Celebrating Next – Susan Somers
It is our mission at Lifelaunch Consulting to help others define their ‘next’ with purpose and intention, and to celebrate as a new chapter unfolds. As part of this, we maintain a blog featuring our friends who have successfully navigated the move from ‘now’ to ‘next’ and are thriving as a result! It is our hope that by sharing these stories, we inspire others to live their lives to the fullest.
My pre-retirement career:I worked at AT&T where I had opportunities working in sales, sales management, training & development and human resources. At the time of departure from AT&T, my job was supporting a global sales force in the area of human resources, whose clients were large corporations headquartered in Ohio. I was fortunate in that at the age of 42, I was pension and benefits eligible due to my 25 year tenure, so a part of my retirement package was a stipend to start my own business (which I took full advantage of). Post-AT&T retirement, I worked for Saks Fifth Avenue for almost five years, as Talent Development Director. As Founder of WhenYouNeedHR, my focus today is in establishing and maintaining the HR responsibilities for smaller companies. These small business owners are actively trying to run all aspects of their business, so there is no time to read up on the ever-changing employment laws. I offer a unique service via a monthly retainer in support of all-things HR for them, taking that monkey off their back so they can stay passionate about what they do best…growing their business!
Three ways I spend my time in retirement:1. A good amount of my time is spent focusing on my business. I work with a really fun employment attorney (Mindi Wells) who has a significant amount of hands-on HR experience. Together we facilitate monthly lunch & learn workshops with topics that were requested by our audience and have a focus of continuous learning for HR folks. Additionally, we have developed a “Supervisor Success Series”, a three-part learning workshop, highly attended by newly promoted managers and experienced managers who work for businesses in Columbus and the surrounding communities. We have established a really cool following of businesses who have adopted our series of workshops as part of their on-boarding and developmental best practices for managers. 2. I am called on to give career advice to young people who are starting out, so I have had more frequent requests in this area, it seems. Many times it’s to coach them for an upcoming interview or to review their resume. I find it interesting when more often than not I hear the words “I just don’t know what I want to do the rest of my life”. My advice is always to cut themselves some slack for not knowing, give thought to and then pursue things they have an interest in. It can’t just be all about the money and the title at this point; that will come. Sometimes we just need to give permission. What’s that phrase? Something like “You will never work a day in your life if you love what you do.” 3. In my spare time I travel whenever the opportunity presents itself, I hang with my adult children and my 3 parents, I hang with girlfriends, love to cook, love to garden, I walk, I listen to live jazz bands, I listen to Audible books, I meditate and so so so much more. I am living the dream! “Retiring” has been life-changing and I highly recommend it. It’s nowhere close to being “the end” at all – it’s simply the beginning of something new! And it’s great, BTW!
What I love most about retirement:Not having to follow such a rigid schedule. Listening to the traffic report on TV and knowing I will not have to fight traffic to get to work at 8:00 a.m. Not having to answer to someone who is the boss of me on the org chart. Choosing how my day plays out. Surrounding myself with people who bring out my best. I realize I am incredibly fortunate, but I chose this path and have deliberately made my way. This alone continues to empower me throughout my life.
My biggest challenge with retirement:I am not sure I have had any significant challenges up to this point…things play out and things work out for the most part again, because I know I am in control of this in every way.
What I did to prepare for retirement:I began to network like crazy, discovering what changes small business owners were feeling with the upturn in the economy. I came up with a creative name for my business and created a logo and a website. I subscribed to Business First and took notice of the many goings-on around Columbus. And the reality of this is that I did nothing to really “prepare” for what we have always felt “retirement” is, but prepared for what I could achieve in this next phase of my life. Big difference and much more rewarding!
Something I’ve recently done for the first time:I am learning how to paint with oils! One of my clients has an employee who is also an incredibly talented artist; she offers lessons each week to anyone who wants to learn. It is a blast and it’s something I never thought I would be good at. But she helps me become better with each passing week and for that, I am grateful. No doubt, the wine selection on paint nights is also helping me become better. 😊
Most recent book/article I’ve read:“Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty. Soooooooo good in print! Netflix series was excellent, but the book is way better.
My future:I would like to believe the following words will describe my future: gratefulness, certain, authentic, joyous, untroubled, positive, assured, secure, steady, content, indebted, fulfilled, unworried