"There is never enough time to do all the nothing you want"
~Bill Watterson - "Calvin and Hobbes"
It was already Wednesday morning and I still had not determined what the topic of this week’s blog was going to be.
This fact didn’t necessarily bother me as there have been several instances in the past where I simply sat down on a Thursday evening and just started writing whatever was on the top of my mind.
Unfortunately for me, I have now written over 280 blogs since its inception, so new topics on the fly, are becoming somewhat rare.
Now this past Tuesday, I had met with an investment banker, Ken, who specializes in mergers, acquisitions, capital investments, and people who want some consulting as to how to position their businesses for sale. The meeting was set up by a partner in my CPA’s office, putting two people she respected into the same room to see if there were any synergies that could be created.
I always enjoy meeting new people... especially if they can bring a fresh perspective into the conversation... so I agreed to the meeting.
Ken started the conversation by asking me a bit about my background and what it is that my business does... to which I gave him a short synopsis of my personal history, some of my interests and hobbies, and a brief insight as to what OptiFuse does to differentiate itself from the others in our market space.
I then turned the tables on Ken and asked him several questions about himself and what did he like and dislike about investment banking.
One of the great insights that he gave to me, as an investment banker, was his observations as to why people sell their businesses.
As he explained to me, business owners want to sell their businesses primarily for two reasons:
- They are tired... bored... and burnt-out and want to try their hand at doing something else... maybe to start a new business in another industry... to start doing charity work... to spend time with their families... to work on their golf game... to travel the world.
- They are nervous about their financial future and want to take chips off the table allowing themselves some level of financial liquidity. In other words... they think that their business is at the pinnacle so cash-out while the going is good.
Now, truth be told, I’ve never really given any consideration in selling OptiFuse... mainly because I don’t possess either of the above two reasons.
I believe that life shouldn’t be put on hold until one reaches a certain age or place in their life.
Therefore I try (while encouraging others) to spend time TODAY doing the things that I want to do... not wait until I’m 65... 70... 75... or beyond...
I try to do my philanthropy work today... I try to travel today... I try to spend quality time with my family today... I try to learn new things today... I set new challenges for myself (so I don’t get burnt out) today...
I’m not waiting until I "retire" to live a full and enriched life... I’m trying to live that life each and every day...
As far as taking chips off the table... even if I was able to sell OptiFuse for the right price (or even at a premium)... what would I do with the money? Maybe I could invest it into real estate... or into the stock market... or maybe invest in someone else’s company... but the way I look at it... any investment carries a certain amount of risk... so I might as well keep it invested in something I know and love (yes... it is strange to say that I love fuses and circuit breakers).
So selling the company, retiring, and doing more of the things that I already do isn’t my cup of tea...
But what about all the people who don’t own their own company... what drives them to leave their work and retire?
I wanted to research this topic a bit before writing today’s blog so I went to several websites to see what other people were saying about retiring...
My initial hypotheses was that people wanted to continue to work as long as they could... even if it’s just part-time work...
It seems to me that by continuing to work a bit after the typically retirement age of 65, several things could be accomplished:
- Working allows people to keep their minds active by problem solving and keeping abreast of new technology.
- There is a social element of going to an office and interacting with people.
- It helps financially by supplementing savings, pensions, and social security with some earned income.
- It gives spouses some time away from one another instead of constantly being underfoot.
- It helps to mark time.
What I found in my research was that I was completely wrong in my assumptions... but for mostly the wrong reason...
OVERWHELMING... the hundreds of comments I read from a multitude of retirement related articles and websites can be summed up as the following:
I hate my job... I really hate my boss... I completely dislike the people I work with... I am annoyed with the idiot customers I need to service... I don’t like where I live so I’m moving away as soon as I can... commuting is stressful... and I can’t wait until retirement comes so I can start living a life I really want to live...
After about 60 minutes... I needed to stop reading all of these comments... it was the most depressing thing I had seen in a great while (well... that’s because I don’t watch or read the "news")... I thought I was reading descriptions about forced labor prison camps...
I was saddened on two levels...
First... life is too short to wake up each day in which to live in misery... I suspect these older workers (ones ready to retire) felt trapped because they are not likely to find very many new job opportunities at their current age... they go to work with bitterness... loathing every minute that they are there...
Secondly... I feel a certain amount of malice toward the companies that employ these people... corporations that create a work environment where people actually hate being at... the management at these companies don’t lead, they subjugate their employees; ruling with an iron fist and weeding out any dissention amongst the ranks. Keep your mouth shut and your head down is the motto of the soon-to-be retiree.
I can’t imagine having to work in an environment that treats you so poorly that you can’t stand being there...
I also can’t imagine running any company where there isn’t a free exchange of thoughts and ideas... where creativity is discouraged... where top-down management takes all the credit/money/perks while the rank-and-file does all the work... and where employees don’t feel valuable and want to leave in the worst way... it seems counter-productive...
...but that is just me...
Your workplace should be a place you feel good about going to each day... it should not be purgatory.
Happy employees make productive employees...
I think that Mark Twain said it best, "It’s only considered work if you’d rather be doing something else."
Thank you very much for your support of OptiFuse where we love what we do and hope to be doing it forever.
Email - email@example.com
Twitter - @OptiFuse
Website - www.optifuse.com
Blog - www.optifuse.blogspot.com