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Retirement lifestyle

August 30, 2011

What do you want to be when you retire?

Part-time work in retirement can include anything from continuing your career through consulting or freelance work to something completely different.

The idea of retirement is different for everyone, but increasingly, work is creeping its way back into many people’s retirement plans — and not just because of the effect of the recent market downturn on portfolios.

According to a recent report by the Gandalf Group for advertising agency Bensimon Byrne, only a third of current working Canadians expect a retirement without work, with 56% of those surveyed between the ages of 50 and 64 saying that they will continue to work part-time in either the same or a different line of work.

The main reasons for working part-time during retirement include the need for income, as well as the desire to do something different and to stay productive says Steve McLellan, Chief Executive Officer of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, which is part of a pilot project called Third Quarter, aimed at connecting third-quarter Canadians (ages 50 to 64) with new and continuing job and career opportunities.

“This is a generation of people who are too young and too healthy to sit back and do nothing, so they physically need to keep active, they want to be engaged in the business community,” says McLellan.

Part-time work in retirement can include anything from continuing your career through consulting or freelance work to something completely different, such as working at a local golf course, library or retail store.

“When we were kids, we were often asked, ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ Now the comment is, ‘what do you want to do when you retire?’” says Randy Markewich, who retired in 2008 after 35 years of working for the City of Regina.

After three months of being retired, Markewich explains that he began to miss interacting with people and keeping busy.

“I still wanted to feel useful,” he says, “I wanted something that was less stressful, but the contact with people was really important to me,” he says.

After considering working part-time in a completely different area, he has since picked up three part-time jobs in line with his background, that he says came about as a matter of fluke and timing. This includes working as Federal Returning Officer for his electoral district, an opportunity on the Saskatchewan Municipal Board, and a position as a community coordinator for the Third Quarter project.

“For me, it’s a happy time, actually, I feel good and I really feel positive about life and I just feel like I’m adding value, that I’m contributing, and that I’m still in the game,” says Markewich.

McLellan says many people are also looking at doing something different in terms of retirement work, and service sector positions — grocery stores, hotel work and retail — are popular because of their flexible hours. On the employer’s side of things, he says many businesses also can gain a valuable level of expertise from third-quarter people. Plus, they get employees with a strong work ethic who can be a mentor for the younger workers.

So, how can you as a third-quarter or retired individual go about finding part-time work? McLellan suggests the following:

1. Update your resume: If you haven’t looked for a job in a long time, make sure your resume is up to speed, accurate and informative.

2. Search online: Spend time searching websites that connect people with job opportunities such as thirdquarter.ca (in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Atlantic Canada only) to find the types of jobs you’re interested in.

3. Use your personal and professional contacts: Be sure to advertise the fact that you’re looking for something work-wise or volunteer-wise, says McLellan. He suggests sending your resume out to your email list with a note saying you’re looking to take on part-time work, as some jobs are never advertised.

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