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professional relationships after retirement
Old 07-16-2021, 03:47 PM   #1
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professional relationships after retirement

Hi all. I am likely to retire end of 2022. I could have retired sooner, but the last couple of years I have not been working hard, and yet I have still been paid very well. So it just makes sense.

For me, the retirement decision is all about psychology/happiness, rather than money. I have saved plenty of money.

But I am prone to over-thinking things and to anxiety, so the "mental part" of retirement looms large for me.

One thing I am thinking about is what will become of my professional relationships after retirement. I don't mean with people in my company, but instead with people all over the US in my industry with whom I have developed friendships. People I see at industry conferences, business boondoggle trips, dinners, etc. None of those folks are retiring -- though many are older than I am. I have found these relationships to be the most rewarding part of my career (putting aside financial compensation). For those of you who had such relationships, did you continue them after retirement? Or did they just end?

For me it would be unfortunate for them to end. But I think maybe we would no longer have much in common.
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Old 07-16-2021, 03:59 PM   #2
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Unless you had a real personal connection with an individual, I think the only reason to maintain them is if you anticipate getting back into your field. I sent out an email to all of the contacts I really valued giving them my personal contact info. I’ve only connected with a couple of them since.

YMMV, but I found once I left I was happy to shed the network. I’ve given guidance to a few who called asking for my input, but I see no need to maintain the relationships.
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Old 07-16-2021, 04:03 PM   #3
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I was in a similar situation twice, once in 2008 when I left a long career behind and in 2016 when we sold the business which we founded in 2008. Walking away from it all meant that it was also walking away from all the relationships formed in the same and different cities and states. We had no heart burns walking away from everyone whom we knew in our careers. Work and people had their place when we were working. These were close acquaintances as long as we were in that environment. The new chapter means meeting new people who are now similar to us, i.e. retirees.

We also moved to a different state when we retired and what is more important is the many new friendships we have formed with neighbors and club members.
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Old 07-16-2021, 04:27 PM   #4
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Welcoming to retirement. I've not had much success with keeping in contact with my co-workers and colleagues. Started by exchanging email and occasional phone calls but, wained over time as did my relevancy in the field. Hope you have better results.
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Old 07-16-2021, 04:29 PM   #5
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Most of my professional contacts were local (Hawaii), & I still see them at my Rotary club & other conferences that I attend. The others all got my personal contact info, & we Zoom when we want to see each other.
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Old 07-16-2021, 05:04 PM   #6
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I continue to attend Association events & meetings. There is a few grey hairs there. we have a laugh at the young uns being so earnest & trying hard. I can't do much of the Zoom calls...bores me to death. Of course I was the same pre Covid. I maybe do once a month(?) As long as they are providing hors d'verbs I'm getting a free dinner (LOL) Hey, I'm on a fixed income now!

This is all local not State or National stuff. Maybe check in on a few Association events & see if you still fit
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Old 07-16-2021, 06:07 PM   #7
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I didn't have distant network connections the way you did; they were all local. After I retired, I maintained contact with my best friend at the company. We continue to get together semi-regularly and catch up. I don't continue to have relationships with any of my other coworkers -- we just didn't have enough in common, apart from the work -- although I see a couple of them around town occasionally.
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Old 07-16-2021, 06:58 PM   #8
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Throughout the last 18 years at my company, we would often have 10-12 fellows that would meet in cities throughout our region--spending 4 days/nights a week together.

Despite being very tight, after we retired there is virtually no contact amongst any of us. It's often just how it is, especially since we all lived in different states in The South.

I would love to stop and see my work friends as we travel, but after 36 years of heavy company travel, I seldom go anywhere domestically.

The best bet to having a good retirement is to pick a couple or three hobbies to get into. For me, it's international travel, keeping up two houses (one on the lake) and having a RV in the mountains.
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Old 07-16-2021, 07:00 PM   #9
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One thing I am thinking about is what will become of my professional relationships after retirement. I don't mean with people in my company, but instead with people all over the US in my industry with whom I have developed friendships. People I see at industry conferences, business boondoggle trips, dinners, etc.
Those will evaporate, immediately. And you'll realize, sadly maybe, that they were never real friendships to begin with. They were a means to an end. Just as contracts came and went throughout your career, when your company ended business with another, sure, you'd still catch a coffee with that account VP at a conference but not quite the same (and the coffee only happened because they hoped to keep a foothold). I might sound cynical, but hey, that's what it is. Transactional relationships - even those that jump that definition a bit - are still severed when the transaction ends.

I had many meaningful connections with various folks, travelled with them, broke bread, worked together for years, but when their company or mine severed, fond moments, etc, poof - and that's when I was still working. I managed a lot of stuff that my MC outsourced so I was the relationship owner for a lot of key contracts. Lots of mutual schmoozing for years makes for lots of friends. And when I RE'd? Eh, maybe a hit on linkedin every now and then.

That's ok for me though, they were using me and I was using them (and I probably couldn't have said that at the time, or even 1-2 years after retiring). Not in a mean spirited way, but a relationship built on a means-to-an-end does not survive when those means are no longer included.
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Old 07-16-2021, 07:19 PM   #10
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All my professional relationships ended when I retired. I'm not sad.
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Old 07-16-2021, 07:38 PM   #11
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Those will evaporate, immediately. And you'll realize, sadly maybe, that they were never real friendships to begin with. They were a means to an end. Just as contracts came and went throughout your career, when your company ended business with another, sure, you'd still catch a coffee with that account VP at a conference but not quite the same (and the coffee only happened because they hoped to keep a foothold). I might sound cynical, but hey, that's what it is. Transactional relationships - even those that jump that definition a bit - are still severed when the transaction ends.

I had many meaningful connections with various folks, travelled with them, broke bread, worked together for years, but when their company or mine severed, fond moments, etc, poof - and that's when I was still working. I managed a lot of stuff that my MC outsourced so I was the relationship owner for a lot of key contracts. Lots of mutual schmoozing for years makes for lots of friends. And when I RE'd? Eh, maybe a hit on linkedin every now and then.

That's ok for me though, they were using me and I was using them (and I probably couldn't have said that at the time, or even 1-2 years after retiring). Not in a mean spirited way, but a relationship built on a means-to-an-end does not survive when those means are no longer included.
Very well put.
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Old 07-16-2021, 07:50 PM   #12
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Not exactly what you're asking about, but my office location for the past 3+ years recently closed and I was reassigned. I was very friendly with a bunch of people I worked with there. We went out socially pretty regularly - dinner, escape rooms, axe throwing, etc.


I've been in touch with exactly one of those people in the couple of months since we closed, and that is someone my wife and I had gotten to be particularly good friends with prior to that point. We just had dinner with her and her wife 2 weeks ago. I'm quite sure that friendship will continue. The others? We'll probably interact some on Facebook but I wouldn't be surprised if I never see them again. Not because we don't like each other, but now that we're no longer working together, we just don't travel in the same circles or share that common bond.
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Old 07-16-2021, 08:03 PM   #13
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Unless you have something in common besides your professional interests, expect the people to quickly fade away. My experience was that there were regular contacts for the first year or so, but once I became more settled and the company continues to exist/evolve, there was not really much to talk about anymore. Strange, since I had a group of people that I worked with for 25 years, but there you have it - took some time for me to understand that these were warm work friendships that could not be sustained in the absence of the daily contact and shared experiences.
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Old 07-16-2021, 08:08 PM   #14
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....For those of you who had such relationships, did you continue them after retirement? Or did they just end?

For me it would be unfortunate for them to end. But I think maybe we would no longer have much in common.
For the most part they just ended as we no longer cross paths regularly but numerous equally or more satisfying relationships from my retirement hobbies emerged to take their place.

I talk to a couple previous bosses once a year or so. DW and I had lunch with another for partner that I worked closely with and her husband at the tail end of attending a PGA golf tournament near to where she lives. In another instance DW and I were visiting a friend who happens to live in the same town as a former work colleague and I called the former work colleague and we had breakfast together.

That's about it.... if I'm visiting an area where a former work colleague lives then I often try to look them up.
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Old 07-16-2021, 09:42 PM   #15
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medved,
You may not really want to retire. You said that your friends included people getting up in age that were not retiring. Those are typically people who’s job is their life. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as they’re happy. You need to determine where you’re at. As has been said, those folks will be gone when you retire. If not immediately, soon. With that in mind, the next move is yours. If you don’t feel you have something else to retire to, then you should probably keep working until you figure that out. Or, accept that work is your life and keep on keeping on.

Either way, make sure you do what makes you happy.
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Old 07-16-2021, 09:56 PM   #16
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I worked for 41 yrs in a megahealthcare system. It was a great career, varied roles and challenges, never bored.
Two years ago, at 62, I had enough of administrative changes, had enough assets and pulled the plug.

There were 5 of us within a larger group that shared 25-35 yrs working together. We all were committed professionals who took pride in our accomplishments together.
We also met for dinners with spouses, attended our kids weddings, some traveled together.

Only one of our five is still working.
The rest of us text/call every week or so, meet for lunch or craft beer, walks at the lake every couple months. None of us plan to leave the geographic area. We all live within 40 mi radius.
I think our situation is rare. Its only been two year ls but I dont see us losing touch.
Two of us have new grankids that comnects us in a new way.

The 150 others in my department were mostly good long time co-workers but I doubt I'll see them again. And thats fine.

Its nice that I've connected with a few new friends in our new retirement neighborhood but so glad I think the old ones will stick around.
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professional relationships after retirement
Old 07-16-2021, 10:43 PM   #17
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professional relationships after retirement

I developed a few fishing buddies through work and that hobby has become the glue after FIREing, especially with the ones who have boats. I donít have a boat but the ones who do need butts to fill the seats periodically. And Iím usually available.
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Old 07-16-2021, 11:35 PM   #18
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I've been retired 7 years, and have only seen a few professional contacts during a couple of days in court cases that I testified at a few years after retirement.

I enjoyed and miss working, etc with those people, but it ended.
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Old 07-17-2021, 08:35 AM   #19
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There's nothing to keep you from membership in your industry professional groups, going to local or distant meetings, and continuing to participate both online and in real life.

After retirement (and before the pandemic) I stepped up my participation in one of my professional groups, attending more of the monthly local meetings to stay on top of technology and just be able to get together with others having similar background and interests.
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Old 07-17-2021, 08:42 AM   #20
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I kept some professional memberships and attended meetings and national conferences for many years after retiring. Nobody thought that was strange, and there were quite a few of us in that situation. The camaraderie and the activities were enjoyable and interesting, so why not?
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