The Career Doctor™

by Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez

Looking for a first job? Thinking of changing careers? Facing a lay-off? The Career Doctor™ is a Larchmont psychologist specializing in career counseling. If you'd like to ask a question of your own, use our anonymous form, and she might answer you here. Read more about the Career Doctor here. Contact information is here.


Dear Career Doctor:

For the last 15 years I have been in a very stressful position running a division of a major corporation. Since I have worked very hard since I was a teenager, I have looked forward to retiring so I could do all the things I never had time to do like read the Great Books, travel and play a lot of golf. But now that I am about to retire in two years, retirement doesn't seem like a great pleasure, but a big yawning hole. I don't know how to make it seem like a pleasure again.


Dear LT:

Freud said that to be mentally healthy, people need two things: love and work. So, it makes sense that a life with just pastimes would sound tempting, but be essentially unfulfilling. Many people get depressed when their retirement pastimes doesn't make them happy, and they can't figure out why. You are lucky to have realized the problem while you have two years to figure out how to balance pleasure with some meaningful work.

Such work can be part time and it doesn't have to be for pay. It can use your current work skills in a different way, or it can be comething completely new. After all, retirement is a great time to retrain and try something different.

Famed psychologist, Carl Jung, found that people who spent the first part of their lives as hard-driving business executives often find fulfillment by doing the opposite later on-- devoting themselves to nurturing the arts or non-profit institutions or people. For example, I know someone who retired from a high-powered international law practice and retrained to do poverty law. He feels very fulfilled working two days a week at a settlement house in the Bronx. Using a different type of nurturing, I also know a real-estate developer who loves taking care of his grandchildren twice a week. (And as he would tell you, taking care of kids is WORK!)

On the other hand, it sounds like you have a whole set of business skills tht you could use in many helpful, beneficial ways. The point is: when someone asks, "What do you do?" you must have an answer that makes you feel proud of yourself.

The Career Doctor


The Career Doctor™ is Larchmont psychologist and career counselor, Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez.

Her office is at 90 Beechtree Drive in Larchmont, 914-834-1982.


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