In my work, I notice more and more women working after 60. Not because they “have to”, but because they “want to”. They enjoy their work. Like myself, they describe their work as their “life’s work”. These women have created a work lifestyle that allows them to continue their professional development and work toward self-actualization.
Are there secrets to a rewarding and satisfying work life after 60?
What is Rewarding and Satisfying Work?
In 2019, Gallup research focused on several dimensions of quality such as autonomy, opportunities for advancement, and job security. One of the key findings was that very few workers want their work to be “just a job”. In another earlier Gallup survey, only twenty percent of people were working in jobs that provide them the opportunity to excel in what they do best.
We spend so many of our waking hours working. We owe ourselves assurance that our work is rewarding and fulfilling. Unfortunately, many of us have felt trapped in mediocre careers. Often, we blamed poor company leadership and lack of opportunities. In these situations, daily work became a grind. We felt underutilized, undervalued, and suffered burnout. Read more about managing burnout in a recent blog series.
When we reached breaking point, many of us were propelled to change jobs or move on to another company. However, forever seeking and never being satisfied begs the question, “Why change seats on board the Titanic?”
The answer to fulfillment and success lies within you. It always has been up to you to find out where your passion lies, what you do best, and what professional development is best for you to achieve self-actualization.
In spite of having a degree of success, there may have been times when you experienced dissatisfaction or emptiness. This may have happened when you came to a mid-career point, a life transition or crisis, or when a promotion didn’t materialize. That may have been when you began to ask if there truly is meaning in the work that you do. For many of my clients, this question is profound when they are working or not working through cancer treatment or when they are approaching 60.
Earlier in your career, career choices were probably much easier to make because you had clarity about which options were advantageous. You may have plotted your ascent up the corporate ladder and enthusiastically set your career-enhancing goals.
However, by the time most of us reach mid-career, the ladder has moved quite a bit. Then as we approach 60, we are no longer climbing ladders, we are navigating runways and the runway is getting shorter.
Secret No. 1 - You Are Still in Charge
No one manages your career but you. Yes, there are other forces that can derail your career – such as a cancer diagnosis, caregiving responsibilities, or a pandemic! However, more importantly as ever, you must rely on yourself as your own guide even if you are fortunate to have a trusted mentor or coach.
Most of us have already moved between a few organizations by the time we reached this point in our careers. Most of us have worked and lived through company upheavals, downsizing, or mergers and acquisitions. Each change was an opportunity to reflect on the next strategy required to sustain a rewarding and satisfying work life.
As we approach each decade, our choices are no longer simple. Our paths are varied and unpredictable. There are many forks in the road and one wrong turn can mean loss of precious time that hinders recovery at this stage. There is no safety net…except self-responsibility and wisdom fueled by our experience.
Our wisdom affirms that success in work and life requires investment of time, effort, focus, emotional intelligence, and personal sacrifices. Those attaining the highest levels of success report being more satisfied with their work, their lifestyle, their compensation and the balance in their lives. They have been deliberate in applying self-responsibility towards achieving self-actualization.
Continuing in this series, we will explore other secrets to the joy of working after sixty - all underpinned by self-responsibility. In the next blog, we will explore the following three core questions and the power of purpose.
- Who are you? What are your core values?
- What is your core purpose?
- What are you trying to do with your life?
In the meantime, what do you think? How are you navigating the runway? Are you preparing for what’s next or are you currently enjoying your work after 60?
Learn more about self-responsibility and self-actualization in the model of emotional intelligence. Check out the THRIVE in Work and LifeTM programs. Check out the online mini-course Your Building Blocks to Emotional Well-Being and Resilience.
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