This blog post is part of the “Making it Work” series, where we share the stories of professionals who are working flexibly.
Helene Rust retired from a senior management job in health care 2.5 years ago. She currently has what she calls “the best part time job”.
She considers it to be the best for many reasons. Helene can pick and choose her hours and she can be as busy as she wants to (or not). It is the most exciting parts of her pre-retirement job. She doesn’t have to do the day-to-day things. Helene’s role is a project consultant and she brings history to the project. Helene listens, participates in discussions, asks questions, and helps the team navigate organizational politics. The project is one that she was initially involved with in one of her pre-retirement roles and she now has the opportunity to work on a team that is moving it to completion. The people on the team are also familiar to her. She knows many of them from her 32-year career and enjoys the opportunity to re-connect with them. Helene is passionate about the project, the people, and the work.
Accepting the position wasn’t an easy decision for Helene, even though she loves the job now.
Her husband retired 21 years ago and they enjoy traveling together. She has 3 adult children and 7 grandchildren, who all live close by. (Her grandchildren believe that she can fix anything, which keeps her busy too!) According to one of her daughter-in-laws, she bakes the “world’s best pies”. Helene also enjoys shopping, sewing, and reconnecting with her friends for coffee.
When first asked, Helene was worried that the project might take her away from all of those things she enjoyed about retirement. Knowing that the Director was in a tough situation regarding staffing, Helene was able to negotiate the arrangements that would make her happiest. She wanted the satisfaction and fulfillment from meaningful work but also have time for her family and friends. These days, Helene is enjoying the work so much that she has to make sure she doesn’t accept too many other small projects.
Advice for Others
Helene is sometimes asked for advice by her friends and colleagues who are considering retirement. Here are her best tips:
- Know your benefits and plan your retirement date accordingly. Helene got an extra year out of her Health Spending Account by retiring in the month of January rather than the prior December.
- Be open to the idea of returning to work. Helene immediately went on the casual list instead of ceasing employment entirely. This allowed her to come back on an as-needed basis more easily than if the organization had to re-hire her.
- Know your tax position and plan for it. Helene believes that taxes discourage people her age from working and makes sure that others are aware of the impact that income could have on their Old Age Security (OAS) benefits.
- Be aware that retirement can be hard mentally and emotionally. Helene found the first few months of retirement enjoyable, but then started missing the interaction and mental stimulation provided by work. Because she was on the casual list, she was able to work on a few select projects.
The project she is working on is scheduled for completion in 9 years and she has already decided to exit before then. It is being done in phases and she is considering which phase will be the right one to step away. In the meantime, Helene is looking forward to a cruise with her husband in February and continuing to spend time with her family and friends.
Helene is making it work!
Are you interested in connecting with Helene? Check out her LinkedIn profile.
Feeling inspired? Are you ready to make it work too? Work Evolution has many flexible jobs and useful resources for professionals pursuing flexible work. Check us out today: workevolution.ca.