Retirement Identity Crisis

Something happened when I retired! Before retirement, I was somebody. Now, I’m not so sure! What can I do about that?

For years I worked in a secure area of our company. You needed a special pass to get in to our section. Everyone in the company knew me. People from across the country would call to question, report or to seek advice. I was somebody.

The day before I retired I went through the necessary administrative procedures and was required to turn in my security pass. I watched as the guard punched holes in my picture and tossed the remnants into his secure garbage can.

I turned to return to my office. “One moment, sir.” said the guard. “I can’t let you enter without an escort!” When the pass went, so did my identity. “That’s crazy!” I shouted. “Those are the rules!” he replied. I began to feel empty: some part of me was missing.

As the days and weeks went by there were no more requests for information or advice. Now, no one was reporting to me now and when I phoned my former secretary, just to check in, the call was answered by a new secretary who had to confirm the spelling of my name and was reluctant to say anything to me.

It’s true! Author and blogger, Tim Stobbs, wrote: “… for a person entering retirement there is a big shift that occurs with your identity.” It’s a change you have to get ready for.  Starting long before retirement, start “to build a new role of retiree and let your previous work role diminish.”

The Solution

Tim points to “…the need for a focus or passion hobby or interest in retirement. You need to know what matters to you and do something that will make you feel needed.”

You can read more by visiting Tim Stobb’s blog: And check out his excellent book Free at 45.