For Robert Prendergast, 72, retirement was “like jumping off the edge of a cliff!” He had worked in IT for Clearstream the last 10 years of his career, until age 65, but admits “retirement always seems a long way away… one day you wake up and realise you don’t have to go to work.”
At first, he says it was “wonderful” to enjoy a cup of tea, read the news, visit museums and do some travelling. But something was lacking: “I’d always worked with others, making things, and I missed that.”
He decided to help out at a school, where he devotes up to ten hours per week substitute teaching, supervising exams, providing essay support. He’s also an avid writer, having penned three plays and two books--“not published, but you never know”--and a third book is underway.
Retirees could help other retirees, he says, through company programmes which could start five years prior to an employee’s retirement date. He envisions the programme to include not just lectures but practical tips on things retirees can do, “from work to leisure and helping the local community.”
He also thinks it would be a good idea for employers to reduce working time prior to an employee’s retirement to avoid the abrupt change and “either help you adjust to relaxation or provide other types of working opportunities.”