Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work by Halimah Bellows addresses the needs of a new generation of career seekers in a rapidly changing economy and job marketplace. Designed as self-paced career development workshop in book format, it provides self-assessment tools to enable individuals to explore their personal passions, values, strengths and skills along with sound strategies and resources for decision making, goal setting and networking to begin a fulfilling new career.
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At an early age Halimah Bellows became aware of her natural ability to listen to people non-judgmentally as well as her desire to be of service to others. In her life as an educator, a career counselor and a coach, she has been able to marry her fascination with people’s stories with her deep interest in the world of work.
A Pacific Northwest and California-based career/coach for more than 20 years, Halimah Bellows holds an MA in English Language Teaching from the University of Exeter, an MS in Counseling Psychology from San Francisco State University and received training at The Coaches Training Institute and Retirement Options to become a Certified Retirement and Professional Coach. Author of Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work and creator of CAREER QUEST CARDS, she is a seasoned workshop presenter, group facilitator and talk show guest.
In addition to assisting people through career transitions and supporting retirees to “retire with fire”, she also focusses on helping couples and business partnerships build powerful intentional relationships as well as empowering artists, entrepreneurs, and professionals to develop their business and achieve their dreams.
To have a quality retirement, you need to incorporate the qualities and elements you would miss most from your work life as you enter into your retirement. You need to explore your interests and be ready to discover and experiment with new ways of thinking, behaving and engaging with others, based on your self-exploration. The questions and exercises in this chapter will help to stimulate a dialogue within yourself as well as between you and significant others so that you can extract new understanding about your needs and wants and gain a sense of what you would like to pursue in the future. The goal is for you to have the best possible retirement.
Champion Your Career
For some people, they have actually become their jobs; their work has evolved to the point of defining who they are as a person. This restricted sense of who we are will hinder our sense of self-esteem as we move into the retirement years where work is less important or is no longer available to us. The question of “Who am I?” can no longer be largely defined by what we do. It becomes an exploration centered on our intrinsic values. This internalized search is usually not easy or familiar to most of us. It requires taking time to reflect honestly in order to create a more comfortable and realistic self-definition. Retirees who cannot redefine themselves will default to a more dependent, passive way of living and will stop growing emotionally and psychologically. Ask yourself, “How much time have I spent addressing this issue of redefinition?”
Understanding the Benefits of Work
This exercise will help you recognize the benefits from work beyond receiving a paycheck. It is generally accepted that work brings most people five basic benefits:
1. Financial stability
2. Ability to have a structured week (time management)
3. A sense of purpose
4. Opportunity to be social with others
Part 1: Consider how well your current work situation meets the above needs on a scale of 1 to 10. Add a brief description of how your present work environment serves to fulfill the five basic benefits listed here.
Part 2: Review how in your retirement you will successfully be able to replace these five functions of work. Rating from 1 to 10, how successfully you feel these work functions can be replaced.
In taking your first steps to retirement, ask yourself, “To what degree do I feel I am emotionally detached from the strivings and accomplishments of the work I am about to leave behind?” How much do you see yourself defined by your work? How much is your personal worth invested in your work world?
By reflecting on these questions you will gain a clearer understanding of what you need to do to redefine and redesign your life in the process of retiring. Even if you plan to continue working on a part -time basis, your leisure time will increase. So you will be focusing on making a smooth transition from full-time work to more leisure time. After you have explored the qualities you highly enjoyed in the workplace, consider ways to fulfill those same needs in your increased leisure time. This will make your transition much less stressful and uncertain.
The Five Stages of Retirement
It has been observed that there are basically five stages to retirement. By understanding these stages you will find it easier to deal with the emotional component of retirement, a pivotal transition from an active work life to creating an identity outside the work environment. These are: