Retirement is dead - long live career transition

Most people we talk to don’t really like the word retirement. They prefer life change, or a career transition. That’s because 'retired' life looks very different these days. It's also because people are deciding to leave their full-time jobs at all different ages. We know many people in their 30s, 40s and 50s that have decided that a full-time job, or a 'corporate' job isn't what they want any more. They're looking for something different.

What does a mid-life career transition look like today?

50 years ago, when people stopped working full-time, they tended to potter around the house for five years or so and then quietly shuffle off to whatever comes next. Today, life after full-time work looks totally different. People are just as likely to be travelling the world, starting a business or running a marathon as they are to be spending time with their children or grandchildren (though they might do that too).

Whatever the reason they stop working full-time, for many people ‘retirement’ has become a dirty word. They don’t want to ‘retire’, like their parents and grandparents did before them. They’re fitter, healthier and have more energy than previous generations. Many of them have big plans, dreams and ideas they want to realise. Others want to make the world a better place, in some small (or large) way. We want to help them.

That’s why we’ve called our business Full Time Lives. We want to help people replace their full time jobs with full-time lives - lives of their choosing, lived to the fullest. We also work with companies that want to support their middle-aged employees or customers through this transition.

Five key ingredients for Full Time Living

We have interviewed over 100 people in different stages of their transition to the next chapter of their lives after established long-term careers. We’ve also talked to experts, and read the latest academic research in gerontology, psychology, health and wellness, education, creativity, longevity, purpose and happiness.

In our quest to learn about how to live a long, happy and healthy life, we’ve travelled to Okinawa, France, Silicon Valley, Loma Linda and Hong Kong to experience on the ground how environment and culture can change one’s perspectives and achieve our greatest potential.

We’ve been inspired by the people we’ve met around the globe and thrilled by the honesty and passion in sharing their stories with us.

All of this research has unearthed five common themes, which seem to be integral to living a fulfilling and exciting life. We’ve called these the Five Key Ingredients for Full Time Living.


Of all of those key ingredients, the ones which seem to be pivotal for most people are purpose and community. Co-incidentally, they are often also the hardest ones for people to work through by themselves and there's the least help available. This is why much of our transition programme and many of our events and workshops concentrate on these two ingredients.

Read more about purpose and community.

Read more about making your transition.

Check out our upcoming events and workshops.

Further reading

Want to learn more about purpose, fulfilment and longevity? Here’s a few things which have really shaped our thinking:

Blue zones of happiness.

Groundbreaking research into what makes people live longer and healthier lives. The so-called ‘blue zones’ are different areas around the world where people have very high life expectancies.

Harvard Study of Adult Development

A Harvard University study, running for nearly 80 years, brings academic rigour and insight into what makes people healthy and happy.

Top 5 regrets of the dying.

Palliative care nurse Bonnie Ware shares some of the life lessons she learned while working for many years with the terminally ill.