I bumped into an old colleague recently. He had been “retired” for a year or so from work where he had been something of a “big cheese”.
I asked how he was doing and he talked about his hobbies, volunteering as a local magistrate and the local Rotary club, it all sounded very interesting and more than enough to keep the boredom well away but he expressed some dissatisfaction with his current life.
“You know what it is Terry, you get no respect when you are not working – no one is interested in your opinion or think you have anything of value to add to the conversation or the problem.
It is almost as though all that experience and leadership capability counts for nothing”.
I have pondered on his words since and I think he is, to a large extent, right in feeling that he has lost some respect and standing in the community. It may be, in part, age related but I believe it is mainly linked, as he observed, to not being economically active – not in a job.
So many mature people (3.5 million between the ages of 50 and 65) are not engaged in the economy either through voluntary or forced redundancy. We like to call it early retirement – it is a lot less stigmatising than being “unemployed”.
For those who would like to be employed getting back into the workplace is incredibly difficult when you are over 50 and near impossible when over 60. I know I was in that place 4 years ago! It was not so much “September“ woman as “you’ll be wanting to give up soon” December woman!
However, those same age and prejudicial barriers do not exist for people want to set up their own business. And that is what I decided to do, a social enterprise called Chapter 3, www.chapter3.org.uk, a not for profit geared towards supporting September people into self-employment. And also a company called Armchair or Adventure, my strap line “Not dead yet”.
Being your own boss is an opportunity to deliver some of those childhood dreams, an opportunity to give back to your community, an opportunity to make a bit of money, an opportunity to use that grey matter. And oh, an opportunity to get your self-respect back.
Terry King OBE
Director - Chapter 3
Chapter 3 is a not for profit organisation with a strong commitment to communities and society focused on helping create economic and social value through enterprise.
We are a small but perfectly formed community interest company with many years of leadership and enterprise experience and great passion for what we do.Our experiences, skills and wisdom being built-up through running businesses and working with hundreds of start-ups, in particular micro-businesses and the third sector.
We deliver practical workshops, guidance and creative solutions that help communities and individuals.