Want to keep on working past retirement age? If you want to remain in the game, people need to know you are still playing. Here's what do to.
Most people look forward to retirement. Some people, however, do not. In fact, surprising as it may seem, there are those who are opting to put off retirement as long as possible.
Reasons for this increasingly popular phenomenon abound. Not having enough money to retire is the big one. If your investments have suffered, or if like many baby boomers you have failed to save sufficiently, you may be compelled to keep on working.
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Or you may simply want to keep on working. If you truly love your work, if you believe you have more to contribute, if you still feel that old passion, if you crave mental stimulation or social connection, your best choice may be to stay professionally active for as long as possible. After all, nowadays, when many people are living longer and healthier lives, it is starting to make sense to work a few years longer.
You may face a problem though, in that your colleagues and employers could be fully expecting you to retire, on schedule. Societal expectations being what they are, co-workers may already be cutting you out of the loop or supervisors may already be bypassing you when considering promotions or new projects. Even worse, people may already be jockeying for your position! What to do?
First, be open and upfront about your intention to keep on working. If you want to remain in the game, people need to know you are still playing.
Second, it will help considerably if you make sure to keep current on new technologies and new developments in your field. While you’re at it, put yourself in the running for new programs, the lengthier the better.
Third, at annual performance reviews (and at all appropriate meetings and conversations), be not only frank about displaying your determination to stick around for the foreseeable future, but be crystal clear about the skills and value you are still capable of delivering. Spell it out, if you have to.
Finally, whatever you do, try not to look or act “old.” Cultivate friendships and alliances with colleagues younger than yourself. And do consider updating your hairstyle, eyeglasses and wardrobe. A makeover can be affirming, even fun, and it’s a sign that you are still with it.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.