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Archive for June, 2012

Retirement or Reinvention?

Posted on: June 7th, 2012 by Doug Treen

You are a dedicated pharmaceutical professional. You may have spent your life becoming educated in the science of chemistry. First many long years of university to get your degree and because you did well you may even have a graduate degree. Congratulations, your career took off into the pharmaceutical industry. You rightfully felt that you had made it. Yet this was just the beginning as you discovered ongoing learning and problem solving techniques in the lab. You came to realize that the degrees were just the beginning not the end of your required development. On-the-job training has taken even more dedication than all of your university years. You love the pharmaceutical industry of professionals aiming to improve and save human lives. You have bonded with your role and your career. It represents all you have worked for; it represents your career aspirations. It becomes who you are!

Nevertheless, retirement slowly looms as a reality in your life. Like most busy professionals you tend to put off the idea of the reality of your aging and retirement as something you will deal with later, much later. Most tend to reduce retirement planning to financial planning. If you have enough money, retirement will take care of itself, on easy street. You love your job but as you learn and move up the hierarchy over the years, the higher you go the older you get. For most professionals who love their work, they work they gradually become workaholics as their self-identity becomes their career. They live for the satisfactions and rewards of their work. Paradoxically, the more you become accomplished in your career, the closer you are coming to the reality of losing it, in retirement. And even more vexing is the trend of losing your career even before you planned to retire, given the globalization of the pharmaceutical industry.

The dilemma for most professionals is this feared issue. How can you retire from a career that you have spent your life preparing for? And because your self-identity has become bound up with your career, how do you retire from yourself, even if you can afford it financially?

The book, Psychology of Executive Retirement: from Fear to Passion is written to help professionals deal with this issue by reframing it. Many books have been written on retirement but almost all focus on the financial planning. Yet the psychological side for professionals will become the biggest issue according to research data. This book will challenge you to put your job in context of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Once you understand how your job satisfies only the needs for security, social, financial, self-esteem, the book shows how any job will fail to meet your highest need for self-actualization. Instead of looking at retirement as a loss of your career, the book shows how it is a huge gain of freedom to reinvent yourself in your own new unique role based on your talent and passion. No one can become self-actualized in any standardized job because of the gap between the collective nature of the corporate mission and the unique mission of a self-actualizing individual. Employees and executives are essentially socialized and rewarded for following a collective mission of the corporation. However this can never represent, but actually prevents the personal life mission of your unique self-actualizing passion. As jobs are standardized anyone who had the right training can do it. It really has nothing to do with your unique calling and need for self-actualization. This mission is unique only to you. Retirement is simply your last personal calling to do what you have dreamed of doing, beyond your job. It represents your very personal passion and dream that you never told anyone about because it never seemed to fit your job description. If you still have not discovered this personal mission, the book will take you through a self-discovery process to tap into your inner passions and talent.

This is the value of the book for anyone over 50. After your job is gone or even before, how can you rise beyond your dependency on a standardized job? How can you create your own uniquely creative role based on your own personal passion, meaning and talent? Knowing that you will never satisfy your highest level need on the job, helps you learn and prepare how to psychologically transcend your routine role. Self-actualization opens up and helps satisfy your highest level needs for creativity based on intellectual, artistic and spiritual engagement.

This book will challenge you to reach for your star, attain the personal satisfaction and well-being, live longer and undergo a self-discovery process of passion and creativity. Don’t retire, reinvent!

Doug Treen and the Psychology of Retirement

Posted on: June 7th, 2012 by Doug Treen

This article is by Kevin Press, VP Sun Life.

Close your eyes and imagine retirement. Do you picture yourself on a golf course? Under a palm tree? Travelling the world? Doug Treen, author of Psychology of Executive Retirement, has bad news for you. You’ve got it all wrong. You are, in his words, applying a “vacation model” to retirement and it won’t work. You are setting yourself up for three or four weeks of relaxation followed by years of boredom and stress. How’s that for an eye-opener?

“Retirement is a health hazard” says Treen. “Everybody wants off the treadmill, and then a significant majority wants back… What do they miss? The excitement,the adrenaline, the pressure. All the things they wanted to get away from, they miss.”

Treen has a doctorate in social theory, which he parlayed into a successful career split between academia and private sector human resources. He’s spent decades helping professionals prepare for one of the biggest transitions of their lives: retirement. What he’s learned is that a successful retirement plan is one that includes more than just savings.

“This is the most misunderstood issue there is,” he says. “I’m trying to show that the psychological side is more important than the financial side. It is a foundation for you to decide how much money you’re going to need.”

In other words, what do you want to do in retirement? That’s a difficult question for many of us because we spend so much of our lives dedicated to advancing our career. As a result, our self-worth becomes tightly tied to our business card. Treen calls this a “collective sense” of self-identity.

“In retirement, you lose that. Now it’s you and the mirror,” he says. “Unless we understand who we want to be when we retire, we can’t really have a successful retirement. We’ve simply gone into the vacation mode. We’re going to go through stress, and there are huge health consequences.”

Developing this understanding is what Treen calls a life plan. The earlier you start to think about what you want to do in retirement, the better you will be able to prepare for it, financially and otherwise. “Think in terms of your passion,” he says. “Start now. Prepare to be your own person, a person that reports to you. Achieve something that is uniquely you.”

Implicit in Treen’s argument is that those who don’t have a passion outside their professional life will struggle with retirement. That’s why it’s important to start work on the life plan now. Step one might well be to develop a broader range of interests.

There is another advantage of course. Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. Treen has seen his approach work for those who find themselves unemployed. “A lot of people who use this when they lose their job end up better off. They’ve created something that they can do on their own that they’re happy with. They’re more self-reliant because they’re using what is uniquely their own talent. That allows them to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. And as we know, differentiation is key to being successful.”…