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Staying Motivated For the Last Few Years Before Retirement
Old 08-03-2021, 06:13 PM   #1
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Staying Motivated For the Last Few Years Before Retirement

I'm going to be honest and frank here so don't be too mean!

I've had a reasonably successful career, but it doesn't make sense to "push for the next level" given I'll retire in a few years time.

That being said, I don't want to be a slacker and pretend to work.

So how do people stay relevant and motivated when they know they will retire in a few year?

Part of the question is how do you stop feeling like a loser after not attaining the goals you set for yourself when you were in your 20's!

Let's keep the discussion general and not about a specific career because maybe some ideas in different careers will help me. But I will say I have a white collar job where I get to set my own direction/goals and this means making myself motivated to do them.

Thanks again for being gentle!
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Old 08-03-2021, 06:39 PM   #2
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Near the end of your career you should know what you are good at, and what you like to do. Try to do more of these things. If you are the boss, this is easier than if you are a working-level cog in the wheel.

If you have the opportunity, change jobs or start your consulting practice, or transition to part time.
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Old 08-03-2021, 06:53 PM   #3
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Just because you set a goal for yourself does not mean that goal can never change.

I had two goals I hoped to reach in my teaching career, and both were easily within my reach. But then I got educated on retirement finances. I decided I had enough money to stop working, and would rather retire than continue working toward goals only I would ever care about.
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Old 08-03-2021, 09:34 PM   #4
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Part of the question is how do you stop feeling like a loser after not attaining the goals you set for yourself when you were in your 20's!

You could gently point out to yourself that you have matured in the intervening years....
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Old 08-03-2021, 09:55 PM   #5
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raria,

For me - I concentrated on doing good work and managing my Department best I could.

In my case, the work was fun, but as a manager at megoilcorp - it was my job to work with other managers and Sr. management - and to be honest the Politics, CYA and Blame Culture was what made it hard for me. The higher I moved up - the more I was disappointed by the behavior and conduct of my Sr. Management. It's a cut throat world ruled by Bean Counters and Political Animals for the most part....

The management and work of building things and fixing things Offshore was fun and satisfying.

Honestly, alot of my stress was self inflicted because I really cared about doing a good job and taking care of the men.

All that said, try not to get pulled into Corporate Politics and drama - easier said than done if you are manager.

So concentrate on doing good honest / ethical work - and as I said for 43 year in the Oilpatch - "Keep Your Head Down and Your Asszzz Up" and let your work do the talking.

And know this, no matter how much you have saved the Corporation, no matter how many projects you brought in safely under budget and schedule, no matter how much you sacrificed your family to put the job first..... when you leave dam near everyone will blame problems on you for at least 6 months....and you will be forgotten by most all the folks.....not all but most.

Look to and plan your life after work - keep your eyes on the prize.

Hang tuff raria - you will get there !

Retirement is wonderful !

Within a couple months after I retired - I stopped the smoking and drinking the whiskey I had done the last 4 or 5 year - just had no desire anymore.... it was a bad way of dealing with stress.

ms gamboolgal and I are exercising, eating healthy, going on Road Trips and enjoying exploring the back roads of America and playing the Pokerssszzzzz and sight seeing.

We are headed out in the morning on a month long Road Trip that we will end up at Harrahs Cherokee in North Carolina for the WSOP Satellite Tournaments. #1 Daughter is flying up to visit and do the tourist thing in the Mountains with us for a week or so...

gamboolman.....

Lifes A Dance And You Learn As You Go....

ETA - pic of this last weekend in Austin, Tx where we went to see #1 Daughter and celebrate my 62nd Birthday and ms gamboolgals 60th Birthday.
Good times were had by all.... and Dad was able to slip away and play the Pokersszzzz for a little bit ha !

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Old 08-03-2021, 10:32 PM   #6
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raria,

For me - I concentrated on doing good work and managing my Department best I could......

And know this, no matter how much you have saved the Corporation, no matter how many projects you brought in safely under budget and schedule, no matter how much you sacrificed your family to put the job first..... when you leave dam near everyone will blame problems on you for at least 6 months....and you will be forgotten by most all the folks.....not all but most.

Look to and plan your life after work - keep your eyes on the prize.......
Truer words were never spoken!
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Old 08-03-2021, 11:15 PM   #7
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I am retiring at the end of the month. Career aspirations were derailed 14+ years ago when my wife developed a chronic, disabling health condition. Ultimately, due to having to provide care and assume the lion share of responsibility for raising our two kids, I was forced to step down from the partnership and accept a lesser part-time role and a corresponding reduction in pay. It was the right decision, but not handled gracefully by my employer. So, I definitely can relate to not attaining (in my case continuing) with the goals set in my 20s.

I addressed my work situation in a number of ways. First, I never compared my compensation to my colleagues. I recognized that I was still well paid and my sense of self-worth was not dependent upon how much I earned compared to others.

Second, I found reasons to accept work that I enjoyed and decline work and administrative duties that I did not. Doing things I found intellectually stimulating made me more productive and feel like I was still a valuable member of the team. Related to number 2, I spent the time to learn and become an internal subject matter expert on a number of issues. Not what I envisioned doing in my 20s, but a nice substitute. Being the expert also buys some job security.

Finally, in recent years I discovered Bogleheads and this forum. I made the time to plan my retirement, which was much more rewarding than work. Once the ACA was upheld, I was ready to pull the plug but delayed a few months so planned medical treatments are covered by my employer’s insurance.
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Old 08-03-2021, 11:23 PM   #8
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I was very fortunate. Great job, great employer.

I was highly motivated until that happy day when I knew that I would be receiving that golden handshake in five weeks time. I had been waiting for the moment for 18 months.

After that I coasted. But the i's were dotted and the t's were crossed.
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Old 08-04-2021, 03:46 AM   #9
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raria,

For me - I concentrated on doing good work and managing my Department best I could.

The higher I moved up - the more I was disappointed by the behavior and conduct of my Sr. Management.

Honestly, alot of my stress was self inflicted because I really cared about doing a good job and taking care of the men.
I am in the same situation leading a department of 40 engineers. My strategy for the last and final years has been to focus on the needs of the employees rather than those of the company.
The company forgets you, but employees who were treated well will remember you in a positive way.
I found that most folks want to intrinsically do a good job for self-satisfaction. Just spending the extra time to listen to their issues, give praise and recognition goes much further than the meager 2% raise the company offers.
Supporting employees has given me sufficient satisfaction to survive my last years working and friends to go drink beer after work.
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Old 08-04-2021, 04:15 AM   #10
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Part of the question is how do you stop feeling like a loser after not attaining the goals you set for yourself when you were in your 20's!

How often do you listen to the advice of a 20 year old with no experience?


Cheers!
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Old 08-04-2021, 06:30 AM   #11
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I'm going to be honest and frank here so don't be too mean!

Part of the question is how do you stop feeling like a loser after not attaining the goals you set for yourself when you were in your 20's!
I would be curious about what "goal" not met, that was set by a 20-year old mid, makes one feel like they are a "loser", if they have had a career good enough to be able to choose to retire. Often these are goals either set by others, or that one thinks will impress others. I know plenty of folks who achieved these type of goals they set - and they were still very unhappy.

I was in a similar situation to the OP, from a career standpoint the only remaining goal was to "push for the next level", which many wanted me to do. But I had no personal desire as I was fine with what I has achieved both professionally and financially. My action was to focus those last few years (I called in my "glide path", I have a thread about it here) on helping and mentoring others and providing practical (and polite) advice to my management (as a senior person in our organization I was pulled into a number of "committees" and "task forces").

This was very relaxing - after all, if they did not like my advice, or thought I was "slacking off", they could fire me - but I was already prepared to retire, so no reason to sweat that.
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Old 08-04-2021, 06:34 AM   #12
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Being in finance at MegaCorp I had set monthly tasks that had to be completed so slacking was not an option.

That said however, I didn’t go looking for new tasks / projects to add to my pile of duties. Unfortunately those seemed to find their way to my desk anyway…
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Old 08-04-2021, 06:57 AM   #13
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I work on the things that matter keeping a close eye on how much I am supposed to work. I do not over stretch like I used to. Sometime I have to remind remind myself "not my monkey, not my circus". Like someone said, I have matured. By the way, I set no goals at all in my work life. Make up as you go.
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Staying Motivated For the Last Few Years Before Retirement
Old 08-04-2021, 07:13 AM   #14
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Staying Motivated For the Last Few Years Before Retirement

I FIREd one year ago from a white collar management career. Two suggestions:

1) Re: feeling like a loser for not satisfying goals from your 20s, consider shifting to “After many years, I have satisfied my interest in this work. Now I want to pursue some other interests I’ll reveal later.” It’s more internally-driven, appealingly mysterious, and forward-looking.

2). Do not buy an RV, boat, second home or make other major financial commitments until one year after you are FIREd. Instead, rent, if you like. A lot of those wants, no matter how certain they seem now, are later revealed to have been fantasy coping crutches that your mind conjured to get you to the finish line, and the desire for them evaporates once the core problem is gone. You don’t want to wake up with a “What was I thinking?” spending hangover that you are stuck with. For DW and me, it was a year-long circumnavigation, which we’d told lots of people about. Once we quit, that idea instantly became, “Meh, that’s way too much work. We’re fine with shorter trips.”

Good luck!
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Old 08-04-2021, 07:37 AM   #15
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I have two comments.

My first is that I'm very much in the same position. We're a couple of years away from at least semi-retiring where DW and I will likely go part-time or work on contracts and be off for part of the year. I'm likewise having trouble concentrating and even made a post about here saying my mental health was not in a good state.

My second comment is that my wife had someone that took a planned demotion. One of her co-workers was sick of being a manager but still liked the work that the dept did and that's what she wanted to do. Well the company didn't want to lose her so they went ahead and "demoted" her back to the cube farm and guess what, they didn't dock her pay one bit. She got to keep her manager-level salary because she was a valuable employee.

My advice would be to say you are in a very good position right now financially but not mentally. So do whatever you need to do to ride this out, whether that be tell your management you're not interested in advancing, switching roles, or whatever that may be. I'm saying you should start mentally cashing in on the future you've provided for yourself.
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Old 08-04-2021, 08:50 AM   #16
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Find a role at work that interests you, but that is neither too stressful nor too visible to management. This will free up some mental energy to re-frame and pursue your new life goal. which is a fulfilling retirement. Look at where you are getting fulfillment from work, and re-focus on how you might get similar fulfillment outside of work.
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Old 08-04-2021, 09:40 AM   #17
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With 5 months to go... I still give 100%... its a pride thing...
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Old 08-04-2021, 09:58 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raria View Post
I'm going to be honest and frank here so don't be too mean!

I've had a reasonably successful career, but it doesn't make sense to "push for the next level" given I'll retire in a few years time.

That being said, I don't want to be a slacker and pretend to work.

So how do people stay relevant and motivated when they know they will retire in a few year?

Part of the question is how do you stop feeling like a loser after not attaining the goals you set for yourself when you were in your 20's!

Let's keep the discussion general and not about a specific career because maybe some ideas in different careers will help me. But I will say I have a white collar job where I get to set my own direction/goals and this means making myself motivated to do them.

Thanks again for being gentle!
I didn't get to experience megacorp mentality unti my 50's. When review time arrived I'd share with each boss that I got to the age of 50-whatever without career goals or plans, and saw no reason to make up goals and other nonsense.

I can honestly say that what I followed in life was a mantra like, "Do what's engaging and keeps you on a learning path." I was also always mercenary in my approach to making money. No learning, not enough money, no deal.

In my last job I had direct contact with the customer, whenever necessary. I became part of their team, and that really kept me motivated for five years.

One of the things brough up by management was to mentor younger people and help them along. This was attempted but never really took root. It wasn't my lack of desire or effort, just that most younger people already know everything, and usually find another job before the year's up. Still, this might be something to guide you.
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Old 08-05-2021, 12:59 AM   #19
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I stayed motivated by focusing on a few things:
- Developing my direct reports and my team
- Avoiding toxic co-workers as much as possible
- Accomplishing things that were meaningful to me and positively impacted the company
- When something happened at work that bothered me, reminding myself that it wouldn’t matter in 5 years/3 years/1 year. And it hasn’t!

I also created a list of things I was looking forward to post-ER so that I wouldn’t allow myself to get roped into the OMY mentality.
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Old 08-05-2021, 09:51 AM   #20
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I'm in R&D where visibility and results is everything.

I set the usual goals 20 year olds set.

Be the best in their field, conquer the world etc. To be honest I came close, I'm not a world beater, but I'm well known nationally. I didn't conquer the field but I made contributions people do acknowledge. But it's one of those fields if you are not known you may as well be not working in the field.

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I would be curious about what "goal" not met, that was set by a 20-year old mid, makes one feel like they are a "loser", if they have had a career good enough to be able to choose to retire. Often these are goals either set by others, or that one thinks will impress others. I know plenty of folks who achieved these type of goals they set - and they were still very unhappy.
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