If you want to retire early and then work that perfect job in retirement and you haven’t already figured out what it is you would LOVE to do then you need to know How to Choose Your Retirement Job.
That perfect unique job just for you that checks off most if not all of your boxes. Those desired attributes within areas of your passion and interest. One that will offer the perfect retirement rewards you are looking for in a new job or encore career. However you need to know what your boxes and wants are.
Before I retired the first time as an engineer at a regional telephone company I knew I was going to retire early and often. Meaning there were some jobs I knew I wanted to try doing. These were positions I had a huge interest in and was passionate about the line of work.
Then there were those things or working attributes that I always wanted in a job. Attributes I seldom or never had. I then grabbed pencil and paper and started to map out all the necessary details. That way I could choose the right early retirement opportunity to target and start my encore career. I could start of my “retire early and often” adventure.
Understand what it is you want. Why do you want to return to employment?
I wanted to learn about and experience different technologies and companies. Meeting new people and learning new and exciting skills. All while still using the skills that I had and enjoyed doing. Being paid doing it is all bonus.
Perhaps money is your motivation. You need to find your dream job to make your numbers. If that is the case know your target income amount. You must understand how many hours and the salary rate you will need. There would be no sense in going after part-time gigs if you can’t meet your financial target.
There are certainly other benefits associated to returning to work. Fulfillment, social interaction, continued brain stimulation, health insurance benefits, education, inclusion in something more than yourself, and many others. Including fun if you pick the right position. Know what it is you are looking to get from your new retirement employment opportunity.
List your Dream-Job attributes that you hope to find.
When I started looking for my encore destination I wished for flexibility, location, casual work environment, and lower level of responsibility. I had been in a very rigid and regulated environment. With a long commute and a massive amount of responsibility for many years.
I live in a smaller town about 15 miles from the most southern suburban edge of a large city, Denver CO. I first set my location to within 10 miles of home. If that failed I would accept something up to 20 miles if I had to venture back into the big city. But that was as far as I would want to commute.
I required the flexibility to be able to schedule time-off for travel. Whether it was paid or not paid time off. I wanted to still enjoy my retirement and hoped that by taking a less important lower responsibility position that it would allow that.
As for other flexibility issues I dreamed of. Flexible work hours and possibly finding a position that allowed me to work from my home office. If not all the time at least some of the time. These are things that I saw other people enjoy. I envied them but my long career position and company wouldn’t allow me to participate.
How to Choose Your Retirement Job – Know Thyself
Self-Assessment of your interests, passions, and the skills you have that someone will pay you to provide.
This is where you have to go deep. I started 3 lists:
- Interests and Passions
- Payable Skills I have that I enjoy doing
- Payable Skills I have that I don’t enjoy doing
Interests and Passions
My interest and passions had listed technical targets like wireless telephony and cable video/telecommunications industry. But there were also targets totally outside my career background. They are things I enjoyed. Like gardening, landscaping, automotive performance, craft beer, hiking, the outdoors, beaches, etc. All that is listed on the interests and passions list may not be realistic. But “realistic” isn’t the point. The point is to just list everything out so you know what it is you would love to be involved with.
The real work is in matching your payable skills that would allow you to take part in these areas of interests and passions. Start by investigating the required skills for any jobs that are aligned with your interest and passions. Then look to see if you have good matches in your skills lists. Skills you would not enjoy using are also aligned. Because in this life we always have to consider compromise to get what we want. If it turns out that most of the valuable skills you need are in the list of skills you would rather not do. Then perhaps it isn’t a good job target at this time.
If you need more skills. Then here is where you understand that and decide whether to first gain those skills, pick a different area of interest and passion, or pick a different position within your area of interest and passion. One that does better align with your existing skill-sets.
Excluding Your Non-Desired Skills
I had obvious skills that matched directly with wireless industry network opportunities. But for cable video I had none of the engineering skills required. So I selected my skills – documentation, requirements and test case creation, data analysis, etc.
Instead of trying to be a cable industry engineer. I was targeting positions within their IT organization in an Analyst direction. Because I didn’t enjoy my earlier Project Management experiences. I left those skills on the list of things I would rather not do. I stayed clear of Project Management titles.
Set Realistic Expectations and Understand Your Limitations.
First off, nothing will happen as fast as you would like it to. It may take some time to get an interview. Then even more time for them to make a decision. It took on average 3 months for me to start working after interviewing. If you really need to start your new opportunity immediately after retiring from your long-held career then you should start things before you retire.
Challenges of Age Bias and Being Seen as Overqualified
You also need to be ready to accept the fact that there is age bias. If you are shooting for a lower responsibility position as I did, there is also the “overqualified” issue. If you don’t get any hits on your targets. Then it may be that you really need to get any of the skills you were missing that they were looking for.
We usually think that since we have the majority of the skills listed in the job ad it is enough. But that is not always the case as some employers want it all. There is competition for the jobs early retirees seek. If you are getting nowhere in your job hunt. Then consider getting the skills necessary through education, volunteer work, or wherever you can get it.
Understand Your Limitations
The other thing is your own limitations. There are the limitations of what you want, i.e. location, flexibility, etc. But there are also your physical and skills limitations.
I love working on automotive mechanical work. But years of physically abusing my hands doing stupid stuff. Like pounding on hub-caps, heavy weight lifting, sports participation, and sitting at a computer 8 to 12 hours a day has my hands now worthless after 30 minutes of rigorous use. I lose all hand strength. My lower back is a mess so I can’t stand in one place for more than a few minutes at a time. I have to keep moving or find a seat.
So I may have on my interest and passion list Automotive Performance. But with my limitations I won’t be able to hot-rod out a car for pay. Being unable to stand in one place too long means that you won’t see me standing behind a cash register, bent-over a car’s engine, using a ladder for extended periods of time, and many other things. Hopefully you get my point.
My Final Comments.
Do an honest assessment of yourself. This all about finding the perfect match of a job in retirement. Regardless of the reason you are returning to a form of paid work. I am no expert in this area but I have detailed what worked for me.
Take from this what you think will work for you. I wish you all the best in choosing your perfect post-retirement job or encore career.
How to Choose Your Retirement Job? It comes down to finishing an honest assessment of your interests, passions, and skills. Then matching them to what an employer or client is willing to pay you to do.