Choosing Right Vocation in Retirement


Except if you are extremely lucky to, not only, but have also set up a formidable outfit in certain kind of professions that enable practise even at a ripe old age such that you may not necessarily totally quit even at an advanced age, choosing the right vocation in retirement is often a big challenge.


Today, so many retirees out there are confused as what to do. Can you imagine a retired civil servant, someone who for thirty five years had worked treating files retiring now to do one form of business or the other? I mean such businesses that had never been trained for? More so now that such a fellow is at an age above sixty five? That is why most of such businesses do fold up within the first two years with all the funds so injected. They blame the economy and fraudulent Nigerians but alas, the problem is within.

Guess what? Most of such victims are not to a large extent blameable in the sense that they have been tied to one profession for thirty years and in some cases, even more. They have been trained within and without to excel not for personal use per se but for maximum productivity in the workplace therefore, over the years, by virtue of experiences in practise, all that such individuals think about and thus know how to do is that one thing.


Need I say this? You are trained by your employer to render the best of service to the organisation. Your life remains yours without any interference from the organisation when you retire because the services of another would have been engaged to replace you. Your best bet is work to excel while in active service but strategise on the conversion of the skill so created in you by virtue of training and experience for your personal use when you are off active work.


Furthermore, utmost dedication required for excellence, growth and success in the workplace during active years had often and will eventually result into being blind in most cases to what other opportunities there are elsewhere. Being technically focussed on just that line of excellence, while in active service is allowed but had often rendered many retirees redundant when they quit all in an attempt to finding another kind of life or vocation for themselves after active work life.


To the best of my knowledge, some of the challenges as enumerated above had often led to early poverty in retirement, unplanned high blood pressure and as a matter of fact, death. Some Retirees today have just chosen to remain docile, idle and just live on pension and assistance from others no matter how little. A few had dabbled in politics. I don’t believe that retirement should be so lived hence, the need to plan well ahead particularly by those who are still in active employment. This piece aims to take a critical look at how to keep life on well in retirement by choosing the right vocation.




Mr Dada Aiyenumiro- not real name was a dedicated police man who worked for Nigeria wholeheartedly for thirty five years. While in active service, he never lost focus, being dedicated to duty, he was highly favoured hence, his promotion was rapid.

Though not so robust academically but yet had the benefits of overseas trainings on many occasions. He was a family man with five kids and only one wife. He retired at age sixty five. His gratuity came in time and his pension guaranteed till death.




He never thought of what to do after active work life because as far as he was concerned, his dedication to his police work then would not allow any extra hours for anything else besides, anything other than his police engagements would amount to distraction. According to him, the Nigerian Police had made available what he will feed on till death via his gratuity and pension.


This man was so trained as a professional detective such that he even became a Trainer to others but he never thought of house his areas of proficiency could be harnessed when he eventually retired. He of course spent lots of funds to open and equip an office a few months after he retired.


Paying for five years rent at a go and subsequently did the renovation of the building to suit his style was not a big deal because he had the funds. He had thought of immediate patronage and profits because of the excellence of his set up which was second to none around. Some of the equipments he had brought in while on trainings abroad were also utilised but alas, he had the professionalism but never knew how to market himself or his business hence, the office collapsed for lack of patronage after one and half years with all his gratuity gone.


Before his passing to glory in 2014, he was twenty five years in retirement, doing virtually nothing. Within this period, his gratuity was gone and the pension was damn little to maintain him particularly in combating sicknesses that are associated with old age.

Though an excellent worker who retired well but died unhappy. He died in penury.


LESSON: An excellent worker who never planned well enough for how to live well enough in retirement




Mrs Owoladun Josephine Talaku- not real name was actually a low grade staff in a government establishment before she retired in 1998. A pleasant woman to be with. You will love her smiles.

Mrs Talaku’s gratuity and pension were actually little but can I say she was lucky? Her husband who was a top executive of a construction company had died a year before her own retirement was due. Fortunately, the company where her husband worked paid all her husband’s benefits about the same her own gratuity was paid by the government. Waoow, Plenty of money! She had thought to herself that she will never know poverty again till death because as at this period all her kids were out of school and are no longer depending on her.



With the bulk funds at her disposal, she was first told to start distribution of flour. So she got a big shop and started the business she never trained for in a big way. She could survive for only one year or even less. But why and how? She started selling to Bakers on credit. In other words, she will pay in full to manufacturers and would in turn sell on credit to end users.


At a time, she was so owed that her capital was finished and couldn’t take delivery of products anymore. At best, Creditors were paying in bits until the business collapsed.

Her second attempt at selling cement was not still successful. She had contacted a staff of a big cement manufacturing who was helping out in the supply of the product. She would often pay to this fellow’s account to take delivery after about two weeks. That was successful for about two and half years until crisis hit. The fellow in question was sacked as an employee of the cement manufacturer without the knowledge of Mrs Talaku. Money was paid to the fellow as usual with an expectation of delivery of products in another two weeks as usual but alas, the fellow’s number was no longer even connecting. He made a call himself to Mrs Talaku after three months, narrating his woes and all that befell him with promises to refund all the money. It’s been five years of waiting.

Mrs Talaku now lives solely on her children. God bless them.


LESSON: She got involved in businesses she never planned and trained for. She operated in retirement without experience.

Please, you must learn to be successful in whatever vocation you choose in retirement. It could be in investment or business, you must need take critical steps.




Excellence is not an option but a must. That is the starting point. Ensure that you excel where you currently work. Be so good in that you do such that you can stand on your own and operate without supervision. Excellence is to be super innovative. Please note that excellence does not only promote within the workplace but also attracts clients of the organisation you work for to you as a person.


Are you a Teller/Cashier in a bank? Excellence will make people look forward to being served by you though all you do is same as the next Teller. Ditto a filling station attendant. This is applicable to all profession so long as you interface with the public and if you are a backdoor staff, simply make yourself indispensable.


Strategically build relationship with everyone you meet. Be nice to people. Smile and stop that uninviting look. Be free with people and when you are offended, handle with maturity, understanding and patience. Life and business is all about services to people and in most cases, it is not even the product that people will patronise but you. In other words, your product might be excellent but if you lack excellence in you, a less quality product than your will enjoy more patronage.


People fail in business not because they do not know how to organise or for lack of professionalism of the core but they do not understand marketing. Please note that marketing is the core of every business. Be it production or service delivery, until you are able to market your product, you are not in business. To this extent, one of the critical skills you will need to train for before you retire if your goal is to ever start a business in retirement is marketing. If you do this well, to you, success will be sure.


Wherever you find yourself, work your ways into the hearts of clients such that they will ask of you when they get there the next time and you are not around. How many of the clients or customers that you know where you are will attend your retirement party? That will be a pointer to your success or not. And before your retirement party, attendance at your own birthday parties, wedding ceremonies for your kids and such social activities will clearly show you to what extent you have built friendship and in turn, clientele.

We would have to hang this discussion here till next week. Please join me then.

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