Do be do be do

Do be do be do


Do be do be do

As Frank Sinatra sang : are we what we do or who we are? Going into retirement makes the song into a constant refrain, but Portfolio Professionals find ‘My Way’ to make the transition.

That’s Life

The sales director was not used to hiding.  But today he was really hoping no one would get into the lift.  Sloping off early for a game of golf, he pressed the button for the ground floor nervously.  To his horror, just before the ‘C’ floor (where all the chiefs sat) the lift went ping.  To his relief, the person who got in was not one of the current Board, but the recently retired Chairman, a man of few words (and those blunt and critical) and formerly a much feared autocrat. 

The Sales Director breathed easier, and asked ‘how are you enjoying your retirement?’

‘I’m not enjoying it at all.  My legs are playing up so I can’t play golf.  The wife doesn’t want me around the house all the while. No one wants to know me anymore; the phone doesn’t ring.  I wish I’d never retired’

The ex Chairman’s monologue had delivered more words than usual.  And now the lift doors opened at the ground floor.  The mightily relieved sales director smiled wryly and said ‘I’m very sorry to hear you’re not enjoying your retirement, sir.  I must say everybody here is’

Do be do be do

n a life of career (and conditioning) we become identified by paid work.  ‘What do you do?’ is the question new acquaintances ask. ‘How much do I earn’ becomes the value by which we judge ourselves.

In life after career we become identified by other roles : grandparent, partner, parent, charity worker. Roles that are of greater intrinsic value and more enduring than any at work – just think of what stood out in all those funeral elegies you’ve listened to.

But can we throw off the conditioning of years and value ‘who we are’ not ‘what we earn’.

In the years of work, our worth can be lazily assessed through signals, symbols, possessions; our identity reinforced by PLUS signs – People Like US ; where do others stand versus me, are they like me. The signals are based on the drivers of survival and ambition and career.

In our second life after retirement, these symbols and signals are gone and are unimportant. In their place, adult education courses, societies, book groups, learning for life shared with a magic mixture of people - rich, poor, pensioned, bankrupt, mansion dwellers, bedsit tenants. No-one knows or cares. It’s the common interest that draws people together and their individual characters shine out, not their means

The opportunity to be YOU, not a reflection of others’ view of you

My Way……

….is one of the most heard songs at retirement parties…and at funerals. So what’s the best way of filling the time in between?

When time is more precious than money, what energy needs to be spent on possessions and financial symbols?

When status and survival in the herd are replaced by tolerance and acceptance, what new ways of freedom open up? After the narrowing of options in the work channel, a choice of life enhancing activities open up. Decisions on ‘where to live’, ‘what to do’ used to be circumscribed by work location, schools, parents. How to live with the agony of free choice!? How to make decisions when the major metrics have changed?

Here are some tips from other Portfolio Professionals :

  • ‘Less is more’. Reducing possessions and baggage gives more time for new learning. Declutter your life, let go of things from the past, live in the moment
  • ‘You can’t take it with you but you can leave a legacy’.  Knowledge and information no longer constitute power in the age of the Internet; but wisdom, experience and understanding of people grow with age; these are the assets which do not diminish with the years
  •  ‘It’s not what you got, it’s who you are’
  • ‘Follow your talents’. Life can now blend home work, charity work, study work; do what you enjoy and be rewarded for it – with growth and fulfilment, not money
  • ‘Your way’ It’s your choice and you have the freedom to choose the journey. The world will throw opportunities at your feet if you know what you want to do, whatever your age

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