What will you miss about work?

Consider what to keep (and what to leave behind) when you cross the bridge from work to retirement.

By Jon Glass - 3 min read

A little about Jon

Dr Jon Glass* runs retirement coaching business 64PLUS. He coaches individuals to a clearer understanding of the issues they will face post work. He has studied counselling and coaching at The Australian College of Applied Psychology and The Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership.

No time to read? Watch the video and let Jon tell you himself.


Retirement can be a wonderful phase of life; however, as you may have up to 10,000 days of living post work, it needs some thought and planning to make retirement great in all respects. Whatever you are currently thinking about your retirement, it will take some thoughtful self-analysis to start the journey well.

It is important not to underestimate the significance of the transition from a working life to a retired life—whether you leave your working life abruptly, or transition through part-time work.

This transition involves an emotional movement from a working life to a retired life. I call it ‘crossing the bridge from work to retirement’. Potentially you will cross the bridge to new activities and a new social life. As with any journey, it's worth asking yourself questions before you set off. 

What do you want to take with you?

You might answer, a sense of joy, of anticipation and excitement, and, in particular, your curiosity—as you go forth to conquer this new world of your retirement. At the same time, you may have some apprehensions—what will you do with your free time, or how will you fit all your plans into each year, to take two extremes.

Have you left anything valuable behind? Can you replace it?

There will be aspects of work that you will miss—a sense of purpose or the opportunity for social interaction, for example. If you want to replace such elements, some self-analysis is required. So, let’s move from abstraction to give some examples you can chew on.

  1. Your work may have given you some status and relevance to others. Post-work loss of status can show up as “Relevance Deprivation Syndrome” or RDS for short. You may feel that suddenly, you’re not as important to others as you once were—and it hurts. If that is an issue for you, then how can you feel more relevant in your retired life? 

    Possible solution: Get involved in charitable works. There are lots of opportunities out there if you search for them.

  2. Work provided you with a social life and, importantly, colleagues across the age span. If you’re missing those connections, can you find ways to build a new social life?

    Possible solution: You may want to stay in touch with certain work colleagues, so make sure you get their details. Or join a club and meet new people.

  3. Every job confers a level of validation upon the worker from time to time: job well done, task achieved, boss happy. What forms of validation could you hope to achieve in retired life? 

    Possible solution: Being a reliable grandparent? Organising matters at your local sporting club, book club or gardening club?

  4. You may miss the large printer that your workspace provided. I'm being frivolous, but the serious point is that work perhaps supplied you with useful resources, such as an IT infrastructure. You should think about how to replace those. 

    Possible solution: Hire an IT consultant for a few hours to tune up your home IT network.

  5. Believe it or not, many people realise in retirement that they truly miss the banter at work. Sounds trivial but it’s true. As you no longer have a communal area, as there may have been at work, where can you find banter?

    Possible solution:
    Build connections with people in your community with whom you can engage on a casual basis.

Whatever you decide, crossing the bridge from work to retirement is always a complex matter. The more work you put into your thinking, the better the quality of the outcome for you. Good luck!

 Pre-retirement checklist

  • Discuss the results of your thinking with family and close friends. The better they understand what you want to take across the bridge from work to retirement, the more they can assist. Conversely, the greater the shroud of mystery that hovers above your feelings, the less support you will find.
  • Talk to a friend who you consider to have made a success of retirement and find out their secret recipe.
  • Take online courses and read articles to learn at your own pace.
  • Engage a Retirement Coach, who has models and ideas to stimulate and assist you. At the conclusion of your last session, you will have a documented plan for your fulfilling retired life that distils your thinking about meaning and purpose in retirement, considers what you’ll miss from work, what to replace and how, and what to drop and ignore.




Zest! recommends: 


Should you carry debt in retirement?

Dealing with debt after work can be confronting but you do have options

Michael Jefferies
4 min read


*The opinions expressed are those of Dr Jon Glass and 64Plus. Russell Investments does not endorse, and is not accountable for, any views expressed by Dr Jon Glass or 64Plus.

Issued by Total Risk Management Pty Ltd ABN 62 008 644 353, AFSL 238790 (TRM) as trustee of Russell Investments Master Trust ABN 89 384 753 567. Nationwide Super and Resource Super are Divisions of the Russell Investments Master Trust. The Product Disclosure Statement (‘PDS’), the Target Market Determinations and the Financial Services Guide can be obtained by phoning 1800 555 667 or by visiting russellinvestments.com.au or for Nationwide Super by phoning 1800 025 241 or visiting nationwidesuper.com.au. Any potential investor should consider the latest PDS in deciding whether to acquire, or to continue to hold, an investment in any Russell Investments product. Russell Investments Financial Solutions Pty Ltd ABN 84 010 799 041, AFSL 229850 (RIFS) is the provider of MyTracker and the financial product advice provided by GoalTracker Plus. General financial product advice is provided by RIFS or Link Advice Pty Ltd (Link Advice) ABN 36 105 811 836, AFSL 258145. Limited personal financial product advice is provided by Link Advice with the exception of GoalTracker Plus advice, which is provided by RIFS.

This communication provides general information only and has not been prepared having regard to your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making an investment decision, you need to consider whether this information is appropriate to your objectives, financial situation and needs. If you'd like personal advice, we can refer you to the appropriate person. This information has been compiled from sources considered to be reliable but is not guaranteed. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. To the extent permitted by law, no liability is accepted for any loss or damage as a result of reliance on this information. This material does not constitute professional advice or opinion and is not intended to be used as the basis for making an investment decision. This work is copyright 2022. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process, nor may any other exclusive right be exercised, without the permission of Russell Investments.