How engineers can remain professionally active after retirement
By Joe Lampinen
Many engineers find it difficult to settle into retirement. When you’ve been functioning at a high level for decades, it’s not uncommon to miss the intellectual challenges of your professional life. Fortunately, there are options that allow you to keep working well past retirement.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Employers are open to hiring retirees. A lot of retired engineers mistakenly believe companies only want to hire Millennials. However, many employers need the technical expertise, professional judgment, and in-depth knowledge that comes from years of experience. Moreover, some companies continue a decades-long work relationship past retirement because they want to retain company knowledge before it’s irretrievably lost.
- You don’t have to work full-time or onsite. This is especially important if you’re looking for a better work-life balance. As a consultant, independent contractor, freelancer, or other type of contingent worker, there are both short- and long-term engineering projects that allow you to choose your own hours. And while some companies may need you onsite occasionally, most use enterprise collaboration software that allow you to work remotely
- You must keep your technical skills relevant. As an independent contractor, you won’t have the luxury of relying on an employer to pay for professional development. Read professional publications to stay abreast of all important developments in your field, and be prepared to invest in training and courses to advance your skills. This can make the difference between not getting any projects at all and being a sought-after consultant.
- Work with a recruiter to boost your confidence and increase your chances of getting work. A good recruiter will match your skills and know-how with what companies are looking for at the moment. This can give you a confidence boost if you’ve been inactive for an extended period of time. Your recruiter also has access to a large selection of clients including startups, small firms, and large enterprises, which eliminates the need for you to search for opportunities and market yourself.
- You can still land cutting-edge projects. With impressive experience and up-to-date skills, you’re well-equipped to land exciting and challenging projects—especially with today’s rapid, often disruptive technological developments.
Reaching retirement doesn’t necessarily mean you have to say goodbye to a profession you love. As an engineering consultant or independent contractor, you’ll be able to pick and choose which projects you want to work on while still enjoying all the benefits of retirement.