Physicians have demanding jobs, but they bring great rewards. Those who are getting ready to retire soon should begin a gradual transition in order to improve their chances of finding meaning and enjoyment in the next stage of their lives.
Keys to Ensure a Smooth Transition to Retirement
Financial and mental preparation are important tools in a successful transition from the everyday world of stethoscopes and charts to retirement. Everybody views retirement differently. For some, it’s an opportunity for freedom and leisure; others view it with dread, believing they’ll be bored and one step closer to the grave. For doctors, who are conditioned from medical school to believe their profession demands a lifetime of dedication and hard work, the transition can be especially jarring. Some view retirement as something akin to a funeral procession.
To ensure your transition to retired life is smooth and successful, implement the following strategies:
- Start financial planning early. Because of poor savings ability, some people work longer than they would like to. Retirement is always better when finances aren’t an issue.
- Focus on a few things you enjoy. Choose activities that result in a positive emotional experience, forgoing those that don’t bring you joy.
- Practice. It takes a lot of energy and focus to be a successful physician. Try channeling that energy into new pursuits where you can build up skills. Remember, practice makes perfect.
- Keep active. Everybody who retires should take steps to remain active in order to stave off boredom. Try taking classes, going on trips, or doing things to enhance your career, such as writing or teaching.
Statistics show that 30 percent of doctors currently practicing are older than the age of 60. With so many close to retirement age, it’s important for employers to creatively and flexibly assist physicians in transition and take advantage of their knowledge and contributions for as long as possible. Steps employers can take to achieve this include:
- Job sharing. Reduced workloads and flexible schedules are a great way for those wanting to ease into retirement and can help other employees who are planning vacations or taking family leave.
- Flexible roles. Show you value mature workers by providing them with flexible roles that focus on their emotional and mental health.
- Create job boards. Communicate with other organizations regarding opportunities for mature workers.
- Mentorship programs. Mentorship helps younger workers learn the ropes and provides purpose and satisfaction to older workers gradually transitioning to retirement.