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Re-Purposing Your Skills and Passions When You Retire

Posted Sep 12 2008 1:59pm

The Wall Street Journal's monthly Encore section features profiles of people who've found challenging pursuits after they've left their mid-life employment. Some of the stories will give you a taste of what might be a good match for your skills and passions. Here's a couple of them, from the March 22-23 edition of Encore.

Frank Buonanotte, developer of shopping centers, found his "retirement" calling after viewing a TV documentary, "Into the Fire," about firefighters risking their lives going into burning buildings to rescue victims. Wouldn't it be satisfying, he thought, if he could save lives by raising money for a special device called a thermal imager, which assists firefighters to see through dense smoke? So, he started a non-profit, called 500 For Life, and got donations for fire departments to buy the imager.

Carol Hogan, who took early retirement from her job as hematology supervisor at San Francisco General Hospital, moved with her partner to a glorious little town in the country, thinking she'd love not having the stress of work. But, she found she missed the socializing at work and the "work ethic that got me out of bed in the morning."

She thought other early retirees must share her malaise about not working, especially those who enjoyed the camaraderie and the stimulation of a professional work environment. So, she decided to offer workshops to help adults "navigate the transition" so they would be better prepared.

She had no public speaking or teaching experience, so she set out to find out how to do it. She discovered VocationVacations, a program that helps people to connect with people and venues where they can practice a new vocation. Hogan shadowed a public speaker and grew confident enough to start her own series of seminars.

What are you planning to do to keep yourself stimulated and purposeful when you give up your regular employment? If you are floundering about this important task, get in touch with me at Karma@LifeSpringCoaching.com and I'll give you a complimentary phone session to get you started.

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