Retirement can be a scary thing. When you walk out the door for the last time, there is a sense of loss, or, more appropriately, a sense that for the first time in virtually your entire adult life, you are alone. Suddenly, those that looked to you for support are now looking to someone else. The people that you huddled with daily now huddle without you. You have the feeling that all the skills that you learned and executed all these years are now without value. That which made you you is no longer valid.
However, at the same time, you inhale a new sense of freedom. All your decisions are now your own, as is your schedule. Your wardrobe suddenly becomes much more casual and you choose what you want to wear, without concern for dress codes. You are free to decide what you want (or don’t want) to do today, and every day. Life really is good.
OK, that being said, I want to preface the above comments with a qualifier. The above are probably true only if you are single. Married men need not apply. You see, as I have indicated in previous posts, you are not really retiring as much as you are changing career fields. So it is best to realize that new skills will have to be acquired and few of your other skills, i.e. leadership, can be applied. There is one, however, that will appear slightly familiar. That is “the meeting”.
Having worked several years for a corporation, if there is one thing I was sure I had mastered, it was the meeting. Since fully one third of my working life was spent in one conference room or another, either holding or attending a meeting, it was my belief that there wasn’t much I didn’t know. Things like preparation and participation were paramount. So it was with optimism that I approached the “family” meeting, anxious to exhibit my expertise.
Needless to say, it didn’t go exactly as planned. It was still a meeting, but the characteristics had changed. For instance, only one person could talk at a time, and it usually wasn’t me. Also, since these meetings seemed to be more like pop quizzes, preparation was not a prerequisite and participation took the form of listening intently.
Over the years, we have had many of these “OK, now listen up” get together’s and, to my recollection, I don’t remember calling any of them. I am usually the invitee and I have found, attendance is not optional. It also became clear that it was not necessary to sit around a conference table. One only had to stand (or sit) still, whether it was in the car, a store, or behind the bathroom door. It doesn’t matter. The communication of ideas, suggestions, requests, and demands, can be made anywhere.
So, to all you former leaders of industry that are now leaving or have left the hallowed halls of business, let me impart one considered observation. Meetings are a lot easier, albeit, no less frequent then they used to be. All you have to do is listen. The hard part, however, is remembering what the hell she said. Or, maybe it’s just me.