Although Santa is long past the traditional retirement age, he is still going strong. Every year he supervises the production and distribution of toys to good little girls and boys across the planet. Is his job stressful? You bet.
Keeping up with the latest toy trends and fads is a full-time job. Santa’s ability to negotiate favorable contracts and keep elf labor relations jolly is legendary. He is a whiz at employee motivation keeping his vast workforce at peak production until every toy is delivered on Christmas Day.
Online security and data base administration for the billions of people Santa keeps track of can be nightmarish. Hackers and cyber criminals are constantly searching for ways to find out who has been naughty and to use that information to their advantage. Yet Santa takes it all in stride. After all, it’s part of the job – a job from which he will never retire.
Santa may be on to something. More and more boomers are following his example continuing to work long past 65. Why? Like Santa, they find joy in working. While boomers may leave their current jobs or career, many of them are continuing to work in jobs that allow them to pursue new or long forgotten areas of interest.
Work gives us a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Work provides meaning and interaction. Work develops and uses skills and abilities. Work keeps us engaged and learning. Why would you want to give that up? More and more boomers are asking themselves that question.
I am among the growing number of boomers who never plan to retire. I may increase the amount of vacation time I take during a year, but I will always be engaged in some sort of enterprise or endeavor. I plan to work at something or for someone until I am no longer physically or mentally able to do so.
I must confess. I have an advantage over many other baby boomers. I am a serial entrepreneur. I had my first business when I was 5 years old. I cut and sold flowers from my mother’s flower garden. In grade school I sold Wallace Brown Christmas cards door to door. In high school, I made and sold wreaths and centerpieces to local florists. I taught piano lessons for 20 years – first out of necessity, then for the love of music. Now I coach baby boomers and help them figure out what is next for them after they stop working.
Starting and running a business is natural to me. I know for others it is a real stretch. But having the opportunity to do something you love for the rest of your life is something you should start planning to do now before your last day of work. If you are not interested in starting, building, and marketing a business consider looking for side gigs, freelancing, consulting or contracted services opportunities.
Will you be like Santa and continue to work long past the traditional retirement age of 65? I am genuinely interested in your answer.