In the last few years before retirement, when the going got tough, I often dreamt of the bliss awaiting me post retirement. I day dreamed of my comfortable rocking chair and the long list of unread books and leisurely mornings and fun filled holidays! I was fortunate that just before superannuation, I got quite a few rather lucrative offers of a post retirement innings in the government and the army. I politely declined, fully conscious that after 40 years in the army and government environment, the last thing I wanted was five more years of similar routine and the luxury and familiarity of an Ambassador staff car and such perks. I opted instead to move out of my comfort zone and try my hand and go out to bat for a second innings with a fresh guard! Keeping the rocking chair on hold I took a deep dive into the corporate world! I was no longer retired but ‘re-attired’
I have now been working for past ten years in the corporate environment as an entrepreneur, and advisor, and find there is so much to learn, share and contribute and have a decent second innings. If I at my late age can transition so seamlessly, I can assure my friends donning the prestigious uniform of our glorious army today, that the world outside offers a host of new and equally satisfying opportunities for those willing to adjust, and be bold enough to take the plunge. Officers and our men enjoy much acceptability and can plan for a satisfying second innings. This can be done post retirement or even midway in the career if one feels the urge or need to channelise fruitfully, the immense energy we all possess. If you start early then you can build a career but if you start late then at best you can aspire for a job!
One of the options on deciding a career, post the army, is whether to be an entrepreneur or an employee? This decision would largely depend upon the mental make up of each individual and the domestic compulsions he/she may have. If you have settled your family affairs, have a home and no major liability then with the current pension being the safety net, a foray into entrepreneurship, alone or with a few like-minded friends would be a very viable option. I have seen that the success rate of veteran entrepreneurs is above 60 percent, which is rather high given the competitive environment. The challenges, travails and pitfalls aside, an entrepreneurial journey is the most rewarding and satisfying option.
WITH THE INDIAN ECONOMY ON THE GROWTH TRAJECTORY FOR THE NEXT TWENTY YEARS, THERE ARE MULTIPLE OPTIONS TO CHOOSE FROM DISCARDING SECURITY, WHICH SADLY HAS BECOME THE DEFAULT OPTION OF MANY. WE HAVE MUCH TO OFFER WITH OUR MENTAL AGILITY, ANALYTICAL MINDS AND RESILIENCE WHICH WE IMBIBE WHILE IN SERVICE.
With the Indian economy on the growth trajectory for the next twenty years, there are multiple options to choose from discarding security, which sadly has become the default option of many. We have much to offer with our mental agility, analytical minds and resilience which we imbibe while in service. The digital and technological disruptions taking place today, create a host of small start up options in varied areas. The only weakness I felt in my armoury was the lack of financial prudence! We lack the instinctive ability to reduce costs and go for cost effective solutions as we are not conditioned to monitoring and reducing costs. If that aspect is relearned, the entrepreneurial journey would have less hiccups! There is no doubt a lot to learn and sacrifice to be a successful entrepreneur but I feel one can pick up the gauntlet should there be enough passion and panache!
As far as seeking employment post premature retirement or even retirement, there is dearth and dire need of good officers, in the business world, starved as it is of skilled and dedicated professionals trained in body and mind at the world’s best training institutions! Therefore, serve with honour and confidence, upholding the Chetwode motto, but be assured that your learning curve can be put to good use later in life!