employees. But they are looking for skilled workers who want to help out and take on some of the work. This is called the gig economy, and finance company Intuit predicts that, by 2020, 40 percent of U.S. workers will fall into this category. In fact, entire enterprises such as Lyft and Airbnb have risen out of gig employment.
That’s where unretirement comes in. It’s identifying that encore career and understanding the best way for it to fit into our retirement life. Wikipedia defines encore career as “work in the second half of life that combines continued income, greater personal meaning, and social impact.”
Unretirement is also focusing on our health and wellness so we can get the most out of the fun things we want to do in retirement. We may have to upgrade a skill or two along the way. But no successful unretirement comes without a cost.
It’s time for a fresh perspective about life after work. It’s time for unretirement.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while traveling in Maui, HI