Generally speaking, we are all living longer, yet many doctors and public health leaders are still planning to retire in their late 50s or early 60s. If we are fortunate in experiencing longevity, this could mean a potential 40-plus year retirement period – which could be even longer than our working life.
Despite widening health inequalities, as a whole most people in western countries are getting healthier as they age: this means that the physical changes we associate with later middle-age and early older-age is happening at older ages than previously:
- a 70 year old today is more likely to be healthier than a 70 year old twenty years ago
- a child born today in the western world has over 50% chance of surviving to age 100
- by 2035, it is estimated that more than 80% of 65-74 year olds will be living without a long-term health condition (compared to 69% currently), and 58% of those age 75-84 can expect to also live without a long-term condition (50% currently)
Relating this to medical and public health careers.
As a career coach who specialises in medical and public health careers, this raises multiple questions for me. What is going to provide a sense of meaning and purpose for four decades for a recently retired senior doctor? How can my clients continue to work in their later life in some capacity, and on their own terms? How do we all change the way we think about our careers to ensure we flourish and enjoy the whole of our careers and we are prepared for the way we will all need to adapt to the prospect of a 70 year career with multiple transitions and potential changes in direction.
It is increasingly important to be proactive and to plan ahead as a pioneer in managing your own public health or medical career: the traditional model of education, stable employment, and retirement is rapidly disappearing. It is possible to learn the skills of designing your own career and making it real, of gaining insight and clarity about what the next chapter ahead of you needs to prioritise, and to feel confident and fulfilled in the moment with a conscious eye to the future. I can help you to take control of your career and your retirement and to make it really work for you with my expert public health and medical career coaching, medical career mentoring, and career counselling for doctors programmes.
Dr Fiona Day (MBChB, FFPH, Dip Occ Med, Executive Coach) is a FMLM approved Executive Coach and offers world-class coaching for senior doctors, medical and public health leaders. Find out more at www.fionadayconsulting.co.uk; to explore working with Fiona please book a confidential 30 minute Career Consultation here.