“Burningly it came on me all at once,
This was the place! those two hills on the right,
Crouched like two bulls locked horn in horn in fight;
While to the left, a tall scalped mountain… Dunce,
Dotard, a-dozing at the very nonce,
After a life spent training for the sight!”
Robert Browning “Childe Roland To The Dark Tower Came”
I’m sure you’ve all heard it before. Work hard your entire life while putting aside a portion of your earnings to fund your post-career retirement (supplemented by Social Security / Medicare or their non-US equivalents). Part of that advice is still good, since our laws are written in such a way as to make it foolhardy not to participate in these government programs. Plus saving as much money as possible is always a good strategy as a hedge against an uncertain future (and your heirs will love you for it).
But retirement from online efforts when they are successful? Yeah, right. Cut back on the time spent online? Perhaps. However, instead of retiring from online, may I suggest instead…Online Retirement.
In our online careers, many of us have played different roles and worked different projects. Over time, we’ve gravitated towards things that are both enjoyable and lucrative to us. We’ve sold our expertise by the hour as consultants or salaried employees but if we’re smart, we’ve also invested our time in developing our own online revenue streams (e.g. Affiliate Marketing) or acquired / developed assets (e.g. domain names, fully developed websites) that will appreciate in value over time as we get closer to the Government’s definition of “retirement age”.
Our online abilities that we’ve established and the online assets that we own / developed have become major components of our online identity which is how we’re known by others. We take that identity into every interaction & encounter we have with someone since our persona is immediately discoverable with a simple Google Search. An active online identity is the catalyst for building and developing valuable and meaningful relationships with others which can be leveraged for any and all present and future initiatives we might want to take.
Let’s also not forget how the distinctions between work and non-work online have been permanently blurred. Sure, we need to spend enough time online doing “productive” pursuits in order to support ourselves, but that should still leave plenty of time to have a little fun too. Social media is a wonderful catalyst for that. Connect business relationships with social media and the relationships can become personal. Connect personal relationships with social media and the relationships can become business. Strangers become friends. Strangers become clients. Friends become clients. Clients become friends. We’re all accessible 24/7…work time and leisure time folding together as we live our lives online.
And we’re supposed to retire from this life?
Most everyone reading this blog post is profoundly blessed that they are earning their living via a medium that is not only ubiquitously accessible and continually enjoyable but transcends any cultural, social, generational & class boundaries. The concept of retirement is totally inapplicable to our collective lifestyles. Over time, our online lives will and at some point, some of us might not favor the direction of the online evolution and quit surfing along the cutting edge. However, even when those particular folks get off the bus, there will remain pleasurable and lucrative inhabitable niches for them where they can park themselves and prosper.
Remember, there is an online component to every offline activity…so whatever activities take up your time in your golden years, there is an online community that will welcome your participation and leadership.
Todd Mintz is the Director of Internet Marketing & Information Systems for S.R. Clarke Inc. He also is on the Board of Directors at SEMpdx, runs his own side gigs and tweets quite a bit.