This blog post is part of the “Making it Work” series, where we share the stories of professionals who are working flexibly.

Wendy is one of the busiest “retirees” that I know and it didn’t surprise me to learn that she was talking to me while riding with a girlfriend as they drove from a thrift store to a coffee shop, enjoying a day out together in Calgary. That’s just the type of person Wendy is: juggling lots of balls, not dropping one, and making time for everyone.

Wendy was a sworn member of Calgary Police Service (CPS) for 31.5 years before retiring. She made the decision in consult with her husband and financial planner because, due to her length of service, she wasn’t contributing to her pension anymore. But she also wasn’t ready to fully retire – she wanted to keep learning and earning.  She explored other opportunities because at the time CPS didn’t allow members to retire and then hire them back into policing. She worked for a relocation company and tried out other new things before joining the CPS’s Real Time Operations Centre (RTOC).

Life After Retirement

These days, Wendy’s primary retirement job is working in the RTOC where she provides real-time analytical and investigative support to front-line officers.  The work is part-time and includes 12-hour shifts (either day or night). It required her to learn different computer skills, requiring different passwords, ever changing programs, etc., as well as applying her police background. This allows her to continue in the industry that she spent so many years actively working. Wendy learned about the RTOC role through her Veterans’ Association.

Prior to her role at the RTOC, Wendy had a post-retirement job as a driver instructor.  Prospective employees for oil companies in Calgary were required under their safety clause to take a driving course on how to drive in winter weather conditions. Some clients were new to Canada (aka hadn’t ever driven a pickup truck) and needed to learn skills such as skid control, proper braking, rules of the road, etc.  The skills she learned as a police officer – both driving and ability to connect one-on-one with people – were transferable to this role.

When talking about her post-retirement roles, Wendy is quick to share all of the other things that she is involved in and passionate about.  She is a new grandma and mother to two adult daughters and an adult son. Wendy is heavily involved in the basketball community in Calgary – past president of Calgary Minor Basketball Association and a volunteer and player in the Master’s Division of the Calgary Women’s Basketball League. She organized a team of women to play basketball in the World Masters Games, which was held in Auckland NZ in April. Wendy is also a director for the Calgary Multisport Fieldhouse Society.  She loves to sew and makes kids clothes, baby items, albums, yoga bolsters, and other things for friends and family. Wendy enjoys spending time with those who are closest to her and makes the time to foster and continue her friendships.

Advice for Others

Wendy’s best advice for others who are late in their careers, considering retirement or looking for post-retirement work include making sure that you make and maintain your network and not to be afraid to let people know that you’re looking for work. She also suggests learning about social media as LinkedIn is frequently sending requests about jobs. Lastly, Wendy would stress the importance of saying “no” to jobs that don’t align with your goals or something you will like and want to keep doing.

Wendy Parker

Wendy Parker

Wendy is making it work!

Are you interested in connecting with Wendy?  Check out her LinkedIn profile.

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