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July 14, 2003
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Leaving the State You’re In

The HR Doctor has been invited to an unusually high number of retirement parties lately, and has also heard from several colleagues who are leaving their current jobs, even though they are not retiring. The common denominator in talking with these colleagues and friends is that after leaving work, they plan to leave the state. One is to launch a great adventure with his wife and move to Alaska. Another is leaving Florida to move to California. Another will move to the lower-cost Appalachia area to return to family and roots. A common message being delivered is, "When I retire, I’m leaving the state I’m in!"

America is certainly a mobile nation, with about 17 percent of the population moving each year. Retiring is certainly a time of renewed adventure. Ironically, your willingness and freedom to try a new adventure can be similar at retirement to what it was in your teenage years. You had fewer ties then and more freedom to experiment.

The same can be true in your retirement if you have taken care of yourself and made choices which allow you the chance to explore and to be adventurous. Some of these choices are simple and we make them every day. I have the choice whether to put on my seat belt when I get in the car. Nearly half of American workers don’t regularly wear their seat belts, but they have a choice. I have a choice whether to exercise and eat more sensibly, in an effort to reduce the excess weight, that plagues about forty percent of the American population.

I have the choice to continuously learn and grow by attending seminars, continuing education classes, networking, and attending training sessions put on by the county.

I have many choices. If I have made wise ones, including saving money regularly and using the power of tax-deferred savings programs such as the 457 plan, I am in a position to have more options and fewer restrictions when it comes to making choices to "leave the state I’m in."

All of the HR Doctor’s colleagues mentioned above spoke about moving in a physical, geographical sense. However, in reality, we all reach milestones in our careers and our lives when we figuratively "leave the state I’m in."

All major lifestyle changes, including a job change, getting married, kids leaving home, accepting a promotion, opening a consulting practice, suffering health setbacks, or retiring, for that matter, represent a "change of state." For most of us, we can completely change the state we’re in without ever leaving our house or our office. That is because the state we’re in is as much a psychological state as a physical one.

Changing your state represents another series of decisions within our power to make. If we show up at work each day, with an attitude that is positive, and with a spirit of "how can I help" instead of "what’s in it for me," the state we’re in will change for the better. It will also have a positive impact on the state of mind of our colleagues and our customers.

You don’t have to retire to think differently and think more positively about the world around you, including your immediate micro-world such as the world of your immediate office area. Whether you plan to retire next month or in the next decade, whether you leave your current job tomorrow or a thousand tomorrows from now, understand and think seriously about how you can change the state you are in for a better life. You don’t even need a relocation service or a moving company to help!

The HR Doctor hopes your state is great!

Phil Rosenberg
The HR Doctor


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