Sometimes I wonder if I should be officially retired. People seem to think it’s a great thing to do. But I don’t. And I know many others who don’t. The Freedom 55 commercials really had an effect on us. But is that vision practical or truly universal?
“A survey by Ipsos Reid, conducted for Sun Life Financial of Canada and released last year, indicated that Canadians have not seen age 55 as a realistic retirement benchmark for some time, and that the age they feel it will be possible to retire is drawing further away. In the first year the research was conducted, in 2008, 51 per cent of Canadian workers surveyed over the age of 30 said they “expected to be fully retired, not working for money,” by age 66. In 2010, the number of respondents who had that expectation was nearly cut in half: only 28 per cent expected to attain “freedom” at 66.”
So whether we’re wondering if we should stop working, or stop working at our current job, let’s consider:
Am I Using my Signature Strengths?
Am I in a Job, a Career or a Calling? (this is for another post)
From a VIA (http://http://www.viacharacter.org) blog:
There is an increasing body of research into the application of strengths, which suggests that a strengths approach is having a positive impact on the workplace for both employees and organisations. Where a strengths approach has been introduced into organisations, it has been shown to increase: • Employee engagement • Job satisfaction • Wellbeing • Productivity • Achieving goals more effectively Further benefits have been that employees are also reported to have fewer days absent due to illness, which is becoming of greater concern with the rising number of cases of employees being signed off work due to stress or burnout.
So I took the VIA strengths survey, and considered: What do my strengths say about what I want to do now, instead of retiring?
Here are some thoughts related to my strengths. You can take the survey yourself for free at: http://www.viacharacter.org/www/Character-Strengths-Survey
One of your signature strengths is perspective, also referred to as wisdom. You see the big picture, and people come to you for advice or counsel. You are insightful, and you have a way of looking at the world that helps make sense of things. You can address important and difficult questions about life’s biggest issues with a clarity that others value.
In coaching this is a truly valuable strength. I can use this strength in other places, but it seems perfect for the coaching I’m doing now. If I retired I wouldn’t have such a great chance to enjoy using one of my top strengths.
Love of Learning
One of your higher strengths is love of learning, which means you have a passion for learning for its own sake. It is most present when you are mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge. When you learn, you take your initial curiosity and interest in a topic to ever-deepening levels.
I wasn’t learning anything new in my previous job. So I could have retired, I guess. But instead I took two coaching courses, one on business coaching, one on positive psychology coaching. What fun! And what a great body of new knowledge, or expansion of existing knowledge.
I could have used my Love of Learning strength at my last job, theoretically. But it had lost its appeal and from the VIA website:
“One of the best ways to improve your love of learning is to make the topic area or subject matter of personal interest to you.”
So, if you’re not thrilled with your job, possibly even though you once were, consider a change. Not necessarily a stop, no matter what your age. I like to adapt the saying, “A change is as good as a rest.” To
“A change is as good as a retirement.”
And, of course, use your strengths in jobs you like. You’ll like them even more and do even better.