Planning for the end of your career

Penny Whitelock

Planning for the end of your career is not something most of us think about regularly. Society concentrates on the here and now, which is echoed throughout the pension scheme changes in the UK, and also complacency regarding entering a new job or perhaps the dreaded feel of being pushed out of the door with your arm behind your back.

We often concentrate on the job at hand. Focusing on what exactly your current job requires from you, whether that is time, money, effort… most people overlook the reality that one day, you may be nobody.

Perhaps you are coming to the end of your career, self-satisfied with the prospect of finally being able to enjoy the things in life you have not yet had time to do. What is often forgotten is the unplanned experience of consequences, such as loss of identity, purpose and power.

Penny Whitelock, Managing Director and Founder of Improve Managers deals with the pressing issues of end of career every day. Having gone through redundancy from a prestigious job of Managing Director of Auto Trader, Penny is now a qualified coach specialising in mentoring and training those who undergo a planned or perhaps sudden exit from employment.

Penny says; “How well you live in retirement depends on how well you plan today. I am not talking about financially although that cannot be ignored. I am talking about living – doing things, being motivated, interested and interesting. Here’s a starter for 10 – what do you want to retire from and what do you want to retire to?

“Start personal life planning now – I will repeat that – start personal life planning now. People have very different experiences of retirement- some retire well, others don’t.”

Penny continues; “Think about Gary Lineker versus Gazza. Both retired from playing the game, both knew they would retire, one has gone on to carve out a career for himself the other has lurched from tragic episode to tragic episode. This is an extreme example but illustrates the point. One remained in the past, one moved into the future. Which of these two would you prefer to be aligned to in your retirement?”

To start your life plan Penny states that you do need to face up to the truth about your expectations of the future. When you think about retirement what do you think? Long days in the garden, the golf course or lots of lovely cruises, looking after grandchildren, DIY, reading, exercise? An endless list…

How long will you be retired – are you planning a year out then finding a new job , are you 55, 65 or 75 now – how long will you live? 10 years, 20 years, more? Are you going to spend long days in the garden or on the golf course for the next 20 years? Probably not – so what are you going to do?

For 11 years HSBC have prepared a retirement review, here are a few figures from it:

  • 43% of UK workers retire fully straight from work.
  • 47% semi retire
  • 10% never retire (because they cannot afford to do so)
  • 73% fail to realise at least one of their aspirations (travel, holidays or new car) because they can’t afford it.

Penny Whitelock has worked with both pre retired and post retired individuals. A qualified coach and experienced business executive she understands the challenges faced by executives when they retire. How under prepared for this life changing experience they are. How unprepared for this event their partners are! Marriage breakdowns, boredom, depression, feelings of worthlessness

People need to feel that they have significance and that they are making a contribution in their lives to maintain a high level of well-being. Penny holds work base workshops or one-to-one coaching sessions face-to-face or by Skype ideally in the pre-retirement stage, but definitely in the retirement stage when people start to face up to the reality of a badly planned experience. One of the starting point tools to use is the Wheel of Life – take a look at it now for yourself to start learning how to manage the next chapter of your lif

Penny says; “The Wheel of Life is used to identify where you are now in major sectors of your life. The sectors can be anything that matters to you. You then score each sector out of 10 to give you an indication of where you are most and least satisfied. This gives you the opportunity to consider what each part of your life would be like if it was a 10 and you can start to build the stepping stones of actions that you want to take.  This is a core tool that a coach will work on with you.”

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