Mention the word retirement and the mind pictures grey hair, walking sticks, slow ponderous movement and a declining mental agility. But this only applies to that element of society made up of those who have completed their working life. The vast majority of working people, it is thought, will have seven (yes 7!!!!) careers in their lifetime. While nobody has bothered to actually validate this assertion, it is also considered that, to the new “millenials”, job-hopping is the norm. If we assume that the figure 7 is relevant and that the average working career is from 18 – 65 (47 years) then the average time in each phase of employment is only 6.71 years.

With all the improvements in employment practice, this means that the average person retires every 6.71 years. While you may disagree with that statement, may I point out the following:

  • Changing job involves terminating/transferring pension or provident fund savings, changing the work environment,  team and possibly corporate system, and often the geographic situation completely;
  • The new job, unlike in our grandparents day, requires a complete change in ethos of employment, probably a change in working environment and definitely a different set of business rules.
  • While, if one is fortunate, each move results in increased benefitrs and responsibilities, the working community changes significantly.with different political dynamics and social structure.

From this it may be understood that each move is really a divorce,  and subsequent establishment of a complete, new relationship which is undertaken by people of every age. For retiring sports personalities the situation is even more serious as the practicitioner adds to all of the above the fact that they cease to practice their chosen “trade” or “profession” which requires a different and, often, strange ets of skills which the personality must learn if they are to succeed. Even moveing from player to coach requires a vastly different approach to the sporting discipline involved.

Of course, the single most traumatic change is to move from employment by a third party to being employed by onself. This requires not only a different skills set, it demands a whole restructuring of a persons attitude to working. No longer can the “buck” be passed either up or down the chain of responsibility – it rests totally and irresistably on ones own shoulders (as it does in retirement), no longer are there strict hours of business – one really is on duty 24/7/356.25 (making allowance for Leap years). However, on the up side, there is the thrill of success from the conquest of o bstacles and challenges thought to be beyond ones reach and the reflected glory of creating a vibrant, healthy and growing entity which, inevitably, reflects the creator and their ambitions.   All this needs a person of determination, courage and flexibility.