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Senior Leaders: Are You Ready to Repurpose Your Work Life?


Wed Dec 03 2014

Senior Leaders: Are You Ready to Repurpose Your Work Life?

This is the second post in a blog series discussing career development and planning for senior talent executives and leaders—and visions for their next life stage.  

**Whether for free or for a fee, for community, for fun, for full-time or part-time, or in response to just-in-time needs, good work is work that works for you.


— Carleen MacKay, Co-founder of Ageless In America** 

By December 31, 2014, the last of the Boomer generation will become 50 years old—and many of them will likely take some time to examine their lives and careers. As talent development senior leaders and executives, you also may want to consider your plans for the future. Although you may not be ready to retire in the traditional sense, can you imagine the next turn in your career path? 

Below are some questions to ask yourself. Responses to these and similar questions can be the building blocks for shaping the next chapter of your work life. 

  • How do I see myself advancing forward at this moment in time?

  • How are my priorities changing?

  • What new challenges would I like to experience?

  • How can I embrace the changes that are to come?

  • What would keep me engaged and motivated to continue working, and how have my drivers changed?

  • In what ways do I define “retirement” for me?

  • How do I take control of selecting specific options and necessary resources for the next life stage?

  • Is this the time to re-bundle my skills, knowledge, and expertise to take them to another arena? 

By now, given the length of your career, you are aware of your own reactions to transition and how to make a change efficiently and effectively. Your flexibility, adaptability, and willingness to take risks will determine the success of this next—and perhaps last—career evolution. 

As you consider your realistic possibilities, organize them according to whether they are major work modifications or secondary ones. Develop a balance sheet of positive and negative aspects for each career option on your radar. How do the scales weigh? 


Major work modifications. These are the larger, more general movements that affect you emotionally, attitudinally, professionally, and personally. Examples include:

  • Working for a new employer in a different arena. Many people decide to leave the for-profit or government arenas for a nonprofit or community-based organization. This can be a salaried or volunteer position, part or full-time.

  • Transferring to a new geographic location. At this life stage, some people consider relocating to a different physical living environment. Reasons can include moving to a warmer climate, being closer to extended family members, and downsizing. Working can be included in your overall plans, most likely as a “semi-retiree” on your terms, timetable, and in a way that fits your new life style. 

Secondary work modifications. These are professional shifts that are more specific and narrow in scope. They refocus the how, when, and where you apply your background and experience. Examples include:

  • Becoming an entrepreneur. As a senior leader and executive, your network, reputation, and brand can motivate and stimulate the start of your own consulting or contracting business. It is a viable option for those wanting to face new challenges.

  • Teaching an L&D or HRD graduate or certification program. A professorial position is an opportunity to share your wisdom and educate a younger population beyond your present organization. It is a way to give back to the L&D community and be re-energized by the people who are the future leaders of talent development. 

How will you repurpose your work life? 

The next post in this series will focus on characteristics of successful career transitions. Your comments and questions are welcomed.

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