Photo credit: Peter Dazeley

Ask yourself this question before resigning

Article published by Philadelphia Business Journal on September 25, 2022.

Individuals who consider joining the “Great Resignation” must first ask themselves this question: “Should I work somewhere else, start my own business or retire?” 

Some individuals find their path to happiness by becoming an entrepreneur. A November 2019 AARP article  is headlined, “More adults over 50 are starting their own businesses.” The article cites an Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation study that states, “In 1996, the 55-64 age group represented 14 percent of all new enterprises. In 2018, it was 25.8 percent.”  A growing number of people are starting second careers by becoming entrepreneurs.

The adages “you need to get out of your comfort zone” and “you never know what the future will bring” are true. You never know what opportunities might come your way or what opportunities you can create for yourself.

I stepped down as CEO from my company upon its sale in February 2005. I had no intention of retiring. I’ve had three subsequent careers—board member, nationally syndicated columnist on leadership for the Business Journal organization and author of “Be Different! The Key to Business and Career Success.” Not sure what’s next. Time will tell.

Photo credit: Peter Dazeley

One of the most instructive articles on retirement was written in April 2016 by Neil Pasricha for the Harvard Business Review headlined, “Why retirement is a flawed concept.” I first described Pasricha’s views on retirement in an article I wrote in May 2018.

Pasricha writes, “We don’t actually want to retire and do nothing. We just want to do something we love. And I’m not talking about endless days of back nines, fishing, and sailing into the sunset. While we might want some time to do those things, you’d be surprised to learn how quickly the bloom can come off of that type of rosy retirement.”

Pasricha cites a study of the people of Okinawa, Japan, who have one of the longest life spans, seven years longer than Americans. Within Okinawan society, there is no concept of retirement from work. Life is a continuum, where people move through life’s phases.

He writes, “They don’t even have a word for … [retirement]. Literally nothing in … [the Okinawan] language describes the concept of stopping work completely. [Their lexicon however] has the word ‘ikigai,’ (pronounced ‘icky guy’), which roughly translates to ‘the reason you wake up in the morning.’ It’s the thing that drives you most.”

So, does having a reason to wake up in the morning lead to living a fruitful life, both in years before and during retirement?

Everyone is different. Some people will be happy pursuing a life of leisure after they retire, while others will pursue second careers. Many will pursue an interest that makes a difference in their lives or in the lives of others. One should think where along life’s continuum they want to be and do what makes them happy and content.

Stan Silverman is founder and CEO of Silverman Leadership and author of “Be Different! The Key to Business and Career Success.” He is also a speaker, advisor and widely read nationally syndicated columnist on leadership. He can be reached at

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