Creating your Own Vacancy

April 30, 2008

What do you see for your future?  Will you be doing this same job until the grim reaper comes knocking at your door?  I have heard many stories out there of people meeting their maker shortly after retirement.  The most recent was a gentleman who had a heart attack at his work station with his co-workers taking a week to notice that he had passed.    Apparently his co-workers said that he worked long hours and it wasn’t out of the ordinary for him to be sitting there for hours on end in the same position.  Yeaks!!!  Is that you?

The late billionaire, James Goldsmith coined the phrase, “When a man marries his mistress, he immediately creates a vacancy.”  What’s true with philanderers can sometimes be true in life.  The question is, “How do you want to create your vacancy?”  I prefer to do it on my own terms.  I believe it is never too late to start thinking about what one wants to do in their later years.   Baby Boomers are redefining the term “Retirement”, with people living longer and healthier lives, the opportunities are endless. 

Take a moment to visualize what you want for yourself.  What do your “retirement or later years” look like?   As a career coach, I have worked with many people over the years that were faced with this very question and for many it was a painful process. I counseled a gentleman who was a Director of Marketing at a large high-technology firm and laid-off.  For a long time he walked around with an air of anger and resentment at his former employer.  With many months of soul searching, he came to the realization that he wanted to do something completely different from what he did in the past. He wanted to incorporate his passion which was to make sure he was the first scheduled on the green for “tee” time.  He took a position as a part-time facilities manager with afternoon hours so he could do what he loved — golf every morning. 

The point I am trying to “drive home” is to start preparing now for what is the inevitable.  Take the steps now to make sure you are “living out your dream”.   Many people are taking their hobbies and interests and turning them into their next careers.  Start preparing now so you can be agile for whatever life may send your way.  Think about what you want your “retirement” to look like.  Could it be another career?  If this is the case, then do you have the skills you need?  Do I have to go back to school or get additional training?  What do you need to do to prepare financially?  Start building the foundation for what you want.  It’s time to take charge of your own destiny and define how you are going to create your own vacancy.    

This article was written by Liane H. Gould, Manager of Career Services of the ACS Department of Career Management and Development.