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Planning Your Post-Retirement Job


Retirement does not have to signal the end of your career, it can signal the start of a new beginning. However, you will need to plan well ahead for any post-retirement job.

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Physicians who are near retirement generally consider two types of post retirement work — taking on a part time job or carving out a new path. Most doctors want their post retirement job to be a dream project and are not usually willing to make significant compromises at that stage in life.

During the working years, physicians can’t help but notice shortcomings in the healthcare system or in the community. And many mentally create a plan to fill in these missing gaps after retirement.

Assess the Need Objectively

Setting the stage for a post retirement dream job can take some advance preparation, especially if you want to begin your project within a year or two after retiring from medical practice. Here are some steps to help you get started on your post-retirement, so that you can hit the ground running when the time comes.When planning for a post retirement job, researching the demand of your dream job or idea is the first step.

Becoming deeply entrenched in a specific environment can cause anyone to overestimate the demand for a particular service. It can be disappointing for a retired physician to find out that few people, if any, are equally convinced of the existence of an unmet need.

Find Out If Your Dream Job Will Pay Enough (Or Anything)

For example, some highly specialized doctors may feel that life would be easier or better if a different surgical device or patient education tool was available, only to learn that few individuals are interested in making use of the product. You may need to adapt your idea to a more general client base.Another hindrance to a new post-retirement project is finding a way to be paid for a new idea or service. Doctors who are retired may wish to offer a specialized type of coaching or advising. The service may be beneficial and desirable, but it may be a service that no one wants to (or can afford to) pay for.

For example, an idea to help patients navigate their medical conditions or understand their health insurance can feel like serious unmet needs, but if the prospective customers don’t see a reason to pay for the service, then the idea may never take off beyond the volunteer phase.

See if You Need Medical Malpractice Insurance

However, if you are truly dedicated to being reimbursed for providing a much-needed service that clients themselves can’t pay for, you can get creative in finding ways to be paid for your work. Such as grants or non-profit funding from non-profit organizations, donor-sponsored funds, and local or federal government organizations. A thorough search of these types of organizations’ websites is the best way to find funding opportunities.Retired doctors who want to work on a very part time basis may be interested in focusing on medical projects like interpreting diagnostic studies or reviewing charts as consultants to provide second opinions about difficult cases.

Find Out if You Will Need Additional Qualifications

It is important to keep in mind that these types of endeavors are considered patient care and may require buying medical malpractice insurance. Be sure to formally spell out the limitations of your liability, and to purchase adequate medical malpractice insurance, even during semi-retirement.If you want to teach a fitness class or coach a sport, you may need to obtain certification to qualify. Physicians often underestimate the qualifications needed to work in a non-patient care role. Doctors who have already studied for and passed difficult tests may feel ready to tackle anything. However, most desirable projects that don’t require a medical license do require some type of validation of competence.

Learn About the Field Then Network

People who are doing the “easier” jobs that you want to transition into have worked hard and have gained valuable experience. So be sure to give your next project, and the people who currently do that kind of work, due respect.Some post retirement dream jobs are highly desirable and may require setting the stage well in advance. Teaching in a university, writing medical content, and consulting for industry are examples of these types of projects.

Finding out who is in charge of the company or department that you want to join, or identifying potential clients, requires doing your homework. Linking with influencers and networking within the community can provide you with insider details about the niche that you are looking to enter.

If your dream retirement project requires connections over qualifications, it is important that you learn how to build your competence and effectively demonstrate your interest in being a part of the field well in advance. Attending national meetings is a good way to network and learn about your industry of interest.

If you don’t want to completely slow down after retirement, you will have to put some planning into your next professional chapter in order to jump right in to your post- retirement project.

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Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice
Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice