Did you retire in 2020 during the pandemic thinking you had enough in retirement savings to live off of? Are you now coming back to work because of inflation? If this is you, you are not alone. We are seeing more candidates who thought they could retire safely a few years ago who are now being forced back into the workforce due to skyrocketing inflation. After retiring, finding work again can be a challenge and we wanted to provide a reality check on what you can expect.

Your Employer Moved On

While there will always be success stories of people who left a company and then returned, those stories are the exception to the rule, not the rule. In most cases the employer you left has moved on and you are no longer a viable option for the role you once held. Even if you take a step down, most employees know the role you held before and it becomes an awkward experience. In most cases you are better served looking for a new company and a fresh start. However, do not discount your former co-workers and managers as potential lead sources and references for new roles.

Yesterday vs Today

One of the biggest hurdles we find from individuals looking to get back into the workforce is how focused they are on yesterday, not today. Here is what I mean by that. When asked an interview question what I hear is…”in my last job”; “previously I…”; “I managed”; etc.  Too often these candidates are focused on who they used to be and not who they need to be today. Many candidates have the thought that they can walk right back into the workforce with the same level of seniority, responsibility, and pay they had prior to leaving. Depending on how long you have been out of the workforce this might work but the longer you have been retired the more challenging this becomes. Here are a few questions most employers are thinking about when they are interviewing people coming out of retirement.

  • How long will they stay?
  • How long will it take them to get up to speed with what we do?
  • How relevant is their skill set vs what we do today?
  • Will they fit in with my team?

Regardless if these questions get asked in an interview or not, they are the hurdles you will need to overcome to re-enter the workforce and you need to be cognizant of them.

Your Working Expectations

When chatting with retired individuals who come back to work, the most comments I get are these…

  • I want to work, but I don’t want stress
  • I want the same pay I had before
  • I want great benefits
  • I want flexibility in my schedule

On the one hand I understand. If you haven’t been working for last year or two, going back to work is a change. But work is just that…work. If you want to get back into a professional environment, you have to accept there will be changes in your life. Depending on your financial need, you will need to take a good hard look at your own expectations of what you need versus what you want.

It sounds harsh, but if you are not really looking at what you need vs what you want, I am going to bet you will not find the right position for you. If your financial situation has changed dramatically due to inflation and you need to get back to work for a real wage, then you likely will need to accept some stress into your life.  On the other hand, if your retirement savings is sufficient and you just realized you want something to do, then you may want to consider how much stress will you tolerate or how critical are benefits to you.

Right now, we know many Americans are hurting. We know personal savings rates are about as low as they have ever been, credit card debt has grown by 15%, the largest year over year increase in 20 years and inflation ran at 7.7% in October. In other words, employers completely understand WHY you want to come back to work, or why you NEED to come back to work. But that does not mean your retirement savings issue will justify to them that you need to get paid at the same rate of pay or have the same level or responsibility. Before you jump back into the work force, do your soul searching first on what employment details are most important to you. When you have those details you will be ready to get back into the workforce.


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