Today I spoke to a speaker colleague who told me that she ‘retired’ from accounting to begin her speaking career. Yesterday, it was a nurse who told me that she ‘retired’ from clinical practice to begin her coaching career. And last week, it was a corporate executive who told me that he ‘retired’ from manufacturing to pursue his consulting career.
Were they retired, still working, working part-time, or picking and choosing those projects with which they wanted to align themselves? Nearly all of the responses addressed the concept of ‘picking and choosing’ or preferring one project over another and one subset of professionals with whom to work over another. Did each of these professionals actually retire…to begin the next phase of their lives? Or, did they extend into the arena known as “PREFERMENT” meaning that they now get to do what they want, with whom they want, and when they want?
My own professional colleagues vary in age group from millennials to the C-suite and from sometime work to full-time plus work. Having worked full-time plus in the past, logging over 100 hours per week, 3 countries per week for over 10 years, I fully understand the idea of ‘picking and choosing’ one’s activities and potential partners.
Still intrigued, I researched the word and discovered the concept of prefermented dough to improve quality naturally and traditionally. Great concept, but being a non-bread maker, the term did not meet my immediate needs. Preferment is also the name of a champion horse; a non-equestrian, I continued my search for the right description. I was seeking information on what happens post-official retirement – in the healthy, seasoned professional population.
I can easily relate to the idea of retirement as a significant milestone and adjustment for my peers. Healthy, financially secure and energetic, they are revisioning postretirement life and moving from the comfortable rocking chair to a state of preferment, with an opportunity to refocus on new structure and purpose, including time for leisure, continuous learning, new pursuits, and perhaps encore careers.
It’s not retirement, it’s preferment, because this phase of one’s life provides the opportunity to do the things you prefer and are most meaningful to you. Only you can determine what those things are. Only you can identify where you want to spend your time and with whom. Only you can decide whose lives you want to impact and in what ways. As professionals, those of us in the clinical arena or in academia have been blessed with extensive careers during which we have done meaningful work. We are the seasoned professionals!
The word preferment is perfect for the new retirement. Regardless of their past positions, my colleagues are adopting this term as one of endearment and creating their own next Act…the one that will ignite their passion, bring fulfillment, and be preferred. Speaker – Coach – Consultant…they are excited about what the future will bring!
Life Balance…it is what I do and who I am! I work with organizations that want to learn how life balance can drive safety, satisfaction, and success!
Sharon is an energetic, motivating and highly skilled professional speaker and author specializing in work/life balance. After all, she wrote the book. She is the founder of SharonMWeinstein, an LLC and two not-for-profits.
She holds the coveted Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation, the highest earned international recognition for professional speakers. This makes her one of only 12% of all speakers to hold this designation and one of only 22 nurses in the world with this credential. www.sharonmweinstein.com