Sometimes The Grass Is Greener On The Other Side Of The Fence

                                     In my previous post I talked about the importance of staying sharp Even if you do all the right things while planning to delay your retirement, things may not work out with your current employer for many reasons.  It could be ageism. There could be HR issues. Your boss may be thinking of the overhead savings when you retire. If you are facing a decision to either stay full-time or retire, you may have to be prepared to talk with other companies. This is why it’s valuable to maintain your professional network.

Throughout our careers, there have been plenty of people who held the ladder for us as we made the climb. And there were plenty of people that we held the ladder for as they were making their mark. Things don’t change as we enter the later years of our careers. Don’t be invisible. We may not be looking for the next promotion or another step up the ladder but we may be looking for help with a career shift. Another serious point is as we age, our network ages. You may find out that a good part of your network has retired or even made the ultimate career shift.

Friend of a Friend

It’s estimated that 75-80% of all jobs are filled through connections, a friend or a friend of a friend.  As it happened to me, opportunities came up from surprising sources. A few months after I walked away and took some time off, a friend of a friend in the industry needed help on a project. He knew my story and asked the friend “would John be available to help us?” The friend called and that started a very nice relationship.

Catching Up Isn’t Networking

The challenge we face as our careers mature, is that our networking tends to become more like catching up with old friends. We go to industry events as we have in the past, but we look for the same comfortable people. It’s a good time, but not effective if you are trying to make connections to help you as you approach Your Extra Innings.

It’s time to get back to your younger networking mode. Be strategic especially when you go to meetings and events. Stay connected to your old friends but make it a goal to meet a new people. Ask your friends who they could introduce you to. Remember that leaving an event with a few business cards is not networking. You need to follow up with the people you met. How can you help them?

Nine Steps To Reconnect With Your Network

Re-establishing your existing connections may prove to be the key to a successful shift to Your Extra Innings. Let it be known to your network what you are looking for or be open to do. The time to start fertilizing your network garden is before you need it.

Follow these steps to reconnect:

  1. Look through the contacts on your phone. Who should you check in with?
  2. Look through your LinkedIn connections. Who could you reach out to?
  3. Remember that true networking is a two-way street. You are not just looking for your benefit but you are looking to see who you could help.
  4. Are there any Facebook or LinkedIn groups you could join and participate in?
  5. How does your LinkedIn profile need to be updated? Are there any special projects you’ve been involved with? What new skills could you promote on your LinkedIn profile? Also, don’t be passive on LinkedIn. Post articles you find interesting and comment on articles posted by others.
  6. Maintain a list of people you want to reach out to. Make it a goal to reach out to one person a day. A simple hello is all you need like “I saw your name in my contacts and I thought I’d call to check up on you”.
  7. Reach out to any recruiters you’ve dealt with in the past. You never know!
  8. If you have participated in industry groups, don’t give up on them. Stay involved.
  9. Don’t ignore the younger generations. Challenge yourself to interact with them. They could be the decision makers you need to connect with.

A couple of my favorite books on networking are Never Eat Lunch Alone by Keith Ferrazzi and The Start-Up Of You by Reid Hoffman . Both offer solid tips on building and maintaining your network. As Reid Hoffman says “Who you know is what you know”.

To repeat, you may not ask for help right now, but you need to continue to build and maintain your network so when the need comes up, it’s easy to ask for help.

If you liked this post please share it with others.

In my next post I’ll explore the “Proper Care and Maintenance of Us Seasoned Professionals”. Leave me your email address and you’ll receive it in your in box as soon as it’s posted.


Staying Sharp For Delaying Your Retirement

Delaying Your Retirement

The biggest risk we have as we approach the later stages of our careers is becoming obsolete. It’s easy to neglect keeping up with the latest advances in our industries or in technology. We risk being left behind and worse, disposable. We need to take responsibility for not allowing ourselves to become victims of ageism. Therefore, it is critical to stay relevant by keeping your skills fresh and up to date if you planning on delaying your retirement.

Just think about how much the world has changed over the last 30 to 40 years. Also, with our longer and healthier lives, the skills we need in order to continue to thrive will evolve. Education is no longer a one shot event. It is a continual process that should never end.

Bill’s Story (Not his real name)

Bill was an estimator. In putting together estimates you need to compare quotes and scopes from competing vendors. This is done by assembling a spreadsheet and comparing line by line of each scope. The problem was, Bill, who was in his 60s, didn’t know or want to learn Excel. He created his spreadsheets by taping together green accounting sheets, big enough to cover a desk, and doing everything by pencil and calculator. The possibility of errors by using this manual method was significantly more than using a computer, never mind how much time it took. And after one particularly big mistake, he was let go and replaced by an estimator who was up to date with current tools, like Excel.

Time To Do Your Homework

Now it’s time to do your homework. No matter how much you think you know, there is always room in your toolbox. Don’t be lazy. Open your eyes and do some investigating:

  • What are the latest industry trends?
  • What new technology is being introduced?
  • Chat with the younger folks? What are they using that you’re not?
  • Don’t ignore industry publications; even the ads can give you information.
  • Assess where your skills are compared to peers.
  • What skills and certifications are you missing?
  • Ask yourself “If I was hiring someone for my job today, what skills would the best candidate have?”
  • Where are you at risk of being left behind?
Delaying Your Retirement


Keeping up with the latest tools and apps can be a challenge for anyone, especially us more seasoned professionals. I’m reminded of a cartoon of a guy leaving a store with his new computer. As soon as he hits the sidewalk a flag pops up out of the box saying “Obsolete” and the same goes for us. Our generation is probably the last one with a built in fear of technology. But we are the ones who need to work hardest to grasp it. Our kids sure don’t.

Invest In Yourself

Delaying Your Retirement

School is not just for kids. There are 20% more people between the ages of 40 and 65 in college today than there were in 2000. Make the investment of not just money but time. Talk to people in the industry who are knowledgeable about the direction you want to go. What are the latest trends? Where do you see things going and what skills will be needed? If you commit to developing new tricks, create a plan and have goals to help you stay on track and get the tools you’ll need to delay your retirement on your terms.

Resources For Learning

Return to school

Community Colleges around the country are leading the charge by working with local employers to develop programs for in-demand jobs. Attending classes is the best way to hone your skills and connect with like-minded people. Many state and community colleges offer tuition waivers for people over 60 and some over 62. The amounts vary from 100% waiver to a fee of $50 and seats may be limited. Check with your local colleges to see what is available.

Online Learning

If time is a challenge and you want to keep your future plans under wraps, online courses through the local colleges are a great options. There are a bundle of online courses available through internet education companies. I’ve personally like Udemy and Skillshare which are apps you can get for your phone or tablet. They offer courses in everything from computer software training and accounting, all the way to learning to play the ukulele. Other highly rated internet course providers are LinkedIn Learning and Coursera. YouTube is another source for educational material from manufacturers, software tips and other skills.

 But my all-time favorite online learning resource is Khan Academy. It was started by a really smart uncle who lived away from his family but wanted to help his nieces and nephews with their school work. He started developing online tutorials that helped them learn basic things like algebra and physics. His tutorials started getting handed around so much he made them available to the public on YouTube. Thanks to contributions from Google, AT&T, and Microsoft it has expanded to now include computer science, finance and a bunch of other topics in different languages. Even today, Khan Academy is free but they accept contributions.

Delaying Your Retirement

Audiobooks & Podcasts

How do you spend your time commuting to and from work or other time traveling? Audiobooks, audio programs and podcast are a great way to improve your skills and general knowledge. Whether you want to learn management, finance, history or learn a language, the time you spend behind the wheel can be a great classroom. The best part is that through your local library or a phone app, these are free. For the last few years I’ve been learning about retirement options and starting a blog through a variety of podcasts hosted by the experts in those fields.

Blue Collar Issues

Labor intensive jobs don’t lend themselves to delayed retirements as easily as college educated professionals. This doesn’t mean they are to be excluded, remember Paul the electrician from the previous post. With training I’ve seen plumbers become estimators and CAD coordinators. Their field skills add a level of practical knowledge to their new roles that increases their value. People and businesses need to be creative and flexible in order to not lose this mutual benefit.

I Would Love To Hear What You Think

Please leave any questions or comments you may have. In my next post I’ll detail why it’s important to re-establish your network and the ways to go about it. If you provide me with your email, I will send the next post directly to your in box.


The most popular way people delay their retirement on their terms is by working out a flexible arrangement with their current employer. This can work for you both in that you get the reduced hours you want and your employer doesn’t lose the skills and value that you bring. Here are a few ways you can change your job to fit the life you want.

Full-Time To Part-Time

Stay where you are on a part-time basis. Your current employer may be the best place to work and the most flexible to work with. There may be some part of your job that could easily be handed off to others as you continue with the truly valuable things you do. You may be able to maintain some benefits with a negotiated compensation arrangement but you will need to be flexible.

Phased Retirement

There are many types of phased retirements. They all are centered on helping the employee gradually leave the company while giving the company time to find a replacement. The one I see the most is where you work out a timeline, say 2 years where you reduce the hours you put in in stages until full retirement.


If there are others you work with that do the same thing as you, job-sharing is an excellent option. You and your job-sharing partner share and use the same work space and tools (computer) and do the job as one full-time person. This will require close coordination and trust between both employees and with your employer.

Freelance / Consulting Work

If you want total control of your time and work, and you provide a valuable service to the company, being a consultant or freelance contractor could be your best option. You work on a project by project basis depending on the need. Over the last 4 years, I’ve averaged 6-7 months of work, some of it full-time and some of it, a couple days a week. This gave us the freedom to travel and launch this blog.

Important Notice: When considering the various options, review them with your financial advisor and tax person (both of which I am not). There are limits to how much you can earn if you’ve claimed Social Security and there also may be tax implications to consider with Social Security and other sources of retirement income.

From The Employer’s Perspective. 

When discussing retirement, the topic tends to be from the retiree’s point of view. Rarely is the conversation about how the retirement of a key employee will affect them and the business they are leaving. 

The number of retiring baby boomers out numbers the amount of younger workers coming in to replace them. This is causing a shortage of qualified workers. It is also creating a brain drain where the valuable knowledge and experience is leaving with the retirees. 

Being flexible with retirement age people can prevent disruptions to critical operations. It will also reduce the expenses involved in hiring and training new people. 

Having the old pros around to help with on-boarding new hires could be a great benefit. Employers will also be able to use these people to mentor younger people in advance of the retiree leaving their jobs. 

75% of companies polled in a recent survey said they would allow older worked to reduce their hours instead of losing them to full retirement.

In my next post I’ll get into how you can be proactive and take control as you approach Your Extra Inning. Please leave a question or comment.