Since the sale of Marco to Norwest Equity Partners last Fall, I am often asked, “So, why are you still working?” My answer always is, “I love what I do, so why would I want to retire?” I have enjoyed my career and still have a lot of fun doing it – every day.
I remember when I was in the military, people couldn’t wait to retire. On their last year of employment they would X out the days on the calendar until their discharge. They were so looking forward to the end, and I see this in private industry as well.
I believe people lose their love for what they do (and look forward to retiring) for four key reasons:
- They don’t like the work they’re doing.
People can get stuck in a job they don’t even like but are reluctant to make a change. They may think it’s too hard or too late to change the type of work they do. It’s not. It’s better to retool and change jobs than be unhappy in your current role. People spend two-thirds of their time at work – why do something you don’t like?
- They like the job, but not their employer or their boss.
Many people like the type of work they are doing but don’t like the company they work for or their manager. This might be a case where you actually need to dust off your resume and consider working for another company. At Marco, we’re very intentional about creating an environment that attracts and keeps good people.
- They haven’t kept their saws sharp.
It’s easy to fall behind, especially with today’s technology. You’ve got to keep your hands on the new tools and your skills sharp just to stay in the game. You don’t want to be old-school. I’ve seen people fall short on this, miss out on promotions and lose their confidence. Those who are learning and growing – at any age – tend to have more love for what they do. I know this is true for me. I am learning so much from our new ownership team and it keeps me motivated for our future.
- They don’t have balance.
When people get out of balance, they tend to think more about retirement. I’m not a workaholic, but I like to work. Since the start of my career, I have tried to maintain work-life balance. I’ve created a schedule that allows me to do the things I like – such as catching my grandson’s baseball games, traveling and spending long weekends at my lake cabin. My point is, don’t let your life get out of balance – you actually can do something about it.
How you feel Sunday nights as you think about the week ahead is a good indicator of how you feel about your work. I enjoy the weekends and tend to fill them with family, friends and lots of fun. But on Sunday night, I’m also excited about what’s ahead. I really do wake up each day energized to come into work.
Years ago, I remember Michael Dell talking about why he kept working after Dell Inc. went public and he received billions for the company he started. He said, “What’s more fun than running a successful company?” He was right.