You’ve earned it

Dec. 12, 2022

Life’s most meaningful accomplishments are earned, not given. They differ from person to person, and might include service to country or community, business initiatives, and family or friendship relationships. I hope right now you’re reflecting with pride on some of your greatest accomplishments, because you combined ability with effort and caring—your brain, your body, and your heart—to achieve them.

Retirement takes a rightful place among these accomplishments that are earned rather than given. Symbolically, retirement signifies the culmination of decades of work in one or more professions. Practically, retirement should be an opportunity to live without the commitments and stresses of a daily job. In the same way that nobody simply handed your life’s other accomplishments to you, nobody will give you your retirement either. You will have earned it. I suspect that some of you already have earned it, and simply have chosen not to take it just yet.

I bring this up because elsewhere in this issue, we provide information from our recent survey that examined hiring and training, as well as career planning, in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry. That survey revealed that 8% of ICT workers employed by contracting firms do not plan to retire. Digging into the data a little bit, I saw that most of these people are long-time workers in the ICT industry. So we’re not talking about youngsters for whom retirement is so far away they haven’t even thought about it. Many who are approaching or have reached a typical retirement age are still working, with no plans to stop.

Since sizing up this data and realizing how many retirement-age professionals are still working, my feelings have been mixed. I’m grateful that at a time when it’s challenging to recruit young professionals into the trade, it maintains many of its most skilled and experienced craftspeople. That has alleviated some of my worry that much of the industry’s knowledge, which resides within our most experienced workers, will be gone from the industry when these workers retire. So gratitude and worry are my mixed emotions. But worry wins out, because what I realized over the past few weeks is I also worry that these experienced veterans of our industry will not enjoy the full retirement they (you) have earned. If you meet the profile I describe on this page, I have a special request. As the calendar turns and some people make resolutions, please resolve to make 2023 the year when you select one or more junior workers in the industry to take under your wing briefly. Show them some essentials and set them up for the type of success that they can earn. Then begin enjoying the retirement that has not been given to you, but that you have earned. You deserve it.



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