Andrew’s Story

My ReFirement Story – Stages on My Working Journey

1. Stage 1 – Successful Corporate Career

After nearly 30 years in a large global company I decided to take early “retirement” before I was 50 years old. I had started this career after completing a business degree and I was fortunate to move rapidly within the organisation. Ultimately I was responsible for over 500 employees and I had local, regional and global management responsibilities.  I also had the opportunity to work in several countries and travel to many parts of the globe.
Throughout my career I was energised by the following:

• Working with excellent, professional people
• Variety in the work environment
• Opportunities to enhance one’s skills and develop new ones
• Rewards based on achievement and delivery
• Regular feedback on performance and opportunities

Despite enjoying the successes of this career, I felt that early “retirement” before I was 50 would enable me to start a new career, whilst I was still young enough as well as knowing I was financially secure.

2. Stage 2 – New Beginnings

It may sound strange to give up a career with good prospects and to be financially secure. One could live off the proceeds, play golf and do whatever! However I felt that for my own well being, I wanted something new – a new challenge. I spent a couple of years doing things I love and had not had the real opportunity to do previously.  I read more, did play golf and networked in the investment community, managing some investments on a “hands on” basis.

I did not actively seek out a new career, but based on what I enjoyed in life and my previous career, I knew that when the right opportunity presented itself it would not take long for me to be hooked.

I did know that I did not want the pressure of a full time role and a corporate “8 to 5” lifestyle. I had decided that I wanted a part time career, where I could work from home but still experience the corporate environment that would give me the business and professional network to stay “connected”. I was lucky that such an opportunity arose – a start up company in a new industry. After investigating the industry and meeting the entrepreneurs who were starting the venture in two countries, it did not take long for me to identify with their passion and energy. I took on the role of Chairman of one of the companies and today we are poised to start a large operation which has significant environmental benefits.

3. Lessons Learnt

You can be lucky in life, but as Gary Player (one of the world’s most successful golfers) once said “you make your own luck”. I knew I had been successful in my first career, but I also knew I wanted new challenges in my life. My luck was that I had a set of skills and was able to match these to a new opportunity.

In making the transition in my new beginnings, I had a good understanding of my own strengths and weaknesses and I considered these as I evaluated opportunities. One has to be honest with oneself and know what you are good at and what you are not be good at. I knew my core business, management, strategy and people skills could be applied in many industries. I also knew I wanted a less onerous working environment that enabled more “me” time, and to be able to work from home. My aim was to feel personally challenged, to feel I was making a contribution whilst continuing to exercise the “grey matter” as well as to have fun.

This self analysis on who you are, what skills you have is not rocket science. It takes some introspection, honesty and deliberation – then getting out there and doing want you want to do.

“Andrew” May 2011



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