The Desk

July 14, 2018

Recommended Reading – July

Filed under: Books and Papers,Education and Training — Yvonne LaRose @ 10:48 PM
Tags: , , ,

A Wealth of Resources

A Wealth of Resources

It’s July. It’s Summer. Life is supposed to be lived at a slower pace so that we don’t get overheated and burned to a spent match. Hey. There’s too much to be aware of and consumed. But let’s find some of the really good nuggets to keep our minds fresh and focused on the better side of the issues – and help us be wary of omens and trends.

With all that being said, Here’s the list of reading morsels recommended and found in various environs.

The Los Angeles Public Library offers a place where job seekers can access tools to aid in their career transitions. These tools are essentially universal (not limited to Los Angeles nor to California) so feel free to learn about and start using them (ahem, in addition to staying up to date with the knowledge available on Career Coach Corner

Offered by Ron from Starbucks Reserve (July 3) are

NACD Directorship Magazine offers Tools for Being an Effective Director download

HR pros Franny Oxford and Jessica DeFeo have formed a White women’s discussion group that has a recommended reading list you’ll want to have under your belt (no matter what your ethnicity). Too extensive to enumerate each title, here’s the post that provides the list.

In conjunction with the leaning toward affirmative action items, be certain you get your hands on Flora Davis’ Moving the Mountain either to read it or re-read it.

Pinterest offers some especially interesting and useful items related to the subject of Strategic Planning.

Many of us are aware that 82-year-old Associate Justice Kennedy retired two weeks ago. He is far from over the hill and he is definitely not useless. But for those who are threatened with being put into a persistent vegetative state, consider reading the study Can Volunteering Fight Dementia?

The Christian Science Monitor provided an interesting investigation of the issues confronting the Supreme Court on the matters of travel and Executive privilege in their article “As Supreme Court hears travel ban, questions of presidential authority also on docket.”


June 6, 2018

Recommended Reading – May

A Wealth of Resources

A Wealth of Resources

Yes, this is supposed to be the May-June Recommended Reading. Would you believe I was held hostage by a savage group of recruiters? How about a mob of HR pros? Oh well, can’t say I didn’t try to come up with an excuse.

Nevertheless, the contributions were sparse but very good. This revival is so new that not many are aware of where or how to submit recommendations nor what the criteria for submissions is.

What to Submit

Submissions can be anything you believe is worthwhile reading, print, digital, or audio. It can be a white paper, journal article, a blog post or article. It can be fiction or non-fiction, and any genre in that space. Humor is good to balance out enlightenment. Even sports and recreation is worth inclusion.

When to Submit

The cutoff date for the bi-monthly post is the 25th of the month. (Shame faced: This post was supposed to be published at the end of May.)

Where to Submit

The best place to lodge a submission is to post the title, a brief summary, and link in the “Books & Publications” folder at Entrances Bulletins. In order to post in the Bulletins, it’s necessary to register with the site. There’s no fee unless you want more advanced features and search capabilities. The registration will also allow you to respond, comment, or share information of your own that’s either a bulletin board item or a conversation starter. Please post your recommendations to the thread for the next issue.

If that’s a pain in the neck, you can also email your recommendation to me. Please include the information requested – title, summary, link. Include in the Subject Line: “Recommended Reading – [Month]”.

May – June Reading Suggestions

Now that the preamble is done, let’s get into what showed up on the reading radar. In no particular order nor grouping, here’s what came across The Desk:

  • Doug Shaw recommended The Descent of Man by Grayson Perry as well as The Will to Change by bell hooks.
  • Nikki Dee wondered where to find some titles and resources re 1820s – 1850s regarding the English working poor. She received over 30 recommendations.
  • Annie Petersen shared an inspiring quote from Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now by Maya Angelou. The excerpt says,

    Each one of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead, and those over which we have traveled, and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. If the new choice is also unpalatable, without embarrassment, we must be ready to change that as well.

    Is there a portion of this title that inspires you?

  • Susanne Dunlap questioned her writing styles for young adult audiences. Sample one of her 4+ star titles, In the Shadow of the Lamp or try Emilie’s Voice.
  • Easily with which many can relate in light of our current domestic affairs, Marcia Fine tells the story of life during turmoil via Hidden Ones: A Life of Memories. It won its seventh award from Jewish Arts & Culture.
  • Just where do you think the story of life is evolving in Maria Gibb’s shares a snippet from Sins of the Father: Children from the Streets Book 2 . The interesting thing about this stolen glance into the story is that the reader is made acutely aware of the peril about our protagonist yet the excerpt is poignant. Is this in Allepo, somewhere in Nicaragua, or one of our domestic neighborhoods?
  • Aside from the fact that she is the author, it was obvious what motivated Suzi Stembridge to share her enthusiasm for The Scorpion’s Last Tale. The thoughts that went through my mind after considering her words related to the work that went into creating those captivating and complicated stories. How much attention to detail and research went into the work so that the reader didn’t feel bogged down by the details but driven to continue reading in order to learn more and discover what was coming to the end while yearning for more of the tale.

    Likewise, it would be interesting to learn how others feel about writing for business and how a report can be turned into a captivating story for the sake of the stakeholders. The two forms of communication are very parallel.

  • Being a researcher for an author resulted in a fan who wrote a wonderful review. That’s the difficulty with learning new things and getting into the undercover story. You get hooked! Just look what happened to poor Jacqueline Reiter who said, “I finished Lynn Bryant’s An Unwilling Alliance this morning, and can’t really do full justice to it in a review, but it’s a book I wholeheartedly recommend (and not just because helping with some of the author’s research questions brought me a valuable new friendship).”
  • And just for the sake of fun, consider an award-winning time travel, Summer of Love by Lisa Mason seems to be one candidate.

Business and Nonfiction

It seems a good time to compare and contrast conditions prior to the current administration to now. Especially significant are the changes in attitudes toward opioids and the impact previously illicit drugs have on the workplace. To the headache of managers and HR professionals is means of reducing workers comp claims as well as better methods of screening for responsible hiring.

To see the other items curated in the folder, go to Reading Recommendations-May ’18.

Remember to submit your own recommendations for the next publication by simply clicking “Reply”, inserting the item along with a URL, and then click “Post”.


Additional Resources:

March 30, 2018

Recommended Reading – March 2018

Filed under: Books and Papers,Education and Training — Yvonne LaRose @ 8:15 PM
Tags: , , , ,

A Wealth of Resources

A Wealth of Resources

There’s no two ways about it. I love books. They hold information. They tell stories. They provide Life lessons in various ways. They entertain. They bring comfort. They provide distraction from the tedious two-hour (or more) commute.

These days, they can be consumed in a whole array of media. There’s the traditional hard back, succeeded and supplemented with the paperback. Then came audio books for those who are visually impaired or like to read on the go. And now we have digital books that can be read on any type of mobile device. In fact, because of mobile devices, we can now have a vast library contained in the compact dimensions of a cell phone or tablet.

During my law school days, I commuted for an hour to get to school on the BART. During those rides, I challenged myself to read The New Yorker from cover to cover. Trying to get in last minute studying on the BART just wasn’t realistic, although I encountered a classmate who appeared to be successful at doing so.

When the hours away from BART were part of my life, there was the need to read and understand the text and case books. That led to an intensified addiction to reading. It didn’t matter what the content was, just so there was content to read. When classes weren’t in session, I busied myself with visiting the local library to borrow hard bound or paperback books along with several audiotapes to keep me satisfied while commuting on the bus or just walking from one destination to another. And then there was the filler reading done while doing housework or gardening.

Yes, I was addicted to books. I literally read about ten books per week. In fact, it got to the point that I began to fret that I would borrow nearly all of the adult reading content from the library and would be left with nothing more than the children’s section.

Those were wonderful days. I miss them – a lot. So AARP’s newsletter arrived a few days ago. The header was like pheromones to my eyes. “12 of the Best New Books for Spring” was what it promised to discuss and list. Although not on my business reading list, all of the titles are tempting in some way. With that statement, the practice of sharing book recommendations is being revived.

Reading Recommendations:

Recommended from

October 22, 2017

Screening: How Much Experience

It’s an awakening time – again. But this time in another area.

Mistake One: Need-based Promotion

The first awakening was in the mid 1980s when I was a supervisor saddled with several rather mindless tasks that were also time consuming. One of them could be easily delegated. The receptionist wanted to grow out of her position and into something more responsible. She politicked. She told me about her endeavors in paralegal self study and how much she was reading. It seemed putting her into that administrative role could be helpful to both her and me as well as do the firm a service. I petitioned my supervising attorney who asked me to create a job description. He cautioned that her training and supervision was my responsibility. Accepted.

Her job description was written. It was given to her and she liked it. She accepted it. I thought she was doing well because her questions became scarce and she seemed busy. I was mistaken.

I was also responsible for training the securities paralegal and our new lawyers on handling corporate matters, especially forming a corporation. In the long run, I learned the receptionist who became the keeper of the library of corporate kits, was going to the securities paralegal (a 25-year-old, chauvinistic Bostonian man) for guidance and knowledge and then began considering him as her supervisor. She forgot that she reported to me. He felt he was superior to me and he had the support of a very popular securities lawyer.

Knowledge based on training

There were many issues that brewed in the office. So many that I forgot to monitor the growth of the corporate kit keeper’s knowledge and the depth of it. I should have kept better track of her work – even though there were many times when I found myself needing to work deal miracles. Perhaps I should have done a better job of teaching her new aspects of the work. But I definitely needed to help her realize that merely reading the book was not the same as being qualified to do the work. Perhaps more of an open-door policy with regard to learning opportunities would have resulted in a better outcome.

Doomed Destiny

There were other ethical issues that plagued all of the offices of that firm. The writing was on the walls and there were no erasers. The practices fed on themselves. One example was the lateral hire who was being interviewed from one office to another while carrying his plate lunch with him. Interviews continued as the firm’s convulsed its way toward its demise. Prudence dictated that interviewing stop, but it didn’t.

I was able to get out several months ahead of the collapse. Like a scorpion, the firm killed itself. But the collapse was because of the practices of many of the lawyers. There was also too much competitiveness and too many hidden agendas. There was also an enormous number of those who (like me with the corporate kit keeper) shirked their responsibilities in deference to billable hours and trying to hold down the fort.

We all should have been paying attention to the most important things. We should have been screening for experience and had a willingness to train if there was budget to do so.

Translatable Lessons

Screening for experience is something we do in many professions. The plumber brings their apprentice with them in order to train the learner about the proper way to use their tools and to identify what the issue is. The apprentice is not set loose on a project with no supervision until the trainer is certain of the skill that is going to be applied to the job.

The learner has seen the right way to do things. The conditions are explained to them. Also explained are the consequences and outcomes of taking a wrong step or making a bad turn. Terminology is explained so that both the learner and the teacher are conversing about the same thing. In that way, they can adequately talk to the client about the job, provide an estimate, form a contract for services, and then complete the job so that the bill is paid. Communication is a very critical element in screening.


How much experience does this potential worker have? Where are their references or testimonials? How many similar projects of this type have they done? Is this the first one? (Maybe they’re a volunteer who’s in transition and building a new portfolio.) Perhaps they have lateral experience that translates to what is needed for the job that’s open. Find out. Evaluate. Have them explain why this is a valid example of the type of work that can be expected from them. At the same time, you’ll be able to evaluate their ability to communicate, comprehend instructions, convey their appreciation and assessment of a situation, and depth of knowledge.

If they’ve merely been reading a book or simply talking (networking) with others in their target career option, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have the qualifications to be considered anything more than a newcomer.

Careful Evaluation

It’s one thing to read the book. That exercise provides the foundation for the knowledge. There’s more to learning than the mere visual intake of words. Learning comes in three ways: visual, auditory, and manual. Some people learn by using only one of those modalities. Others use two, and still other learners require all three.

Cementing the knowledge means actually using it. It’s best to practice the discipline before attempting to execute in the real environment. That’s why athletes and musicians practice and do drills. That why actors rehearse and block scenes. It’s why doctors and lawyers go through various stages of preparing for their discipline and developing their body of knowledge.

The motivation for getting into that career path and opportunity is evidenced by not just the portfolio of past accomplishments. That shows a history of experience. And that experience could have met with unexpected detours and interruptions. But the focused endeavors to practice the craft, science, art will have examples and work product. Where can those be found? If they’ve been deleted by some unethical hand, it’s a loss for everyone except those who actually saw or experienced it and can attest to its value. Another witness to experience is how well the candidate can discuss the project in detail. Perhaps there were no external evaluations that contained constructive critiques. Then evaluate how well the candidate did a self assessment and grew from that self counseling.

The amount of experience a person has is also evidenced in whether they’re capable of coming up with adaptations. Whether they’re successful or not is not the initial consideration as much as they have sufficient appreciation of the circumstances to enable them to come up with alternative methods of attack in order to reach the desired goal – ethically. It’s because they have a deep appreciation of the foundation principles that they will be able to identify a reasonable facsimile or substitute if the proper tool simply isn’t in the toolbox. They’re almost like MacGyver. Even if there are no longer work samples available, the knowledge (even long unused) is still there to benefit those who need and want it.

Enhancements, such as continuing education or next grade level training, will make the candidate even more valuable. Age is not so much a factor as is adaptability and depth of knowledge, as ability to move with change – or cause it because of that underlying experience.

Also keep in mind that now that we are a global society, we still use different terms (or labels) for things depending on where we are. What is call “The Plough” in the United Kingdom is known as Ursa Major elsewhere. So it’s important that the terminology or jargon is matching up between the parties.

How Much Experience Do You Have?

It would be nice to find credibility and proof of ability on the store shelf. Unfortunately, it takes time and practice to properly evaluate a candidate. Application of knowledge in projects directly related to the present goal or indirectly via a similar or lateral endeavor can prove to have enduring benefits. Repeated practice, with successes, build on the portfolio. Sending your employees off to a training and then never having them put into practice what they learned at the training is money thrown out the window three times over. There was the cost of the training, the cost of the personnel who covered the absence, and the wages paid while the employee was attending the training but left with no way to use it. Make that thrown out the window four times.

I’m not certain how a candidate can adequately convey knowledge and experience gained from being in the trenches. That type of insight provides a very deep awareness and appreciation of what the customer/audience wants and needs. It also gives a deeper appreciation of why one tactic will work compared with what the textbook said. Being in the trenches gives the practitioner more genuineness. When you pull out of the trenches, the landscape may still look the way it did when you entered it. But there have been changes on both sides of the picture.


Incidentally, I’m finally about to embark on a long delayed step in my professional endeavors (which has spawned some of this writing). The handouts for a talk I’m doing later this month will be created as digital content. I’m learning about creating and publishing an ebook. The simple act of talking about “front matter” became a six-hour exercise of following instructions based on old technology and obsolete protocols. The updated information is now available. Meanwhile, there’s been searching for what was discussed under the old protocols. There’s been applying the principles to test runs. And there’s been time to recognize distractions and time management issues – in addition to the need for trial runs.

The term “front matter” is not the same in every genre. Which brings me back to terminology and jargon. Make certain you’re talking about the same thing as the experience is being discussed or described. Also be certain of what is considered proficient and standard in that part of the world compared with where the work is to be performed. Avoid throwing out the proverbial baby.


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December 25, 2016

Colorado School of Public Health Dean Description

Filed under: Education and Training,Management — Yvonne LaRose @ 7:34 PM
Tags: , ,

An announcement from American Public Health Association on December 13 announced an opening for the position of Dean at the Colorado School of Public Health.

The position descriptions were two .PDF attachments. As a one-time courtesy, those descriptions are being included in this post.

The announcement said

“Greetings ICEHS!

Please see attached job Description and advertisement for Colorado SPH Dean. The deadline ‘to receive full consideration’ is January 9, 2017.”

The description: coloradosph-dean-job-description-final

The advertisement: coloradosph-dean-ad-final-003-1

Best wishes to all who apply.

January 2, 2016

Exposure and Expertise

Businessman giving an used book to another businessman, learning to survive

Businessman giving a used book to another businessman, learning to survive

There’s a constant search for the best qualified candidate to be added to your workforce. They come to the table with all the education that’s required by the job description. They have the right amount of experience performing the tasks that need to be done. They are aware of the terminology and use it in appropriate context. They are wonderful when it comes to timely execution and speed. Why do they have all of these gifts? Where can you find more of them?

No doubt some of these skills were gained in the classes they took. Still others were developed with exposure to various technologies. Still other things were learned through conversations and reading all manner of trade and recreational content.

How useful all of this knowledge proves to be depends on its source and the amount and type of education that accompanied it. If it was merely parroting something without any appreciation of what the expression means or its history, not to mention the why of its use, then it’s simply doing because you were told to do so when x, y, or z occurred.

You can break a contract but taken literally, it’s difficult to see how a piece of paper can be broken. How many who don’t have exposure to that term understand that violating the terms of the agreement can result in losing the benefits of the association? We can talk about algorithms. That’s a fine and fancy name for having different bases of measuring things that are already in daily use. We count denominations of money using a base of 10. However, we measure distances, space, and time with a base of 12. All of those are algorithms. Does the neophyte realize this? Perhaps not. They’re simply intimidated by this new word and concept that’s been put before them with no explanation.

Taking a skills test can be similar to taking a classroom evaluation of the last section that was taught. However, screening and selection tests such as the LSAT or the SAT are an entirely different thing. If the applicant has never experienced an evaluation process of that type, it shouldn’t be expected that they will perform well on literally their first exposure – unless, of course, there’s some form of genius lurking in those brain cells.

Scalia recently opined that Blacks should not be put into the better educational institutions because they have poor learning skills. That might be true were it not for the fact that educating Blacks has historically been an after thought (if that much). Like women, they were to be kept uneducated in order to have better control over the population and keep them in a state of being disenfranchised. And even in that ethnicity, plus the combinations that created racial and ethnic Creoles, there have been those who found patrons who saw the benefits of providing quality education to them. In the alternative, the population found ways to gain even the rudimentary gems of education in order to propel them into something more.

Education is a prized aspired to by all races and ethnicities. Each family sees it as the tool that will bring fulfillment of the promise of a better life and empowerment. But that promise cannot be realized if the mentoring and educating to create the employable candidate is not provided.

So develop your employee education programs to your advantage. Also develop mentoring programs with an eye toward reducing apathy while increasing engagement and productivity. The exposure to the concepts and terminology will provide you with more than just the ideal candidate for the next step on the ladder.


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June 7, 2015


There's no course on job search

There’s no course on job search

Not long ago I heard a complaint from one of the industry’s more vintage and distinguished recruiters. (I’ll paraphrase.)

“This business would be a lot more interesting if we could get past the how to write a resume and cover letter stuff. And it would be much better if we didn’t spend so much time on how to interview. Why do we have to go through this so much? It should be obvious!”

True enough, it should be obvious to those of us who’ve been around the block several times. But there are a lot of dynamics that are driving the actual need to have this “wisdom” regurgitated on a regular basis. Let’s look at a few of them today.


For some reason, people keep having babies. Then they send them off to school to learn all the basics – except for how to write a resume and cover letter, how to interview, how to go to work. Somehow, that information is supposed to get distilled before graduation from high school but it doesn’t. So we have these quasi-adults meandering around looking for meaning that’s associated with their existence and wondering where they belong. Some of them get recruited to things such as gangs, sports, lured into competing for a slot on America’s Got Talent or The Voice or any number of other things that bring some form of recognition and prestige. And some of them try to figure out how to get on Survivor or Big Brother. The thing of it is, no one told them they’ll still need to pass the interview to get accepted on the entertainment scene.

We need to keep doing the stories about how to write a resume as well as how to write a cover letter because there are millions added to the next generation on a daily basis. None of them know this and it essentially isn’t taught in school – not middle school, not high school, and sort of in college but that’s a bit late.


The way we do things in business is constantly evolving. At one time, you just walked into a business and asked whether or not they were hiring. If there was a possibiity of a situation, someone in charge would talk to the person and do some informal screening. Provided the conversation went well, there was a get hired on the spot moment with a start date that ranged from that instant to maybe a couple of days later so that appropriate clothing could be gathered.

Today, things don’t work on the same principle. We’ve stopped walking into the business and asking for work. We’ve, for the most part, even stopped scouring the classifieds for “Situations” because they’re now online at various websites and company Careers sections. Networking sites now offer information about open positions, with details about more specifics.

The rules of the game for submitting applications have also changed. Even with temporary staffing agencies, you now set up an interview time online. Going into the office is a necessity for the sake of completing some of the paperwork and taking the computer administered tests to assess where one’s strongest skills are. (Yes, the screening process is still intact.)

Actually, there’s a very subtle reason for continuing to have the applicant come into the office. Those who show up, and show up on time, have demonstrated an genuine interest in pursuing the opportunity. Those who do not show up, have an excuse about why they aren’t there, are running late, need to reschedule, have lowered their seed position and will need to make a very strong showing when they do get to the office for the in-person screening and interview. And getting into the office is yet another way to evaluate how well the applicant follows instructions.


Because we’ve become more accepting of cultural differences, styles that are acceptable for interviewing are beginning to change. What used to be proper attire for Sabbath and not for the office has become appropriate for either venue. How many applicants as well as recruiters and human resource managers are aware of this fashion evolution is still to be determined. However, it is a certainty that finding some lawsuit that challenges failure to hire based on wearing traditional garb will be easy.

En Masse Education

It isn’t always the applicant who needs a verse or so of the hiring mantra. Recruiters could stand a refresher course in what is acceptable. Those who are new to the industry would do well to take time for getting refreshed on what is involved in sourcing, screening, and hiring the right person. Even the government is trying to work out that formula to everyone’s satisfaction. And there’s still the ‘know thy industry’ caveat.

There are a lot of factors that go into the formula for making a successful application for a job. With each advancement in technology, with each new birth each year, there will be more people who need to learn how to apply and more who need to know how to select the right one. Suffice it to say that for each employer or recruiter or manager, there are that many people who have their own idea of who a resume and cover letter should be formatted. It’s all subjective; it takes a lot of sifting in order to get to the standard and then to get to what’s right. And for those who have been at this for a while, it’s important to have refreshers. Today we briefly looked at three aspects of the job search and why these topics keep coming up as repetitious coaching subjects.

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March 22, 2015

Developing Good Mini Habits

Filed under: Career Tips,Education and Training — Yvonne LaRose @ 5:16 AM
Tags: , , ,

There was a recent question posted on Quora where the person wanted to know some “mini habits” that can be practiced everyday for about five minutes. Now that was definitely a good question because it focuses on building in small steps to be more efficient.

Read more of Developing Good Mini Habits in the “Ask Yvonne” folder of Entrances Bulletins.

November 28, 2014

Attitude Adjustment

It takes a lot of nerve to be controlling and to marginalize another. But it happens. Those measures are used to discourage what could be perceived as competition or merely one who has a better edge that will result in dampening the esteem of the controller.

Controlled Identity

Controlled Identity

On closer inspection, the lack of control and authority will be discovered. The control, manipulation, and threats of various types are simply masks used to play on one’s vulnerabilities that were discovered during harmless interaction. When the source of the discouragement is discovered, it’s easily overcome. There are several effective techniques. A few will be discussed today.

A simple objection to the impediment will result in attempting to create guilt. The goal is to shame one into accepting the pressure. Ignoring the pressure is not an effective way to handle it. It’s important to acknowledge the subterfuge in a very subtle way. To do more would be overkill. Tactfully brushing aside the attempt to plant fear or doubt by talking about the ineffectiveness of cowering in fear or avoidance tactics doesn’t help one reach the goal.

Avoid making accusations of attempted harm. The result will be aggravation of an already negative situation. However, do not cave to accepting the abuse. Speak softly; be assertive. Say “no” in an indirect way, such as, “That doesn’t seem like a good option. I think I’ll try something else.” It isn’t necessary to define what “something else” is. In fact, being abstract can work as well; simply say you haven’t thought of an alternative you want to use just yet. It will take a little more consideration of the circumstances.

Getting upset and losing control is a sign of weakness. It also lowers one’s professional image (unless, of course, you’re in a drama). If you’re not delivering an emotion-packed motivational speech or not in a dramatic play, losing your temper is not effective for talking through the sticking point. Point out what is unacceptable and refuse to accept it as your normal.

These are just a few ways to avert being stopped or have your growth retarded while others pass you in attaining a similar goal. Get an attitude adjustment. Assert yourself. Then be glad of yet another opportunity to rise to being yourself.

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September 21, 2014

What Else?

Around August 10, ForbesWoman discussion group was presented with an article from the Finance section of the New York Times. The article relates to retaining your identity after retirement. It’s a good article. It talks about the need to make plans.

Some people think of planning for retirement in terms of having enough funds to take care of their expenses, in essence, having a livable income when there’s no more employment. Many people think of retirement as a time of luxury or the time when you’re no longer working and have little or no productive purpose. Still others think of retirement as finally reaching a point when there’s time to engage in avocations that were deferred while raising children, caring for aging parents, vacations not taken, travel for recreational purposes.

Who are you when all of your life you’ve been a student, a spouse, the person who holds a particular title for a job? That job title usually spelled your entire identity and once the final paycheck is collected and the Social Security checks start rolling in, you title may seem to be “old” or “no longer useful” or “Mama” (“Pops”). You begin to feel less than, not interesting, fruitless. While it’s important to make the financial plans necessary to cover the inevitable issues that lie on the horizon (life insurance, healthcare, rent, food, clothing, maintenance, taxes), quality of life matters remain.

Planning for retirement includes coming to terms with what quality of life means for you, personally. Quality of life includes feeling and being still involved, fulfilled, and vital. Still accepted and desired are some other quality issues that need to be addressed. Feeling as though you’re still developing and evolving, not being static, is a need that all people have but not everyone has the same personality nor the same drives. In other words, no two people are going to have matching lists of what constitutes quality of life. It’s an individual matter. This is the time to start looking at how much of your Hierarchy of Needs still needs to be completed.

What is happening these days, and especially pertinent to Boomers, is the idea of using retirement consultant services to help focus on having an identity that isn’t linked to the type of work you do. Some people will join some type of sports league or take up a sport that was a longing until the responsibilities of the workplace were no longer mandatory. Others opt to raise the prize-winning [fill in the blank]. Others see retirement as an opportunity to finally have the time to give back to the community. And then there’s SCORE to satisfy the still-burning need to stay involved in the business world. And others simply change chairs and rooms in order to serve on Boards of Directors or become industry consultants.

Some people end the “I have to do this” job in order to completely change fields and become the employed expert in an entirely different occupation. Essentially, there is no retirement; there’s a transition into another work life. I think that type of person is called a Die Hard (not to be confused with the battery or the movie).

There are many roles that can capture one’s attention after the formal time of employment is behind you. As with anything else, it’s important to stop sublimating about that next phase and start making plans based on latent goals deferred until whatever obligation (real or manufactured) has been satisfied. If there’s a roadblock to coming up with a plan – such as just getting used to the idea of not being at the office anymore – it’s a good idea to enlist the services of a retirement coach to start the ball rolling.

While there is now the feasibility of seeking assistance from a retirement coach, there’s yet another option available to those who are working on making plans for the next phase. And it’s free! Pay a visit to the HR Department’s Employee Assistance professional (EAP). A company that is sensitive to these types of matters will have an established program that provides counseling and preparation for those employees who are reaching the age of retirement and need to start making plans for their transition.

Back to that original question, “What else?” There are always options. The important thing is, in addition to planning for the future, is to realize they are options (as in “which one?”), not “right or wrong” choices.

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