Consulting as the New Retirement

July 22, 2015 by FlexPro

workretireThe light at the end of the tunnel.  The ultimate vacation.  Finish line to a storied career.  Sit around a corporate veteran long enough and you’re sure to be swimming in a sea of retirement clichés.  The career life cycle has become a commonplace for aging professionals in the American workforce, having changed very little over the past century.  You learn, you work, you plan, and then you sail off into the sunset celebrating four or five decades of professional success.

Terming retirement a ‘finish line’ implies there is nothing left to be done after the race to the end is over.  But as more and more Americans are discovering, there are both personal and professional challenges that exist after the candles on the final office cake have gone out.  Dying social security and an unprecedented cost of living have stretched retirees financially while the lack of a stable work schedule can drive a lack of fulfillment.  Subtract an outlet for a career-tested goldmine of expertise and you have the makings of another race after the aforementioned endpoint.

But what if there was a way to maintain professional fulfillment, quell financial concerns, and still enjoy time with coworkers long after the last day was supposed to come?  This week, we take a look at a few ways consulting can be the perfect fit for this generation of retiring professionals.  Not all good careers must come to an end.

Spreading the Wealth

When it comes to project management, there is no substitute for diverse experience.  Navigating issues and identifying solutions are two skills that are built on having encountered troubled waters on other projects, leaving a prime role for those looking to make a more limited contribution.  The expertise gained throughout a successful career often goes out the door with a retiree, but the emerging trend of post-career consulting allows them to inject it into ongoing projects.  For someone that remains interested in making a difference at the retirement age, consulting as an advisor can be a win all the way around.

Paying the Bills

There is certainly a higher strain than ever on retiring professionals to make the most of the dollars they earned over a prolific career.  Throw in a diminishing social security return and you’ve got a new age of older Americans that fall in a gray area between happily sailing off into the sunset and never being able to leave their desk.  Consulting on a part-time basis places a limit on the number of hours retirees need to spend in the office while still providing a boost in income.  Children pursuing further education, high costs of living, and other family expenses are all complex issues for the experienced worker.  Consulting in a smaller capacity is slowly becoming a popular solution.

Maintaining Your Circle

Making the gigantic leap from a full-time office job to a stay-at-home life of leisure has all the makings of a stress-free, simple existence.  But that change in schedule is accompanied by a tough drop off in social interaction with familiar faces and amicable coworkers.  So how can a retirement-aged professional stay at the party while not facing the same type of tension that has driven their life from the moment after graduation?  That’s right, a consulting role.  Playing the part of an advisor is the perfect intermediary between the two traditional options.  The need to choose greener (and calmer) pastures over social interaction with close colleagues is slowly becoming a thing of the past.

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