Bill Love, of RTD Financial, and Rob Croner, of CCI Consulting, explore the following:

  • How to get in touch with your own financial reality (02:56)
  • Can you afford to stop working? Can you pivot to a new career? (06:11)
  • How to sustain assets for the years to come (08:22)
  • Finding your identity in retirement (11:26)
  • Inventorying your support system (13:13)
  • A successful transition to retirement (15:02)
  • Knowing and assessing yourself (17:01)
  • Understanding retirement’s three legged stool (18:59)
  • Preserving your self-worth and mental health (20:24)
  • Bridge jobs (29:13)
  • Rewiring and reinvesting in your current position (34:15)
  • Taking inventory of your career capital (37:00)
  • Rewiring and transitioning to a  new career or skillset (41:51)



Jeff Metz (00:03):
Welcome. Thank you for joining us on the second in our webinar series called Managing Career Uncertainty During COVID and Beyond. My name is Jeff Metz of RTD and I’m your moderator for our conversation today on Retire or Rewire. Can you afford to stop working? Can you pivot to a new career? We’ll spend 40 minutes in a dialogue with our two panelists, Rob Croner, Vice-President of Senior Executive Services at CCI consulting and Bill Love, Senior Financial Planner who leads retirement counseling for RTD.

Why are we talking about managing career uncertainty? Well, managing careers fits into RTD’s life-centered planning focus. RTD is a financial advisory firm that councils individuals, retirement plan trustees, and trust fiduciaries in life-centered decisions of financial planning, investment management, and fiduciary obligations to others. At RTD we know career is central to our client’s lives, their financial futures, and their identity.

And we often provide planning guidance to a one or two career couple where an employment opportunity is no longer meeting their family work-life balance or career aspirations. We assist analyzing the outcomes of various alternatives they might consider. Or often we get questions of how much of a financial cushion is there to re-educate and pivot to a late-career pursuit.

Well, what’s before us now? When the past year the disruption of COVID-19 worldwide has introduced a whole new rethink about how business is done and accelerated the ongoing digital transformation of many industries. And thanks to RTD’s prior work experience with CCI, we’ve learned that career management is not something you put on the shelf and remove when you might need it. Career management is an exercise you want to build on regularly.

So we believe it’s critical anyone in mid or late career to stay in front of this and strengthen your ability to pivot and take advantage of opportunities. If presented with an opportunity to leave the workforce, what do you need to do to prepare mentally, socially and financially? So we will talk about what you should have in place before making a decision to retire, we’ll talk about what you should have in place to transition and successfully retire, and we’ll talk about what you need to know to rewire. So can you afford to retire?

As financial advisors, our experience at RTD is that people will seek out a financial advisor when in transition, anticipating a transition, or the stakes are higher. So if you are 10 years or so from what you thought was your retirement date and face a possible job loss, you’ve experienced two of the three reasons to start thinking about your financial position. So Bill, what should someone do to get in touch with their own financial reality?

How to Get in Touch with Your Financial Reality

Bill Love (02:56):
Yeah, thanks Jeff. And welcome everybody. I, you know, I think that they should ask themselves these two questions that you get very clear on, on where they currently stand and where do they want to go. And when I say, you know, where, where do you currently stand is to take an inventory on their expenses and what is it that they live on on a monthly basis? I find that that’s a very good exercise for anyone to go through. It empowers you, you know, where your money’s going and you know how to start planning for the future.

In addition to the regular monthly, what will be referred to as core expenses, also take a look at your discretionary spending. You know, how many trips do you want to take? If you’re expanding your family and you know, home renovations are some examples of that. Second thing is to take a look at your income sources to support those expenses. You know, some, some of you may have pensions out there. What are the payouts or, or your spouse has a pension, social security planning?

What are they, what are the payouts at age 62, full retirement age? And at age 70? And then what, what, what about your portfolio? You know, how is that allocated? This is, this is the savings that is going to replace that paycheck. So it’s important to take inventory of all those sources. In addition, you may have some extra ones that, you know, maybe a small business on the side or some rental income.

You get a lay of the land of what your expenses and income look like. And then you can move on to the next step, which would be, where do I want to go from here? What are the goals? What’s the timing that you want to do? Or I’m planning it out, whether it’s retirement or pivot into that new career or new job that you’re looking at. And how prepared is your family?

You know, we’ve, we’ve gone through some, some a practice run with COVID, unfortunately that would be home together. How is that going? You know, what, what’s the preparedness for, you know, your spouse and, and anybody else in your household?

Housing. That’s another thing, you know, how long do you attend on staying in your house? A lot of, a lot of clients we see are still in their homes that they raised their family in for 40 years. And it gets to a point where it’s, at some point, it gets overwhelming to try to figure out how to transition out of that home.

Leisure. You know, that’s the fun part of retirement, as you know, it’s where, you know, what am I going to do? Travel, golf. You know, all of the things that you dreamed of that when you’re too busy working you could do.

And health. Health, you know, how has your health? Health and wealth are very connected. You know, making sure that when you’re, you’re going into this phase, that you are mindful of where your health is and what, you know, how’s that connected to your financial planning.

Jeff Metz (06:04):
And what would an advisor want to know if asked to make a financial assessment and whether someone can afford to retire?

Can I Afford to Retire?

Bill Love (06:11):
And so that, you know, this is what we call them, you know, the next step. While working you’re, you’re mostly contributing to the cumulation. So, you know, if you’re, if you’re suddenly doing distribution planning and how do you make that switch? You know, it’s, it’s, we’ve all been taught to save and we’re suddenly doing distribution planning. You know, what do we do to make sure that our money lasts longer than we do, right?

So here’s some considerations. One, do a risk assessment of your portfolio. The mix that, that you’re there. You know, the mix between stocks and bonds may not be the appropriate risk in retirement. We’re making this change to an, to another career. You know, what’s your risk tolerance and capacity to take on risk? The markets get volatile. How do you, how do you feel about that when you’re, you’re you’re no longer working or starting a new chapter in your life?

Determine how much cash reserves you have or need to sleep at night. This is a big one. This is goes back to the, the inventory of your overall expenses and making sure where you stand. So how many, how many years of worth of expenses do you feel that you need to, to ride out some of that volatility that occurred along the way?

Next step would be determine your tax situation to get a sense of what bucket to draw from. There’s three different buckets that we look at with regards to where do you take that money from a tax efficiency, efficiency standpoint. Whether it be your taxable income taxable money, tax deferred, which is your 401k and your IRAs or tax free, which is your Roth IRA. Then lastly is determined, you know, when do you make those changes in the portfolio, as far as making sure you’re in line with the appropriate card?

Jeff Metz (08:12):
Wow. So this is just getting ready to make the switch. What should someone think about to sustain the assets for what could be 30 plus years?

How to Sustain Assets for the Years to Come

Bill Love (08:22):
Right. Yeah, that’s, that’s a great question. You know, you, you’ve worked so hard, you know, how do you protect this nest egg that the blood, sweat and tears went into. You know, there’s two things. One is being aware of what the possible catastrophic risks are now. These risks such as health event, you know, how, how, you know, how are you insured to, to make sure that, you know, if God forbid you get sick, you know, that you’re properly insured? What type of coverage do you need that that’s best suited for your needs and how do you structure it? By that private insurance route from the spousal, you know, Cobra or Medicare. You know, it all depends on what stage of life you’re in.

Next would be you know, a long-term care event that is you know, where you can no longer do or having difficulty doing the daily activities of living. And the average stay in a nursing home in New Jersey is between $260 and $450 a day. So that’s, that’s, that could be, you know, a big strain on your assets if you’re not properly insured.

Lastly is liability. You know, getting sued. A very litigious society that we live in. We’re gonna make sure that your assets are properly insured with your property and casualty, as well as if you sit on any boards or any, any type of profession that would have risks.

Second thing is, and this is most important is find the partner that will help you assemble and quarterback a team of professionals that specialize in this phase of life. Such as, you know, a CPA, an insurance broker, an estate planning attorney, a career slash life coach.

You know, this, this is this important to bring order to your financial life, to have somebody to help you follow through when your commitments bring insights, to make sure that you avoid any emotionally driven decisions when the markets get real involved, or, you know, it gets very emotional. And anticipate any life transitions you know, and have that specific knowledge of that whole retirement income planning. Very important to help you achieve that best life possible. And so just the recap, the recap Jeff. The first step, where do you stand? Second step is where do you want to go? Third step is how to get there and how to sustain it.

Jeff Metz (11:02):
And for many service industry professionals, healthcare or business executives, their personal identity is directly related to their career. So you look at the areas of one’s life, whether it be their professional growth, their friends, their community activities, their charitable associations, even their leisure, much of it relates directly to the professional pursuits. So how can someone retire and avoid introducing themselves as the person that they used to be?

Finding Your Identity In Retirement

Bill Love (11:26):
Hm, great question. And this, this would be the last step. What I call this, is who are you going to be in retirement? And so, instead of thinking of what you’re going to do ask yourself, who am I going to be in relation to? You know, your time? What are you going to do to fill up 40 to 60 to 70 hours a week that used to fill up with work?

Family. We talked a little bit about that, you know, a couple, couple of minutes ago with regards to how prepared are they for this transition. Social life. A lot of us gather, gather at work and, you know not, not this year, but you know, in many years past we have coffee, lunches, dinners, different events with clients. You know, that’s, that’s a, it’s a big void that, you know, some people have to figure out what will they do socially.

And career. At least, you know, if you’re rewiring to something else that specifically, there’s a lot of planning. You know, at this stage of somebody’s life, it’s a lot of planning to go from one career to another, one job to another. And so, you know, I suggest working with a career coach or a life coach that will help you paint that picture. And the clearer becomes any of this, the more effective the planning is.

Jeff Metz (12:58):
Great segue to Rob because one of my questions would be what, what can someone do to inventory the support systems that Bill mentioned, the ones they have now and what will be lost if leaving their profession?

Inventorying Your Support System

Rob Croner (13:13):
Yeah. Thank you, Jeff. And good morning, everyone. I’m glad to be here as well. And we appreciate your time this morning. I think Jeff, in response to that, you know, we all, people who work for companies, I think we all take for granted the various types of support systems and structures that are available to us. We don’t really even think about that, that much in your IT or technology department and so forth.

So I think what I would suggest is that, you know, behooves all of us to really give some thought to what are the different support systems out there we’re taking inventory of those. So some examples you’re on the financial side, just as Bill was saying, I mean, do, do you have a financial advisor or do you have access to some financial advising support? You know, from the career perspective, it may seem, you know, trivial, but you do have, somebody can help you with a resume? How do you create a resume or create a LinkedIn profile and those types of things?

You know, when the physical or the health side, do you have a primary care physician? Do you have, are you well tend to, in terms of just your knowing that you’ve got a, a healthcare provider from that standpoint. The emotional wellbeing is an important part of this whole transition we’re talking about. And so do you have a good support system? Do you have friends, colleagues that you can turn to from a support standpoint and, you know, get guidance and get reassurance and so forth.

And, you know, technology the pace of technology changes is rapid, and it seems like you master one application and there’s a next one on your, your cell phone or your mobile phone. And so how do you keep pace with those things? So there’s a lot of things out there that before you make this transition, or as you’re thinking about this transition, again, sort of take that inventory of the different support structures that you may need. And how do you create those systems when you’re not part of a company going forward?

Jeff Metz (14:53):
Thank you. And what have you seen where, you know, these career individuals have successfully transitioned out to retirement, your observations?

A Successful Transition to Retirement

Rob Croner (15:02):
Yeah. What I’ve seen Jeff you know, people who have successfully transitioned to this new way of living, whether you want to call it retirement or an encore career, or what have you, they found a way to really integrate three things. One is meaningful work, the second is community and the third is structure. Let me just kind of talk a bit about the three of those.

So what I see happen often, not always, but certainly a lot, are people will develop what I consider this portfolio approach and no pun intended on a financial portfolio, but this portfolio approach where they sort of cobbled together a couple of different facets of things that are of interest to them. It might be part-time work. It might be volunteer work. It might be travel. It might be returning to schools. Things that they really have a desire for to pursue, and again, creates meaning for them. So that’s the meaningful piece about it.

The community is they look for ways to affiliate it. Maybe they share some communal office space. Maybe they create a consulting team and they’re part of a project team, those types of things. And the structure and Bill alluded this bit earlier, you know, he said, how do you replace that 40 to 60 hours that you’re working, you know. Work structure a day, whether we like it or not, you know, we, if you have an eight o’clock meeting, you know, you’ve gotta be there at that eight o’clock meeting. So it creates that structure for you.

So people who have successfully transitioned think about, well, how will I structure my time? What will that look like? How will I create this new routine or regimen? And those are the things that I really think you should pay attention to. What will be meaningful to me? How will I create the sense of community? How will I affiliate with others? And how will I create structure so that I have a routine that I’m going through day to day?

Jeff Metz (16:38):
Yeah. And the, the concept of, you know, benchmarking that, that freedom, that idea that Professor Herminia Ibarra introduced of Harvard now Insead Universities, the idea that, you know, if you have the time to prepare for the transition, you should start sort of scheduling that, that time now and get ahead of it. Any, any other thoughts on, on that?

Knowing and Assessing Yourself

Rob Croner (17:01):
Yeah, Jeff it’s I’m probably going to repeat myself too often during this session this morning, but this whole concept of identity and the professor, Ibarra coined a phrase called working identity, which really when we are in a professional role, whatever it may be, we all experienced this. And it really creates this sense of identity. When you go to a party, a social function, people say what you do, you talk immediately about the work that you do, you talk about, well, who are you? Well, I am a Vice-President for a company X kind of an idea.

So that whole concept of identity is a theme that runs through all of this. So what Professor Ibarra talks about, and I think what is so important here, is this idea of knowing and assessing yourself. And I think a huge part of this rewiring is creating. I’m not going to see a new identity, but creating a different way to about who you are. And if you are no longer a Financial Planner, if you’re no longer a Human Resources Executive, you’re no longer a Marketing Executive or a Salesperson, what is your new identity?

So knowing assessing yourself creating, thinking about different options that you could become this new sense of identity and purpose, going back to this idea of meaningful work. And then a key piece of what a Professor Ibarra talked about, and I think what I would talk about to anyone who’s really rewiring, is this whole idea of experimentation. You know, dipping your foot in the pool, trying different things, figuring out what I like, what interests me and the whole idea of experimentation is learning from that.

Some things you’ll like, some things you won’t, you know, I’m a big believer that there’s no such thing as a failed experiment. It’s a learning opportunity. You’ve now learned you don’t like something and you move on to the next thing. So this whole idea of recreating or rewiring your identity and trying different ways to do that is a big piece of the puzzle as people think about this rewiring topic.

Jeff Metz (18:47):
Yeah. That’s a great point. And you know, sort of, sort of ties into the mental health and the physical health and how they play in, in the whole retirement decision, right?

Understanding Retirement’s Three Legged Stool

Rob Croner (18:59):
Yeah, it does. And I know, you know, we’ve talked to Jeff and Bill about this before. I think about retirement as this, I use it, maybe it’s a silly analogy, this three legged stool idea. But you know, one leg of the stool, what you gentlemen are involved in is the financial leg. You know, do I have enough to retire? Can I afford to retire?

A second leg of the stool is sort of your am I, is, is health. Am I going to be well enough to retire? Am I Healthy? And it goes back to, we were saying a few minutes ago about taking care of yourself. But the third piece of it again, is this whole idea of identity. And that really wraps up into this sense of wellness and wellbeing, this idea of who am I going to be in retirement? And again, I go back to what Bill said a few minutes ago. You have a lot of time now on your hands that used to be structured for you. And that time also, when you were working, drove your identity.

How will you rewire yourself to say, what’s my new identity? So that physical and mental or emotional side of the equation Jeff is to me vitally important. Can I afford to retire, am I physically healthy, but also am I emotionally well and healthy? And can I really create a new sense of purpose in retirement? That’s a huge part of this rewiring topic that I think people really need to spend some time thinking about.

Jeff Metz (20:10):
Yeah, yeah. The self-worth is really important. And one of the, you know, one of the trends, if it is a sudden job loss, you know, what steps should someone take to preserve their self-worth and their mental health?

Preserving Self-Worth and Mental Health

Rob Croner (20:24):
Yeah, that’s a great question. And unfortunately, in today’s world, that, that just happens too frequently, where people are just really very unexpectedly impacted by a sudden job loss, as you’re saying, and it, it just, it’s, it’s such a disruptive event. So a couple, I think suggestions I would offer to someone in those circumstances one, and it may sound a little maybe even silly, but the idea of, you know, you’re, you, you start to question your value and your sense of worth when that happens to you.

So really I would suggest people, you know, go talk to some of your professional friends or colleagues or friends and family, and not about so much about what happened, but talk about what they value in you. And what you’ll get back from them I’m sure it will be responses around just your worth as a person, your value, all the things that you do outside of your job that also provide value. So that you’ll find that. I think people find that to be just really affirming about who they are as a person, as a person. And they really do have some worth.

I think the second suggestion I would make is that go back and take some time and just kind of review some of your past performance, whether you want to pull out some old performance reviews or different projects that you completed. And I suggest that because when you remind yourself of when you’ve been successful in the past, you remind yourself that, Hey, I’ve done it before. I will do that again. And you again, create the sense of, of sort of value that, that goes beyond just the fact that you’re, that your job has been lost.

I think a really important step is think a lot about your transferable skills and be a little bit simplistic here, but, but, but any job will, it comes down to sort of two sets of skills. One of the, what I would call the, the technical or the, or the job specific skills and what do we need to know to be a financial planner, if you will. But the other set of skills are transferable and they’re much more people sometimes refer to them, pardon me, as the softer skills. You know, things like interpersonal skills, relationship skills, customer service skills.

Take an inventory of your transferable skills because that set of skills, those transferable skills ,will be hugely important to you to help you this transition to the next thing. And then I think coming off of that, it just spend some time brainstorming, you know, what could I do next? What interests me? What type of possible job opportunities might be out there? And begin to think creatively about what could I do? How might these transferable skills translate into a different type of a job opportunity?

And then last thing I would say is, you know, just self care. Take care of yourself. However you may do that. Taking a walk, reading a book, whatever it may be, meditation, if you will, but the idea of self care is vitally important. So when your life is disrupted and it’s, it’s, you’re impacted by that, again, self care, doing your inventory, assessing what your skills, what you’re good at, remind yourself of your value. Those are all things that I would really would suggest that people do when they have that sudden disruption in their life.

Jeff Metz (23:23):
Yeah, I, and, and you know, just the whole idea of not having a job or even the word retirement brings up the emotionality, you know, as a very strong emotionality. And in many times it’s a question of, you know, who am I going to be now?

Rob Croner (23:39):
Yeah. And you know what there’s a couple of things that I, I would, I guess, suggest, or offer to people from that perspective, Jeff. One is to remind yourself that you’ve gone through, we’ve all gone through a number of changes over the course of life. You know, whether you want to call them life phases or, or, or not. But think about things like, Hey, when I went to college for the first time, that was a huge change in my life. When I got a promotion and became a manager for the first time, that was a big promotion in my life.

And if you reflect on those, I think you’ll find that we all enter those, those change periods with a mix of emotions. We’re excited about it. We’re nervous about it. We’re, we’re sort of unsure what will happen next. And we go through this process of change as you do it. And ultimately you look back and you say, wow, I did that successfully. I became a successful manager. I was able to transition in, into college. I was able to transition out of college and into my professional life.

So we’ve experienced these periods of change before and the concept of, or a phrase called liminality, which is this whole process one goes through when they’re experiencing change. So part of my suggestion is just remember, you’ve done it before. You’ve been successful. You’ve gone through some other life events and you come out, if you will, on the other side and you’ve managed it and you’ve come out. And frankly, you come out stronger from that perspective.

And the other thing I think I would comment on, and I’m kind of going back to something I said earlier, but jobs provide sort of three things. I mean, I’m being, again, somewhat generic here, but at a real core level, one, one aspect of a job is it provides us a sense of competence, a sense of mastery work. We’re good at something. We’re a good financial planner. We’re a good accountant. You know, we’re, we’re a good car mechanic, whatever it may be.

The second thing is the job provide us a sense of community, a sense of belonging, a sense of affiliation. And then the third piece is a job provide a sense of meaning or purpose. So when you move back from the job and you think about those three things, that sense of, you know, what am I competent at? How do I affiliate and become part of a group? And how do I find a sense of purpose? That’s really what I would encourage people to be thinking about in this whole idea of rewiring.

You know, if you’re no longer an accountant, that doesn’t mean they’re it, what it means is that you can now find a different way to create a sense of competency or to create a new sense of affiliation or a new sense of purpose. And I think that’s the real secret to this. If I would say successful rewiring it’s, it’s not, I’m not saying it’s necessarily easy to do, but it can be done. And think about how you approach that sense of how do we become competent in something new? How, and where do I want to affiliate? How do I create a new sense of purpose? Those are the things that I would really suggest people spend some time thinking about.

Jeff Metz (26:28):
Yeah. And even, you know, even maybe some of the activities that brought meaning to them before they should explore and see what other meaningful activities, you know, are, are maybe going to be helpful for them, you know, forward.

Rob Croner (26:44):
Yeah. You know, I come from a human resources background, so most document informational, interviewing and networking stuff. But I would say that when people are pursuing this idea of rewiring and you’re thinking about, you know, what might be a next step for me, the idea of networking, or I sometimes refer to it as informational interviewing is a great tool to use.

And that’s simply the idea of if you had, as you think about identifying new interests. Let’s say you want to volunteer your time using that as an example. Well, can you think of two or three or four colleagues that are active volunteers? And I guess my guess is you probably can. Will then go, Hey, have a cup of coffee with them, have a networking session with them. I’m Thinking more about volunteering, can I talk to you about that? You know, how did you get involved in it? Why did you pick this particular volunteer organization? You know, what, what do you like about it? How’s it going for you?

That type of of an informational conversation is hugely valuable to people to help you explore new opportunities. And, and it’s, you know, the way of going out and sort of creating a sense of learning and experimentation I mentioned a few minutes ago. And that is, I guess the second point I would make, Jeff. Is this idea that again, in my view, there’s no such thing as a failed experiment. If you try something new and you don’t like it, well, now you know you don’t like that. And so you can take that off the list. You don’t have to worry about it anymore. Let me go try something, let me go try the next thing.

So I think a big part of rewiring is this sense of experimentation, the sense of trying things. You know, in the ideal world, we’re, we have some time to do it. We’re thinking a couple of years ahead before retirement and you use that time to think about, well, let me experiment, let me try a volunteering activity before I retire and see if I like it kind of an idea. But even as folks who are, as you said earlier, Jeff, who are impacted by a sudden job loss, you can use that time that you now have to start to do some experimentation.

So those are just two things I would really encourage people to think about that. Let me identify some folks who are doing something that I have an interest in. Let me talk with them, let me learn from them. Let me try some things differently. And I’ll like someone, I won’t like someone, all of that is a great learning process as they go forward.

Jeff Metz (28:58):
Yeah, it’s a terrific idea. And, and we, you know, we’d heard from your colleague, Lauri Plante our last webinar that, you know, bridge jobs are much harder to find now. And has anything changed or is it still the same?

Bridge Jobs

Rob Croner (29:13):
Yeah, not, not fundamentally. Things really haven’t changed that much. It’s it’s I think it’s a great thing to consider. So by definition, a bridge job is that they’re temporary in nature. They’re designed to, no pun, to bridge a person from, you know, sort of one situation and into another situation. So this idea of how do I bridge from job A to job B, if you will. And I think people can appreciate that, that bridge jobs they’re, they’re easier to do. I guess, more common maybe early in your career where you have, you know, you’re, you’re bridging from one temporary role to another kind of an idea.

But the concept of a bridge job is I think a great one, Jeff, to, to keep in this topic of rewiring in the sense of, I would encourage people to think about and talk to the organizations. There are many organizations that are starting to think about ways to help bridge people into a late stage career or into retirement. So things like a phased retirement program, there are some organizations that offer, Hey, we’ll phase you from a five day a week, to a four, to a three kind of an idea over time.

You, there may be options for people to consider more flexibility in schedule. So can I have a hybrid schedule, which we’re hearing a lot about today, where I’m working three days a week in the office in two days remotely, and that those remote days could be some more flexible time and so forth, maybe an idea of going part-time from full-time to part-time.

So my point is the concept of bridging is a great one in terms of this whole topic of transition and rewiring. And I really would encourage people to explore, even if there’s not something formal in where you’re working, and there may be some opportunities to create full-time to part-time a phased approach. Maybe there’s some flexible scheduling that you could get. So I do think there are ways that people can pursue this sort of bridging concept that that would be helpful to them.

Jeff Metz (31:04):
Hmm. Yeah. And, you know, speaking with people in the finance industry, you know, with reductions in workforce, that companies are contemplating, and one of the questions would be, is it, is it fair to say for someone who is part of the revenue stream, they’re going to be more attractive for rewiring than someone who is part of the overhead cost?

Rob Croner (31:26):
Yeah. It’s a great question to, to ask Jeff and generally speaking, I would say yes. I mean, if you’re in the revenue side and you’re contributing to the revenue, odds are the company is going to be more likely to be amenable to some things with you. But even having said that, you know, I think there are some cat outs that I think even if you’re on, if you will, the cost side of the organization, but if you have a particular set of skills or expertise, or if you’ve been with the company for some time, and you’ve just developed this, this great set of institutional knowledge, that’s valuable.

And so again, I think in that context that you people, I would encourage them to approach the organization about, Hey, is there an opportunity to, again, rewire what I do and so that we don’t, you don’t lose my expertise, but could we do it in a reduced fashion or that type of idea. So I do think that there’s opportunities for people on the cost side of the equation of, of your operation to at least pursue this rewiring. And I think they’ll find that again, organizations may be you know, maybe open to that more, more than it might expect as before they, they, they try to have that conversation.

Jeff Metz (32:32):
Yeah. And probably makes sense to inventory, whatever your strengths have you have in that area to get ready to take on a new challenge.

Rob Croner (32:41):
Yeah, definitely. And I mean, there’s many different types of online skill assessments or inventories that, you know, people could take access to some, or, you know, cost money, but many do not. They’re, they’re free and they’re, they’re available on the on the net. I’ll go back to something I said earlier, which is this idea that again, sort of broadly speaking jobs have this set of sort of core technical skills and then transferable skills.

And I, again, I would really this idea of inventory, Jeff it’s important to people thinking about both sets of skills, you know. What are the things that make me a good accountant in terms of my technical knowledge, but also what are the things that make me a good account in terms of my, my client facing skills, my, my customer service skills, my, my organization skills and so forth?

So, you know, that inventory of both technical or specific, as well as, you know, the, in my mind, the even more important transferable skills or soft skills. It’s vitally important that the people do that inventory. That they be really kind of clear-eyed about, you know, what are my strengths? What are the things that I’m good at? Where might be some gaps that I know that I have to fill in? So that inventory is a big piece of this whole rewiring or transition process.

Jeff Metz (33:57):
Yeah. And a lot of times when we counsel clients, we find that they’re experiencing a loss of satisfaction of their current position, and we have to encourage them to look for ways to find satisfaction. So, you know, in your experience, what are some ways someone can rewire or reinvent themselves at their work position?

Rewiring and Reinvesting in Your Current Position

Rob Croner (34:15):
Yeah, that’s a, again, another great question. And I’ll preface it by saying that, you know, again, given my own background and working in the human resources field, that talent, good talent in organization is a valuable commodity. So any organization is going to be really interested in trying to retain good talent. And as I’m saying that as a preface Jeff, to say that, you know, there may be more flexibility than a person might expect because organizations are just fundamentally, they want to keep good people. They want to keep that talent in place, if you will.

So with that being said, and obviously every organization organization is different. I do think there are a couple of things that, that, that they can do that to sort of explore ways of we configuring their current role to create some more satisfaction. You know, again, I’ll go back to this idea of transferable skills and even with your, within your same company, you know, what are your transferable skill sets and are there other roles in your organization where you can see that your skills might be adaptable? And you, maybe you want to move out of a marketing role and into some kind of a customer service or support role, that type of an idea.

So those, those types of internal movements certainly can happen. A lot of companies are increasingly, I should say it this way, companies are creating ad hoc project-based teams. You know, a new issue comes up. They create a work team to address this issue. The issue is addressed that working sort of disbands. So I would encourage people to keep an eye out for just that kind of an idea.

Are there work teams or project teams or, or new assignments that may be temporary nature that they could sign up for? Gives them some additional exposure, gives them a different perspective, new skillsets, might be a stepping stone to something else down the road. I think this idea of small steps in experiments the, the idea, if you identify a role that you’re looking for, maybe you can shadow, do a job shadow with that role. Again, every organization’s a little bit different.

And then the last thing I would say is that thinking about creating your own sort of career management plan, create some milestones around that and hold yourself accountable to those milestones. Sorta say, Hey, in the first six months, I’m going to reach out and have three internal networking conversations. And all of that to say, Jeff, is that I think there are opportunities for people to reconfigure their work to create some new experiences for them that ideally would be more satisfying. And again, may lead down that road to something that would be a little bit more positive for them.

Jeff Metz (36:46):
Yeah. It’s a great idea to, whether you’re new in your career or have a lot of experience in your career is to, is to document and articulate, you know, what you have in terms of career capital. Any suggestions there?

Taking Inventory of Your Career Capital

Rob Croner (37:00):
Career capital. I love that phrase because it’s just such a nice it sort of captures the, the essence of a person and, you know, typically career capital is referred to as sort of the, the value of a person’s competencies, their knowledge, and just their individual presence. They’re, you know, what they can contribute to an organization, and it’s what they use to produce value. So all of us have career capital. We all have a set of experiences, we all have a set of capabilities that we’ve developed over time, and we have a presence that we bring to an organization.

So, you know, thinking about what is your career capital is a great exercise to go through. It’s consistent with what we’ve been talking about, this idea of, you know, clearly identifying, inventorying your skills and so forth. And one, I guess, comment I would add, or one maybe framework to keep in mind as people think about, well, how do I increase my career capital, is what I have seen and referred to as the 70/20/10 rule, which simply stated means that about 70% of our learnings come from actual job experiences. So the more you can create new experiences for yourself in a, in an organization or in a setting, you learn from that.

The, the 20% comes from your informal professional network. The 10% is academic learning. So a lot of folks think about I’m going to go back to school and that’s going to get me to my next job. Well, the reality is your best learnings come from your own experiences and from your networking colleagues. So it really reinforces this idea of inventorying your skills, this idea of networking, creating a sense of support structures, and colleagues. That’s how you tap into this learning and that’s how you create and sort of advance your career capital.

Jeff Metz (38:43):
And so, you know, with a lot of the shifting going on with the digital transformation you know, whether firms flatten their, their management structure or not, what’s your observation that industries that appreciate experienced senior leaders and managers?

Rob Croner (38:59):
Yeah, I I actually think Jeff, I’m pretty optimistic about the fact that I think there are multiple industries that do appreciate experienced, I’ll just say experienced individuals, whether they’re at a management role or even a non-management role. And I say that because there’s, there’s data evidence out there that, that, that really points out that over the course of anyone’s career, they’re acquiring through the experiences, again, a set of skills and competencies.

And, and there’s, again, data that would show that people who are later stage careers, the phrase that I use, you really clearly had developed well-developed sets of competencies, particularly again, on the soft skills. The, the service orientation, the customer connection, the relationship management, those types of things. So stepping back from that, when I say multiple industries, you know, in today’s world, increasingly, we’re shifting into much more of a service-based economy, we’re shifting to digital digitization, we’re seeing all things happening. It puts a huge premium on two things from my perspective.

One is what I’ll call the STEM skills is sort of sense of science and technology and engineering and math, which are more in the technical bucket that we’ve been talking about. And then the other one is this really a set of service skills, this orientation toward people management people relations, customer service, service support. So again, I think when you are talking about where might my skill sets be valuable, multiple industries in today’s world are looking for those two sets of core skills, you know, the, the, the technical side and the transferable or the service oriented side.

And I think the gap that people, I think two things, I think the gap that people often have to fill those on the technical side. So you need to think about if I’m considering a transition to a new industry or new type of work, what are the technical aspects of that that I need to fill and how might I do that? Is there a certification program I can go to and so forth? I also think that people tend to undervalue or underestimate the sets of skills they already have on the transferable side.

There are huge accumulation of experience in terms of interacting with teams, with colleagues, with customers, and that’s really, really transferrable. So that’s why I say Jeff, I think there’s a lot of different industries out there that would want to tap into people who have those strong skillsets of customer orientation. And then people can think about what if I’ve already got that skillset, how do I fill the gap of technical knowledge? And there are different ways that they go about doing that.

Jeff Metz (41:30):
Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, in your experience, Rob, in terms of the, the profile, someone who is able to successfully rewire, is there anything that sort of jumps out at you? Anything that you could articulate, someone that has successfully rewired and transitioned to another career or another skillset?

Rewiring and Transitioning to a New Career or Skillset

Rob Croner (41:51):
Yeah. I’m probably gonna be at the risk of repeating myself a little bit, but I, again, to me, Jeff, two things stand out. One is I think it’s incredibly important that people do this inventory, a skills inventory of themselves. And again, looking at it from both the technical side and I keep saying the transferable or the soft skill side. And I would pay particular attention to that, that transferable skillset side, because that’s a piece of the puzzle that’s going to really help them create a broader set of opportunities. Because again, those transferable skills will play in multiple environments.

I think in the technical side, stepping away from the, the specific, as I said, a minute ago, sort of scientific knowledge of those types of things. I think with people, those who successfully rewire have thought ahead and said, okay, I’m thinking that my retirement is three years off is five years off, whatever it may be. And, and they’ve thought, okay, I know I’m going to stop doing, I’m going to no longer be an accountant. I’m thinking about re rewiring to something else.

What are the technical things or the job specific things that I need to know? So I use a silly example. Somebody said, I, you know, I, I really like working with people. I think I might like to do a human resource kind of work, I would say, well, you know what, there’s, there are great HR certification programs out there. Three months, six months. Go invest some time in a certification program to learn the technical side of the work, if you will.

And I think multiple professionals have those same examples of things that are technically required or specific to the work that they do. And if people do some planning ahead and construct a skill up on the technical side, they’ll have the right combination of, I now know, I now have some job specific knowledge and I’ve got a set of transferable skills that are really powerful to me. So I think a key piece of the rewiring is this sense of can I have some time to plan and prepare for it and use that time wisely to do just that?

Jeff Metz (43:47):
Yeah. And, you know, I wonder with all the emphasis on the technical skills do you find that organizations somehow assess their relationship skills that someone has if they’re considering, you know, as a, as a rewire coming into the organization?

Rob Croner (44:06):
Yeah. I’ll go back to what I said a minute ago that organizations really value talent and increasingly in today’s organizational world, it’s very fluid. It’s rapid pace. I’ve talked about ad hoc teams forming the point of all that is that organizations put great value on team based skills, on collaborative skills, on resiliency, on the ability to be flexible and change friendly if you will.

So I think what I would focus on and what organizations focus on is how can they leverage the institutional knowledge that somebody has in a world that is rapidly changing. And you do that organizations do that, but becoming very flexible with how they think about their workforce talent management and how they allocate the resources in organizations. So that was an HR jargony way of saying that if you’re an individual in an organization, bear in mind that organizations value talent, they want flexibility, they want to be able to allocate the talent quickly as they need to to different work projects that come up.

So keep your eyes open for again, new assignments, temporary assignments, flexible assignments, or things that will create exposure and opportunity for you. That’s the bridge to get back to what we talked a bit before. That’s the bridge into a new opportunity and organizations really do value those relationships and the skill sets. They would rather let me put it this way. Jeff, it’s easier for organization to repurpose and reallocate and re-skill somebody, a talent they already have, that is familiar with their culture, their norms, their ways of working than to go find a new talent and onboard that talent and bring that talent up to the learning curve.

It works for organizations financially and from a productivity standpoint to reinvest in their existing people. So it’s a great combination that organizations need to reinvest in talent. They sometimes will divest in talent we know that. But if you’re an individual, actually there’s a, there’s a, in my mind, a greater openness or receptivity to organizations being open to new assignments, flexible assignments, temp assignments, and all of that as part of the rewiring puzzle that we’ve been talking about.

Jeff Metz (46:14):
Terrific. Those are great thoughts, Robin and Bill. Thank you both. So retire or rewire. There’s a lot at stake, particularly for someone who feels there’s more to give, enjoys the challenge of their existing or perhaps new profession. Individuals who are 10 or fewer years away from their mental retirement date would best be prepared to address both decision options.

So think of your life and career this way as an analogy, you’re in a stadium and all your family and friends are in the stands, all cheering for you. What will the place look like when you carry the ball toward the end zone? What new plays will you create when you decide to give up position you were involved with and so on?

So thank you for joining us on this presentation. And if interested, our listeners are offered a free 15 minute consultation with either Rob or Bill. The contact information is on the screen. And we want to thank again, Rob Croner of CCI consulting and Bill Love of RTD for sharing their thoughts, insight and expertise on it’s very timely topic. We look forward to having our listeners on our next presentation. Thank you.