• Leonie Lewis


Updated: Jun 3, 2019

So am I actually semi retired or a little bit retired or perhaps not retired at all? 4MAW: 'four months after work'. I wanted to share with you my fortunate current semi/almost/not quite retired position, why, because I have now secured a couple of really interesting consultancy positions and new volunteering roles and will share my key tips for semi retirement. I took advise from other recent retirees, spoke to several consultants especially those in the not for profit sector read up about retirement planning, spent several months whilst at work considering various options.

Keeping Busy is the key I never believed it when people told me that although they had retired they had never been so busy. Their lives filled with an abundance of volunteering activity, art classes, museum and theatre visits, and often the occasional opportunity to use experiences gained through life and career.But its all true and I can now personally say it applies in my case.I haven't stopped. I have simply moved from one wonderful job, that was pretty much full on, to several pieces of work that combine my skills, interests, and energy, allowing me to engage in work and volunteering of my choosing without the necessity of having to write copious reports and or the need to find funds to pay salaries. I now call myself a consultant and have joined a whole cadre of early retirees and or people who might have been made redundant or have chosen to move from structured, formalised regular work, to a more multifaceted approach to work, where I have been able to pick and choose what I want to do, and that would provide meaning in my life;I don`t know if this is consultancy but it works for me!

What is a consultant? I researched a definition for a community consultant, in order to help me better understand what was to be expected from the role I would be undertaking.This one suited me best.For our purposes, a consultant is an individual (or, occasionally, a group or organisation) that provides experience and expertise about an issue or process – sometimes for a fee, but often as a public service – to an initiative, organisation, group, government entity, or community to further its development or goals. The Community Tool Box University of Kansas I wanted to utilise my experience and expertise and receive where possible, a fee by helping to coordinate, shape, and develop the charity sector. Semi/part retirement offered me the chance to try new things and this is where volunteering comes into its own. Volunteering allows one to test out and learn new skills.Lots of volunteering opportunities exist and although I wasn't quite sure at the outset if I would get any consultancy work, I knew I would be kept busy through the world of volunteering. Fortunately my options in the consultancy area, like Topsy, just grew and grew and I was very lucky to be able choose consultancy and volunteering roles that played to my strengths.

How to choose what to do? Having the opportunity to choose suitable options was itself an interesting experience, it increased my weight, as I was invited out for copious coffees, lunches and breakfasts but these meals and conversations helped me confirm and refine what I wanted to do.Actually there were a couple of times when I had breakfast and then lunch in the same restaurant on the same day and the only exercise I got was getting up to sit at a new tble!!I asked advice too about my choices and how they understood the role of a charity consultant and what they might offer. I got stung too. I quite often gave away too much information and too many of my contacts. I didn't charge for my time as I was eager to hear what they might be offering me..They weren't really, they were tapping my brain and my goodwill. I have learnt to be more considered but my nature tells me that its fine to share as Im sure one day Ii might be pay back time.I listened patiently to people offering me roles, both paid and voluntary that were completely unsuitable for me.After all, I was now free to consider, and decide how I would spend my time. I certainly wasn't going to become a free charity fund raiser, neither was I going to voluntarily run a project for women. But I was interested in helping shape and create a project with Camp Simcha, which has volunteering at its core and equally interested in taking forward an interfaith project modelled on the success of the Faiths forum for London.Volunteering and Interfaith are core areas of my interest and expertise. I hopefully will be able to consult on these projects for a good few months As for volunteering I agreed to become a Governor of my local Jewish Day School , Moriah and chose a new area of interest for myself, school guiding, for which Im currently undergoing training in the wonderful Bentley Priory museum.

Key Tips

  1. Take your time to decide what you want to do

  2. Choose some interesting volunteering

  3. Dont over eat

  4. Share your contacts

  5. Talk to lots of people

  6. Consider what you enjoy doing

  7. Listen to advice, you don't have to act on it!

Check out the book below..Its really excellent: Nonprofit Consulting Essentials: What Nonprofits and Consultants Need to Know by Penelope Cagney Praise for Nonprofit Consulting Essentials"The relationship between consulting and nonprofits has never been more important. Both theoretically sophisticated and practically useful, Cagney's research will be of great use to anyone interested in improving nonprofit institutions, deriving the greatest benefit from consultants, and understanding what really goes on inside large organisations."—Christopher McKenna, MBA program director and reader in business history and strategy, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford; and fellow, Brasenose College, Oxford, United Kingdom

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