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Three Challenges for the Pre-retirement Stage

Happy New Year fellow travelers along the life energy super-highway! My New Year's wishes for you are clarity, courage, and that SPARK that makes all things happen!

In December I included an article in my blog about the 5 stages of retirement and promised to go deeper into these phases in 2023. And here we are!

The first stage is called Pre-Retirement. It’s the phase in which you are still working in some

capacity. Maybe in your career field, maybe in a transition field in which you have been able to slow down a bit and not worry about chasing the brass ring of upward mobility. Just working to sock a little more money away. Many folks are planning for their financial future during this phase but there’s more to it.

Bruce Feiler, in his book Life Is In The Transitions: Mastering Change in A Nonlinear Age (2020), calls big transitions like retirement “lifequakes” and I know what he means. I found myself with all kinds of questions about my identity after 35+ years of regularly contributing to a workplace. If you can, it’s smart to ease into retirement by preparing a bit during the pre-retirement phase.

In pre-retirement, your priorities might start to adjust. You’ll definitely find yourself in more

conversations that start with “when I retire…” or “in 5 years, I’ll be…” or “I can’t wait to have

more time to …” You may also find yourself thinking more about legacy at this point than advancement. Ensuring you’ve left your mark, especially if you’re working for someone else.

I know many retirees who’ve found themselves quietly (or very publicly) sidelined when they approached retirement age. The thinking is usually that the future retiree has had a good run and it’s someone else’s turn to step into the spotlight. Good for the up-and-coming. Not so good for the seasoned, experienced pro who has some of their identity wrapped around being the “go-to” person.

Here’s a challenge for those of you nearing the age at which you’re going to retire to ensure

you’ve got positive things that feed your sense of self in your final working years.

Leave Things at Work Better Than You Found Them

You know that process that was always a little sticky and needed tweaking, but no one ever

had time to do it? How about fixing it? You could put your hard-won savvy to work and

potentially save your employer and fellow wage slaves a bunch of time and money.

Become a Mentor to Another Woman on the Team

There are always women climbing the ladder who could benefit from your expertise and

longevity with the company. Introduce them to the positive, influential people you know.

Help them strategize their next move. Be their cheerleader. Far fewer women report having mentors than men. You don’t need to be the CEO or department head to be a mentor. You

have more to share than you think!

Take on a Special Project so You Can Leave on a High Note

You may have some extra time on your hands and your boss, or a colleague may have a

problem they are solving that is getting too big to manage or for which you have a special

affinity. Can you take it (or a chunk of it) off their hands and deliver them a great solution?

You’ll feel good about your contribution, and you will have saved them a bunch of time and


Some of you may be thinking that you’ll be working your usual 60 hours a week right up until

the day you let go. Maybe so. It happens a lot. But it doesn’t hurt to think about how you could

ease yourself out on a high note.



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