Even in retirement we could be a valuable resource for the very industries we dedicated our working lives to.
I have to admit that since my own retirement I have started a small business that keeps me active, pays for a few luxuries, gives me a sense of satisfaction, and allows me complete freedom to pick clients and bosses.
But if you are at all like me, I often find myself reading of business happenings or hearing about what others encounter at work and I get to wondering if some companies could benefit from a relationship with us Silver Surfers after our retirement.
Given that not all of us leave our jobs, live splendidly off our 401 (k), and enjoy non-stop golf or TV; maybe we would be a valuable, if limited, resource for the very industries we dedicated our working lives to.
Most of us do not want to return to the assembly line, or to work the 60+hour weeks we left, but maybe something mutually beneficial could be found for us and our former employers.
I think if I were looking to approach an employer with an offer to do contract work or consult, I would first evaluate my strengths, skills, and expertise and then do my best to do the following to put us both at ease and prevent any misunderstandings:
- I would want to list exactly are those strengths, skills, and expertise I am offering; the time period for which I was willing to provide those; and my expected remuneration. For both of our benefits, I would like a contract enumerating our mutually acceptable terms for this.
- I would make it clear that I wish to avoid anything that would jeopardize my retirement status with my medical insurance, my social security payments, pension plans, travel plans, etc. I think, since this is not what I know, that the company’s Human Resources department could answer all of these concerns and keep both me and the company out of legal hot water. I think it would unfair to the company for me to look for vacation pay, sick leave, overtime, or other benefits as a returning contractor.
- If I will need help with my assignment, I would make that part of my costs built into the contract we agree to in step one. That way I have the responsibility of finding the right person and not having to work with a company employee not of my choosing, and possibly incompatible with a Silver Surfer like me.
- It is not what I do, but if inventions, patents, or processes are involved, it would be imperative to have an understanding of what types of non-disclosure issues are expected and any intellectual property rights.
- I would want to know to whom I would report, how often I report progress to him or her, and how we determine successful completion. Are there bonuses for early completion or exceeding the requirements of the contract?
I can remember in the mid-1980s when some companies began to offer early retirement bonuses for many employees as a cost savings strategy (IBM is one I know of) and then immediately hired their retirees back as consultants or contractors.
This model worked quite successfully for some of these I was acquainted with and perhaps with the right approach might work for Silver Surfers and our own companies whether large or small.
After all, we have a vast array of talent and experience in the history and processes that got companies to where they are and could not only help someone form expensively “reinventing the wheel”, but could conceivably speed up new directions for that company.