Nearly two years ago, I gave up my corporate government business card. The one that for 15 years, was my professional identify – to who I was in the business and community world. In the past 22 months, the transition from corporate world to semi retired was and continues to be challenging.
How many hundreds of business cards had I given out – and how many hundreds had I received. Suddenly I was faced with deciding which business cards to keep and which to throw away – and that is hard – it is like throwing some part of your life away. Even now, there are some that I have kept – although I realise that we have both moved on and I have not seen these people since leaving and have no reason to expect any further interaction. Think aobut how many business cards in your corporate career that you have collected, filed away as you maybe like I was, out and about every week at business breakfast, lunches, dinners, training, forums – always networking, developing business relationships – looking how you might be able to assist another business, refer, or do business with them.
I loved my corporate government work as a business development officer. I was always looking to assist those business owners with a passion and real commitment, to coach and support in the development and growth of their business. My background and high level of government training covered Exporting, Manufacturing (large and small businesses), start up businesses, businesses hit by natural disasters, global downturns, Innovative IT businesses and everything in between. My business card – my title on my business card, the years of relationship development, my credibility and trust in government departments at all levesl, throughout the business community enabled me to network successfully with the business card providing an immediate impression of what I do, who I am.
Then suddenly, with a first grandchild on the way, and always thinking I would retire at aged 55, I accepted a government package, and resigned to spend time with my daughter on maternity leave and enjoy time with my first grandchild.
Did I give any thought to what else I might do?
Well yes, of course. I just could not walk away from business development work. And after all, who was I without a business card?
So I set up My Business Doctor – as a way to satisfy my need and passion to continue to assist business people – whilst at the same time, I continued – actually I ramped up, with a new website and some marketing, my other micro business as a Celebrant.
As time went past rapidly, I found myself providing far more support, far more hours, days to seeing, helping my daughter and minding my grand daughter. Beautiful, fun, memorable times. And then add to the mix my elderly mum. I will always remember fondly, the time the four generational females, had coffee and cake, lunch or shopped together. I also found myself providing many hours of care and support for my elderly mother. And then!!! My husband decided to retire – and looked to spend time doing things together.
But what of the businesses? With such limited time, one was bound to fall behind. And it was My Business Doctor that just didn’t receive the time for marketing and promoting that I had anticipated. Providing so much family care support and with the huge increase in wedding work I didn’t have the time to follow up some amazing publicity that I received in the media.
Enquiries for my work as a celebrant were so regular (I estimate it takes 12 to 15 hours per ceremony!), that I found myself declining some ceremonies – as I struggled to manage all the family, personal and business demands of my time.
So, who am I without a corporate business card? Without my corporate identity?
What do I say when someone asks – So what do you do?
I am still tied to that high flyer, the high achiever, the woman of influence, the queen of networking – it is still hard to let go, of all that I worked, studied and aimed for in my vocational position within Government.
No longer Celena Ross, Regional Coordinator of Office of Women’s Policy, no longer Celena Ross, Principal Business Development Officer, Department Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, no longer Project Officer of a large infrastructure project, no longer manager, no longer team leader. My government business card provided an impression of seniority, of influence, of knowledge – a professional identity with value and meaning.
I just haven’t been able to let go, of some of those labels which define my background. I do introduce myself as Celena Ross, Celebrant as I start to transition, to let go of My Business Doctor. But my ego just won’t let me do that completely. I am nearly out of my My Business Doctor Business Cards. That leaves me with Celena Ross Celebrant cards. It is interesting to observe body language and facial features of business people I am now introduced to, or introduce myself to….using just the title of Celebrant.
It is a classic lesson, to look beyond the cover! For behind this title lies so much knowledge, experience and yes still strong contacts….but they will diminish. When I attend local businesswomen network meetings, I now observe the next generation of business and corporate women, striving, working hard to make their mark on the world. Juggling work and demands of a family! So difficult! Hmmm here I am still doing the same thing, but as a mature aged person, we just don’t have media attention of how difficult it is when you become part of the sandwich generation, providing support to grand children and elderly parents and working or operating a small business. And when you are working from home semi-retired, it is expected that you are available all hours of the day.
Question What shall I do next?
How might I continue to make a difference? I continue to have new ideas…but presently, my daughter has had another baby – and I am again providing huge hours, days to help and support her. I declined many enquiries for December to February ceremonies, so that I would have the time to assist her…and don’t forget my elderly mum – today I spent nearly 2 hours talking to tradesmen, Home Assist and Occupational Therapist – before doing shopping for my daughter. I love the time with my family…..but at night, I think….who am I becoming? Whilst grappling with where to from here, I enrolled in 2 Young 2 Retire facilitation training. That was fantastic – every week I would link into a telecast – mostly all participants were from America. It was fantastic for my brain, for the start of new ideas and how I might in turn assist other women plan for a transition to semi retirement.
Certainly I have transitioned to a semi retirement lifestyle – in that my business takes back seat to family demands and finally some time for me…..but where to as my daughter needs me less? Hmmmm of course my elderly mum will likely need me more. But I have great flexibility in my time. My daughter has many friends and no doubt will soon be busy meeting with friends, and activities with her little daughters. Hmmm my elderly mum and her increasing demands though are a concern. I don’t want to get to 65 years plus and not achieve what I hope and plan to, because I have had to become a full time carer. How often does a woman in particular on transitioning to semi retirement suddenly become a full time carer? Travel – yes have flexibility for travel and looking forward to a trip soon to Europe and a river cruise. Yes, there are times when hubby and I just go for a walk, go out for lunch.
However, the question remains when you have spent decades building your career, you are a high achiever – who do we become when we let go of our corporate identity? How much time, do we plan when we dream of stepping away and out of the corporate/business world? Research reveals that most of us just thing, I am so sick of this job,career, I am burnt out, I need a change, can’t stand the new boss, have been around so long that in meetings when the younger, new staff come up with an idea I hear myself saying, no won’t work, we’ve tried that a couple of times over the decades!
We dream of travel, of time to just sit and read, to shop, to exercise, go out for lunch at the spur of the moment, to garden, spend time with grand children, to pursue passions and make volunteer…..but we just don’t really stop and plan our semi to full retirement life. How strange, when we have decades of experience and highly developed skills in planning.
Who will you be and how will you cope without your corporate business card? Who will you become?
Transition to Semi or full Retirement is more than financial planning. Retiree Matters http://retireematters.com.au is my answer to not only who I become, but also to mentor and assist you with your life planning, your transition to the next Stage of your Life.
What will you do without your corporate identity? Will you semi or fully retire?
What will you do if your health fails? How will you manage living 24/7 with your partner in retirement? How will you fill your hours? How will you use your well developed skills, your education?
How do you let go of your high visibility, status and influence?
Will you start a small business – in redefining your next stage in life, you don’t have to let go of everything, but you do need to really stop and plan. What do you hope for as you transition to retirement? Can you see it? what issues might arise that might derail your plans? How will you cope moving away from decades of experience, high powered meetings, leading teams and projects?
2 Young 2 retire has provided me with facilitation accreditation but my real life experience provides me with the extra to assist support and guide corporate women in their transition.