Leadership,  Living as a Leader

What will keep me from Retirement!

Photo by Tony Schmid
I’ve been asked a number of times over the last few months some version of this question – “how long do you see yourself doing your job?” At first I wasn’t sure why people asked me this question. I wondered if it was God’s gentle way of preparing me to move on. Or was it that I unintentionally appeared bored or unengaged in my work – though I am far from either. Maybe it’s simply that there’s an assumption that people in their 50’s don’t work at camp.

I finally asked one of my inquisitive friends what was behind their question. His answer was simple, “most people your age start thinking about retirement and with all the demands of your work I wondered if you were thinking about it as well”

Now his answer took me a  bit off guard. You see retirement isn’t on my radar. It’s not something I aspire to. I want to work as long as I’m capable of doing so. You see I love my job and, I have to admit, I love to work.

But I don’t love just any kind of work. I love work that is both challenging
and meaningful.

Challenging work is work that leads to personal learning and growth. And because I never want to stop learning, growing and becoming a better person, I need to do challenging work.

Secondly I want meaningful work because making a difference in the lives of others and in the world is why I exist; this is the calling of my life.

So I’ve answered my inquisitive friends in this way – I’ll continue in my role at SpringHill, with the blessing of our board, as long as I’m capable doing quality work and the job continues to be both challenging and meaningful. It’s only when it’s no longer challenging and meaningful that I’ll consider moving on, not to retirement, but to some new work where I can learn, grow and make a difference.

One Comment

  • Neil Ebersoldt

    Mike, I pretty much agree with what you said about retirement. Just keep one other thing in mind. You will always want to keep in mind the people in your organization that are capable of taking your place. They may become discouraged and leave if they think you will stay so long that their chances in your organization or limited. I really enjoy your email. Take care and tell Denise hello. Neil

    Thank you, Neil Ebersoldt O’Brien & Associates 314.440.8278

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