You Know It’s Time to Retire When….

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You put in your time. Worked the 12-hour days, the weekends, and you’ve accomplished a lot. You’ve helped the company grow and received your share of promotions and attaboys. But maybe, just maybe, it’s time to explore new options, to combine your favorite hobby or pastime with something that brings in money. Everyone in their 50s or 60s has felt the urge. But how do you know when it’s time to retire? Here are some signs to help you decide: 


The burn out.  You’ve simply got too many “miles on the odometer” to pull those 12-hour days and weekends at the office. You’ve tried the energy drinks and they give you a 2-hour boost and leave you with a 5-hour crash. You find yourself staring at your computer like a zombie, and you’re a near narcoleptic in those late afternoon meetings. It’s time.

The zone out. You can do your job practically in your sleep. There simply are no more challenges to overcome, no more “hills to take.” Your job skills and knowledge exceed the job. You may be close to the top of the ladder, but the very top is far too political for your taste. You used to like mentoring newbies, but in this economy, the company hasn’t hired anyone in nearly a year. In short, the thrill is gone.

The comfort zone. The lunches keep getting longer and the workload keeps getting lighter. You keep hearing things like, “So and so can handle that” and “the computer program does that now.” It could be the boss is getting ready to outplace you. You find yourself all caught up by noon with nothing to do but water the plants or wander from office to office talking politics, sports or vacations. 

You go surfing. Web surfing becomes an obsession. You start looking into alternate part-time careers. You check out hobbies that generate income. You build files and folders on your computer that detail how to get started. This may lead you to take some courses at a community college. You talk to your spouse and relatives about jettisoning your job to get their reaction.  

The angel on your shoulder. It’s that little voice in your head that keeps saying, “Time to get out, try something new. Leave before you keel over at your desk and the EMTs jump start you with 400-watt seconds of paddles to the chest.” You need to listen to that voice. Because you know it’s never been wrong. It told you to take this job 10 years ago, but now it’s saying you’ve had enough. Listen to it. Heed its warning. 


Just because you’re 60 or 65 doesn’t mean you have to settle for “chewing the leather.” Today’s seniors have a wealth of options for post retirement careers. Got some suggestions? Include them in the comments section below.



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  • Patricia B
    Patricia B
    Really interesting comments.  I am already retired (6/12) and am now wanting to return part time in a non acute setting.  I am 70 yrs and one month before the retirement date, went to work one morning and just knew it was over.  I had a vacation planned & human resources helped me determine a retirement date.  I was just not present-totally burned out.  So glad I retired, however for additional $ and the socialization, am now looking  for part time RN.  I had worked as a nurse practitioner for many years.  Now my skills are rusty and so???
  • Alex Kecskes
    Alex Kecskes
    Hang in there, Donna. The population is aging and the growing numbers of older patients will value your skills and experience. Ferd: It's always a good idea to keep your ears to the ground and listen for signs of your impending "outplacement."
  • Donna C
    Donna C
    This was certainly a helpful article about time to get out.  I'm 63 now and was recently terminated because of poor computer skills.  Other nurse co-workers told me that they don't want to work with old nurses.  I have some chronic illnrsses and have been thinking about applying for early social security.
  • Ferd D
    Ferd D
    I fully agree with Alex's points.  But there's more.If you have been around as long as Alex implies (either at the same company or in the same job field) then you should be able to read the signs of how well business is doing and what management really thinks of you.  So analyze the company and decide if it is still going in the direction you want to go.Keep aware of your costs to the company, and how (or if) management values you enough to still feel that they’re getting a good deal.  As an older employee you are probably receiving higher salary and more expensive benefits, and the assumption is you will slow down.  Every day some upstart executive wannabe suggests that you can be replaced with cheaper talent.  Watch for it, and be ready to disprove it / prove your worth yet again or prepare your exit.

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