There we sit, John and I, at the Regency Bar and Grill, bastion of the power lunch in NYC, looking like any other deal makers. Except that we’re not. We’re probably the only retired people in the room. I suppose the other diners would have known that if they’d stayed long enough to see that we were the last to leave while they went back to their deal-making offices.
The shattering irony of our discussion which focused on the “loss of power and identity and connections in retirement” in a room filled with networking business executives is pretty striking. Seriously, can you imagine the head turning from those power brokers if they’d heard John say this: The crux of retirement for me is “the loss of the sense of self which is only magnified by the fact that you’re not at the center of the action anymore—No one needs to stay in touch with me now.” He goes on to talk about the “ego satisfaction of the job and the fact that “so many high powered guys have a sense of bravado” which needs to be fed. “Everything I did was attached to my business success…everything my parents taught me.” And when that ego satisfaction is gone, it’s a hard fall. All of a sudden he admits “you realize that it wasn’t YOU that people sought after— it was your position. When you’re in the JOB, you’re the person people seek out. But your Power stemmed from the business you worked for…and without that business, you’re just a regular guy, whose calls are maybe returned several days later…or never. He jokes that when he was the CEO, he could call anyone…and “I never got put on hold, and now… I’m always put on hold!” Now, there’s a proof statement if I ever heard one!!!