I know someone who enjoys his job and decided to work past age 65. But he is all too aware that at least some of his employees are thinking “When will my boss retire?”
He smiles when he tells the story, but he’s also sympathetic to what they are probably feeling. After all, you can’t move up if nobody above you on the career ladder leaves.
Can I “help” my boss retire?
Ok. Although I’m not proud of it (or maybe I am), I once helped someone I worked for decide to move on and take another job. She was really hard to work for and spent most of the day taking care of personal business.
While I still did my best to support her in my work, I also was very supportive when she began talking about looking elsewhere for better opportunities. And it was my absolute pleasure to throw her a farewell party when she left.
Now, I’m not suggesting you try to usher your boss out the door. Retiring is a bit different than career advancement. Not only will it probably not work, but odds are your efforts to help your boss retire will backfire on you.
So before you gather brochures about living in Florida or the joys of gardening to secretly leave on your boss’s desk, you might want to look at your real options. Just in case your boss is going to be there for a while.
Why do you want your boss to go?
When you find yourself dreaming of that glorious day your boss finally heads off into the retirement sunset … what is it that you see for yourself? Some possible reasons you want to see your boss retire:
- You expect to get their job.
- They are stuck in the past and you want to see some fresh ideas.
- Your boss is terrible at the job, and it’s painful working for them.
- Even if you won’t get their job, you’ll get to move up.
- For whatever reason, you just can’t stand the person.
Some reasons boss won’t retire
Not that it’s going to change anything, but It may help to put yourself into your boss’s shoes just for just a moment. What’s going on in their head? Why won’t they retire already?
Well, there are many possibilities. But leading the list, a person’s identity often gets caught up in their work. Or at least in the idea of having a job. And even after years of dreaming about retirement, as you approach the traditional retirement age of 65, suddenly all those years loom ahead of you.
What are you going to do with your time? Who are you without a job? Can you not work at all and still feel good about yourself? What if you retire, and it’s nothing but endless boredom and feeling useless?
Plus, there is the harsh reality of what it costs to live. Even with a nice retirement nest egg and social security, many people prefer having the extra flow of income. And also, for many, the job (and people) they know feels a lot more secure than throwing themselves into something brand new — even if new could actually turn into something wonderful.
Alternatives if boss won’t retire
So, let’s assume that you aren’t going to see your boss leave any time soon. And let’s also assume that you have been itching for the day, and you are not happy. What are your options?
- Well, first it might be time to look at why this is bothering you so much. Perhaps your own career needs a boost, and this can be the motivation you need to take action.
- Maybe it’s simply time for a new job. If this bugs you so much, do you really want to just wait around for the next five years or so?
- You can always look to change things for yourself within your current job. New areas of interest. New skills. New projects you propose that would make things feel fresh again.
- Are there other departments / jobs within your current company? Some internal networking might be very useful.
- Have you sat down with your boss and explored things you might enjoy doing? You might be surprised how open they are to helping you feel better about the job.
NOTE: An added benefit of starting an ongoing dialogue with your boss, especially one that shows you respect and want to work with them: you may start to like them better. And maybe having them around will feel better, too.
Some more posts to help:
And just in case you do need to leave