Retiring Early: Planning Out Your Exit Strategy

cover-3D

“I was ready! In my early 40s, I started thinking about retiring early. I sat through my organization’s mid-career retirement classes and had gotten several retirement estimates (i.e., different retirement years). I had kept myself marketable by continuing to take advantage of career opportunities and obtaining additional education in my professional field. Some co-workers mocked me because they said any scholarly education would not advance my career.

Yet, I felt that professional growth and a continual learning mindset would only increase my value in the market. I had developed an exit strategy. Working with my friend (Dr. Gary Roberts), I had mapped out a future purpose in academia. I could fully utilize my professional experience while at the same time applying my other skill sets. However, things did not work out as planned. The time and opportunities did not align with my plans. In fact, it took 9 years and more than 200 job applications for the exit strategy to work. Because I was patient and adaptable, God opened up a door, which was much better than my initial plan. Having an exit strategy was invaluable!” 

Are you happy with your current job? In general, US employees are satisfied with their work life. According to a 2016 Pew Research Center study, about half (49%) of American workers say they are very satisfied with their current job. Yet, 30% of them are somewhat satisfied, and the remainder says they are slightly dissatisfied (9%) or very dissatisfied (6%). Continue reading

Advertisements

Working Professionals Need Goalsetting for Their Families Too

 baby-boomers-finances-050212

In these difficult economic times, more and more working professionals are forced to spend time away from their families. Other professionals are advancing their personal agendas in hopes of getting to the top of their profession. This blog discussion examines how working professionals can implement goal setting for their own families despite their hectic schedules.

Like many professionals caught up in my work life and work family, individuals often do not take the time to use these proven principles in their own homes. Many couples are more selfish than their children are and don’t provide a healthy, nurturing environment for them.  This reality speaks to the personal ambition and priorities of the individual within a family structure.  Writer J.A. Littler speaks to the material motives and priorities of our society: “Everyone worships something.

While there may be no official religions or cults devoted to cars, money, fashion, or music, these pleasures of life and facets of society are all too often the overwhelming focus of people’s time, energy, and emotions.”  Our society tells them they can have it all—money, power, and fame without any sacrifices.

Sadly, many working professionals provide their children a great standard of life; however, these parents are often setting their children up for failure.  Many times the results of their labor are children who feel entitled and materialistic. The truth is something is being sacrificed in lieu of a successful career…your family. The following strategy is provided:

  1. Evaluate your family situation based on how family members’ priorities are spending most of their current time (i.e. work, community activities).
  2. Establish the desired vision for your family (the ideal family model).
  3. Develop priorities for the family in which all family members will comply.
  4. Create a family mission statement.
  5. Develop family goals each year from a holistic viewpoint (family, career, spiritual life, finances, etc.).
  6. Monitor results based on the desired family vision.

Families are the foundation for thriving civilizations, and strong communities are built by strong marriages. Consequently, working professionals need to challenge themselves to provide a more holistic approach for their lives. In this discussion, we evaluated how working professionals can implement goal setting for their own families.

Often, this reality is about balancing competing priorities. Les Brown, author of How to Become the Person You Always Wanted to Be-No Matter What the Obstacle, notes, “Your values are not set by government or church leaders. Your values give you consistency in the way you approach life…By holding to your beliefs, you can always stay on track toward your dreams.”  Hopefully, working professionals can make these life changes for their families before it is too late.

Please feel free to share your insight on this subject.

© 2015 by Daryl D. Green

Guest Blogger – The Retirement of the Baby Boomers….real or fantasy?

My initial thoughts on the pending dilemma of retiring Baby Boomers within my industry were that of alarm.  The knowledge and skill set that would be lost is an  issue that most US institutions face daily.  My background is in the engineering field where I have always worked with the Utility, Industrial, and Government markets.

 Therefore, when I work for a company that averages 36% of their workforce being Baby Boomers, I find myself cringing.  Anyone who works in a diverse age group of people (or to be politically correct, we’ll call it a “multigenerational” workforce) know that these work environments can breed misunderstanding and conflict and may compromise growth.

And as I begun thinking this dilemma through, a few points cropped in this crazy blonde brain of mine….that’s right, I do have real moments of clarity at times!

  1. With the financial and economic crisis these past few years, many soon-to-be retirees are choosing to stay employed.
  2. The trend of salaries for Baby Boomers is significantly higher than that of entry level employees.  Therefore, my company is noticing a decrease in project awards due to the fact we are out pricing ourselves with our competitors.
  3. With the Baby Boomers continuing to work longer, we are not bringing in younger employees to mentor out of college.  The employee pool is becoming stagnant. 

So what is the answer?  Is the issue of retiring Baby Boomers really a crisis or is it just an adjustment period for employers to incorporate new blood?  Dave Bernard of U.S. News stated that retirement can be a time to explore creative new avenues, and put the skills you have cultivated throughout your career to work in new ways (June, 2012). 

He is dead on when I notice that many retirees are returning back into the engineering field as “consultants” or they are reducing their hours to continue their insurance coverage and reducing their pace a little.

However, the demands on today’s knowledge workers are more mental than physical. Many baby boomers, who have already begun to reach age 65, are far from physically exhausted and often have much more to give (Bernard, 2012).  

Whatever happens, the baby boom retirement crisis is bound to have its unexpected turns. As they age, they’ll surely continue to change the economy, though the effects are hard to predict (Gelinas, 2011).   Employers today must strategize on how to best incorporate the knowledge skills from these employees through Mentoring programs or Internships. 

Ultimately, we must stay competitive in the marketplace to keep the jobs here at home.  

References:

Bernard, D. (2012, June).  Baby Boomers Search for Second Careers.  U.S. News.  (http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/On-Retirement/2012/06/01/baby-boomers-search-for-second-careers).  

Gelinas, N. (2011, November).  As baby boomers retire, the times will be a-changin.’   The Los Angeles Times.  (http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/06/opinion/la-oe-gelinas-baby-boomers-retire-20111106).

Please share your comments with this industry leader.

ABOUT THE BLOGGER

 

Brandi Reilly currently works for Mesa Associates, Inc., a multidiscipline engineering design firm based out of Knoxville, TN.   Her experience spans 16 years in engineering, project management, and consulting services.  She graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering and recently completed her MBA at Lincoln Memorial University in 2011.  She has completed her Project Management Professional (PMP) accreditation and is currently pursuing her Professional Engineering (PE) license.  

(c) 2012 by Dr. Daryl D. Green

The Baby Boomer Bow

The clock keeps on ticking as many Baby Boomers consider retirement.  If many retire, it will leave a huge void in leadership for most organizations. With the rocky rollercoaster ride of the stock market, Baby Boomers don’t enjoy life as much because of the decrease in their disposable income. Some individuals have the extra burden of caring for parents, children, and even grandparents.  

These realities of life keep Baby Boomers working well beyond their anticipated retirement. Andy Hines, the director of Customer Projects at the Social Technologies, predicts that Baby Boomers will refine the meaning of retirement and notes, “U.S. Baby Boomers are choosing post-work lifestyles that don’t resemble the stereotype of the quaint, restful senior citizen.” In fact, Baby Boomers are the top leaders of most organizations and will find it difficult to separate themselves from their positions of power and influence.

Other observers believe that Baby Boomers will leave graciously and pass the baton to the next generation of leaders. I have my own doubts about the outcome. Columnist Daniel Kadlec wrote a USA Today article, “‘Me Generation’” becomes ‘We Generation,’” about the virtue of this Baby Boomer transformation. A Department of Labor report, “Futurework: Trends and Challenges for the Work in the 21st Century,” reveals that this rapid demographic shift will impact the future dynamics of organizations.

 Yet, many seasoned experts, who are primarily Baby Boomers, downplay the impact of the younger generation. This observation goes to the heart of the “Me Generation.” Based on my past career experience, many of these individuals will struggle to relinquish power and influence over their organizations. Therefore, we must wait to see if this generation follows through on these claims.

Are Baby Boomers now transformed into “We Generation” leaders? Clearly, the storyline is incomplete because we do not understand how Baby Boomers will respond to these future changes. Unlike hard science, futurism provides a window of many possibilities. Some people paint a smooth transition of power for the Baby Boomer generation. Others don’t! What if Baby Boom managers refuse to relinquish their positions and neglect the development of future leaders?  Therefore,  many different scenarios will continue to play out in various settings and industries.

 

Will organizations be able to cope with a massive exodus of Baby Boomers? Can Baby Boomers leave authority and title behind since these things so easily defined many of them?

 © 2011 by Daryl D. Green

Doing Me Right, Boomer

In Spike Lee’s 1989 acclaimed movie “Do the Right Thing,” he places the characters at the center of making difficult decisions. It’s a classic drama—and a perfect way to continue our generational discussions!

During the hottest day of the summer, life forever changes at Sal’s pizzeria in Brooklyn. Two customers demand that Sal change his “Wall of Fame.” The confrontation heats up to racial slurs and physical threats. Violence erupts! Da Mayor, a street bum, encourages the mob to make good decisions.

However, Mookie (Spike Lee) opts to follow his emotions; it changed the dynamics of the situation. The 1980’s movie classic highlights the racial tension between two ethic groups. In the movie, Da Mayor provides Mookie with some advice: “Doctor, always do the right things.”  Given another chance, Mookie might have changed his actions. Unfortunately, too many managers won’t.

Are today’s managers willing to make the best decision so that future managers are primed for success, not defeat? It’s an interesting thought when you consider the possible generational volcano that may erupt at any time.

Several years ago, I read Daniel Kadlec’s column about the Baby Boomer transformation from being a “Me Generation” to a “We Generation.” Although I applauded Kadlec’s insight, I was hesitant to make this great leap of faith in the Baby Boomers yet. Let me say that this belief should not be conceived as ‘hating.’ I am Gen X as you might not know. I have used environmental scanning to witness the significant demographic shifts in our nation. Are Baby Boomers now ready to relinquish their stronghold of leadership?

We can’t be certain due to that fact that the storyline is incomplete. Let’s wait until the economy settles. With the rocky rollercoaster ride of the stock market, Baby Boomers don’t enjoy life as much because of the decrease in their disposable income. Some individuals have the extra burden of caring for parents and children. These realities of life keep Baby Boomers working well beyond their desires for retirement.

In the past, Baby Boomers have been early trend setters. A study from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College explains that the average retirement age in the U.S. is 63. Unfortunately, this retirement study reveals that many individuals will need to work longer so that they will have adequate retirement reserves.

Andy Hines, the director of Customer Projects at Social Technologies, predicts that Baby Boomers will refine the meaning of retirement and notes, “U.S. Baby Boomers are choosing post-work lifestyles that don’t resemble the stereotype of the quaint, restful senior citizen.” As you know, Baby Boomers are the top leaders of most organizations and will find it difficult to separate themselves from their positions of power and influence. Will they be willing to make the right decisions for their successors or themselves? 

Other observers believe that Baby Boomers will leave graciously and pass the baton to the next generation of leaders. I have my own doubts about the outcome.

If Baby Boomers extend their stay in organizations and maintain their leadership positions, what do you predict the response of leaders in waiting? How can organizations address this issue without inflaming Baby Boomer leadership and not losing future leaders who refuse to wait?

© 2010 by Daryl D. Green

Countering the Age of Narcissism

I try to pay attention to the game as the assistant coach. However, I am bombarded by begging from players on the bench: “Brother Green, can I get back into the game?” I try to ignore by pointing: “Ask the coach.” Every weekend was like déjà vu for me. A bunch of 8th graders were trying to tell us they were just as good as high school athletes.

These 8th graders were undersized and no match for more experienced ‘ballers.’ The basketball league was designed for high school students. I felt they should be graceful to be allowed to play with our high schoolers. Instead, it was a steady stream of complaints and ingratitude from some 8th graders. I wondered how I got stuck with Gen Next.

Today’s organizations face unprecedented competition from all fronts. Many institutions desperately need to infuse their organizations with fresh leadership and new ideas.  Yet, there is a hesitation for this transformation. Many baby boomers argue that the current generation is not ready.  These young workers are called many names such as Generation Y (Gen Y), Echo Boomers, or Millennials (born 1977 to 2002). Most experts predict the generation will be a major factor in society. There are more than 70 million of them.

However, they have been described in the workplace as lazy and self-absorbed with their own worth. Laura Clark, columnist, argues, “Today’s young workers, it appears, believe they deserve jobs with big salaries, status and plenty of leisure time – without having to put in the hours.” According to the Association of Graduate Recruiters study, there is a new breed of graduate ‘divas’ who expect everything to fall into their laps. These people believe they are a hot commodity in the job market. Yet, their managers describe them as ‘unrealistic,’ ‘self-centered,’ and ‘greedy.’

For the first time in American history, organizations have four different generations in their workforce. Sadly, it’s not without problems. Companies don’t understand this young generation. They desire to share in organizational decisions on day one of employment and be promoted instantaneously. With managers who had to ‘pay their dues.’ The Gen Y mentality is a hard pill to swallow.

Dr. Jean Twenge and Dr. Keith Campbell track this trend of self-absorption in their book, The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement.  They explain, “Narcissism- a very positive and inflated view of the self is everywhere….Understanding the narcissism is important because its long-term consequences are destructive to society.”  In the 1960s, individuals led causes for the greater good. During the 1970s, there was a focus on self-admiration. By the 1980s, society had totally gone to ‘looking out for oneself.” 

Unfortunately, some managers distort the work value of this emerging generation by stereotyping them as selfish. Baby boomer managers complain about the difficulty of managing Gen Y employees. But, didn’t these baby boomers raise them to be narcissistic anyway? Therefore, it isn’t fair to label them totally as expecting entitlement.  

Twenge and Campbell note, “Parenting became more indulgent, celebrity worship grew, and reality TV became a showcase of narcissistic people.” One must wonder what Gen Y will pass along to their own children.

As more baby boomers retire, a new generation of leaders will replace them. These new leaders will cross age, gender, race, and geography. I certainly hope that Gen Y can overcome the negativism surrounding them and be prepared to accept future leadership roles.  I pray it’s not too late.

 Is the Age of Narcissism solely a characteristic of Gen Yers?  How can organizations infuse the right kind of team-oriented values, given cross generational conflicts?

 © 2010 by Daryl D. Green