When I retired four years ago, I was looking forward to a time when I was on my own schedule and could do things that I did not do or delayed doing because of my work schedule. In fact, I had told my dad a statement that tremendously amused him when I said that “work was interfering with the rest of my life” Never did I promise that I would never work again but I left the door open to do some part time work that would allow me the flexibility I desired and and would give me the opportunity to stay socially connected and have a small income as an added bonus.
I did not rush into a part time position. In fact, it took four years for me to accept a position that allowed me to work the schedule that met our needs. I was not earnestly looking for employment because I was not yet ready to commit to any position at that time. Like many retirees, I offer three common reasons why retirees return to work for an unspecified period of time.
Retirees like to remain connected socially even though they are no longer involved in the day to day routine of the workaday world to which they were connected before retirement. Returning to your job to visit old colleagues, even though encouraged to do so when you retire, is not usually welcomed. Once you leave your workplace, it is probably better to cut the ties and move on to forming new associations. You are in a new phase of your life and although you may have contact superficially with some of your former colleagues, a new position allows you to build a new network of friends and associations that can enrich your life in retirement. Not to mention, many employers welcome a mature perspective into their work setting and it balances the staff with a broader view in the workplace.
Adds Purpose and Fulfillment to the Retiree’s Life
When the appointed day to retire comes upon us, often there are mixed feelings and a sense of dread or anxiety as to how one will manage his/her new found “free time.” After being dormant for a while, you may feel that you have no sense of purpose or do not feel fulfilled with your present schedule. Retirement can be a time of learning new things, trying new things and finding ways to feel needed and productive. Some retirees find fulfillment by working a few hours per week perhaps in a field entirely unrelated to your former career. Many retirees choose to work in a field that is service oriented because they enjoy contact with people and feel gratified in working with others as mentors or counselors. Working as a tutor, teacher’s assistant, substitute teacher are just a few of the positions that seniors enjoy and find gratifying and satisfying. For some, the dedication and enjoyment of such positions far outweighs the satisfaction they received from their career positions. Perhaps, because the employer is often truly appreciative of the retiree’s presence and contribution on the job, retirees feel fulfilled in their new found “after retirement” position.
Added income is of course a welcome benefit of working in your post retirement years, especially in light of our current economic climate. Any money that supplements your pension, social security or company benefits is certainly welcome and for many, the added income can help round out the budget. Some retirees choose to allocate a certain amount of their income to specific goals such as financing a vacation or perhaps giving gifts to their family members including grandchildren, charities or any number of projects. The added income allows one to splurge on that particular item of desire every now and then! For some retirees, working part time may delay dipping into your 401 plan or pension plan. You may even be able to wait for the mandatory age of 70 before withdrawing retirement funds.
I currently work two days a week for a total of 12 hours at a local preschool. I work Mondays and Fridays and the schedule allows me to plan other activities and appointments Tuesdays through Thursdays. I work with toddlers which is close to what I said I wanted to do when I retired. I had intended to “hold babies” in a pediatric unit of a local hospital but I find that I am just as fulfilled in my present position. My employer shows gratitude and appreciation for my part time role just as much as she appreciates the full time staff. For me, the job gives me a chance to socialize with different age groups, adds purpose and fulfillment to my life and extra income that certainly is a benefit. How long I will continue to work in my post retirement years is known only to God. What is more important is I am thankful for the opportunity to share my talents and abilities and do what I can to influence the next generation. Hopefully, I will influence a life in ways that I may never know.