Once, two of my brothers skipped elementary school to “play hooky”. They left home, but instead of going to school, they went to the park. After they were playing on the playground equipment for a while, the younger brother said, “where are all the other kids?” “Other kids?” the older one replied. “Yeah – doesn’t it take a lot of kids to play the game of hooky?” 🙂
I am now six months past my 55th birthday, and 5+ years into early retirement and I too am wondering where the other kids are to play hooky? I can’t think of many former MegaCorp colleagues that are my age that have yet joined me in early retirement. I worked with hundreds of people over the years, but among the people I was closest to – growing up in the organization – I seem to be unique in my laziness.
When we were working, many work friends had a goal to retire by the time they were 55. We all talked about it in our 20s, 30s, and 40s. I always expected that the year they turned 55, like me, many people would be quick to join the club of corporate rogues.
That expectation seemed especially likely after all of the talk of 2021 being the era of the “Great Resignation“ after CV19. According to the media, millions of Americans have allegedly quit working rather than go back to the post-pandemic grind. Surveys report that three-quarters of employees say they are looking for greener pastures – higher pay or more flexibility – including early retirement.
With the stock market up 44% (S&P 500) since before the Covid, you would think that many people have nest eggs that would make the resignation even easier. Growth in equities and home prices should make people feel pretty solid in their retirement finances. Still, some may have been rattled by last year’s -35% market drop when the pandemic news initially broke.
Or, perhaps the new found work flexibility that has come with the pandemic has made early retirement less urgent for many. They are happy with the corporate ‘new normal’. After all, if I could have skipped my commute and done meetings online in my fuzzy fleece pajama bottoms, maybe I would have kept working too!
I don’t mean to make this sound sad, like I don’t have “anyone to play with.” I’m as busy goofing off with people almost everyday – friends that are retired because they are a bit older, friends who are free from work or have flexible jobs, and friends who are around at night & on the weekend. I’m just surprised I’m not seeing the effect of the Great Resignation first hand right now among people turning 55.
Are you seeing a “Great Resignation” among your cohort of colleagues?
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