What becomes of Previously Important Persons?

Catching up on a blog by Mark Freedman (of Encore Careers fame) in the Harvard Business Review, I was intrigued to read his comment: “A former high-ranking media executive I met recently described himself as a new member of the PIP Squad — Previously Important Persons.”

It underlined what we all know – that to retire is to lose one’s importance and to become invisible in the eyes of the world. Ask any older person you meet what they do and it’s almost certain that if they say they’re retired they will immediately qualify it by addiing “but I used to be…..”  In short, they are a PIP.

PIP status isn’t linked to grade and salary achieved. A person didn’t have to be a big cheese, chairman or professional in their career. Whatever their level, what they were was someone who was important in the eyes of the world by virtue of their place as a contributing, valued individual.

Retirement strips people of that value and recognition. Above and beyond financial reward, it is what drives many to want to keep on working.

Mark Freedman’s blog: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/05/outsourcing_the_old_folks.html

2 Responses to What becomes of Previously Important Persons?

  1. Hannen Beith says:

    Yes, very true. I’m 60 and was made redundant last year. I have been surprised at how much my self-esteem has dropped. Although I’ve started my own business the hardest part has been my own sense of value and confidence. I’ve done this by taking care of my physical and mental health, and forcing myself to get out and meet people at e.g. networking events. I can see how some people just go down.
    I have just contacted The Prince’s Initiative for Mature people: http://www.prime.org.uk It’s well worth a look. Plenty of support/ideas for those starting or running their own businesses who are over 50.

  2. Stephen McNair says:

    Yes – the research evidence that many/most people approaching retirement would like to work longer in some form shows clearly that sense of purpose, interest and status, and social engagement, are all more important than money – despite what the media like to assume!

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