Let’s talk about the elephant in the room:
Despite what you may think, most baby boomers who transition out of a C-Suite role after age 60 are not “retiring”… Sure, it’s easy to label it that. The indicators are all there -- they are dangerously close to traditional retirement age. They are exiting their current role. They have achieved a high level of success so they have clearly ‘earned the right’ to kick back and enjoy life… It’s easy to conclude they must be ‘retiring’!
But they’re not!
They are what I call “Boomer”angs. They exit one role and start another. Their new role may be in a different line of work, at a different pace, or under different circumstances, but it is clearly work!
These boomers know they have a lot left in them to give. And they vehemently reject the word ‘retirement’ to describe their transition -- and I don’t blame them. They want to continue contributing in significant ways – growing an organization, adding value, and for many, doing paid work.
When word starts spreading that retirement is on someone’s horizon, doors start to close and people begin to think of them differently… or worse… not at all.
We may hesitate to recommend them for a position because we secretly suspect they don’t really want to work anymore. We may encourage them to travel and rib them about spending time on the golf course, refusing to take their job search seriously. We may simply forget about them because they are no longer the CEO of xyz, Inc. or the owner of abc company. This has the effect of unnecessarily diminishing their strong market place brand, harming their credibility and limiting the opportunities they will seriously be considered for.
We don’t mean to do it, of course! But it happens. The value these C-Suite professionals bring is worth more than we can afford to throw away. The wisdom and experience they bring is sorely needed to boost our economy and develop the next generation of tail-end boomers, Gen X’ers and Millennial leaders. Let’s make it easy for C-Suite early boomers to seek and find that next role, the one that they can embrace, that plays to their strengths, ignites their passion and contributes in meaningful ways.
Take action – help the C-Suite boomer’ang’s you know and love transition well! And if you’re the C-Suite boomerang, and you’re not ready to retire, share this post and let’s get a real conversation going.
Let’s not just be aware of this trend. Let’s change it.