Status is a subtle thing.

We may not even be aware we have it – until it has gone. But when the P45 is handed over, the pass to the company door is no longer valid, and there is no one for you to give instructions to or take them from, the penny soon drops.

Once – whatever our role or level of responsibility – there were those who looked to us for whatever we did. Their ‘well done’ mattered. If there were measurable outcomes involved, they affirmed us too.

We stood shoulder to shoulder with colleagues. Looked up to those to whom we were responsible. Held accountable those we were responsible for.

We were ‘someone’. But now we are on our own. With all that clarity gone.

And of all the changes that come ‘after work’, this one impacts us most in terms of how we feel about ourselves. And for many it is not enough to say ‘well at least I now have more time to prune the roses’.

  • Status and the right perspective

    If our sense of personal value and self-worth depends only on our role in life, and the approval of others, then we are missing something.

    Our status and significance ought to be wrapped up in the God who had us in mind before anything existed, who loves us unconditionally and paid the ultimate price to restore our relationship with him. Indeed, our true value can only be measured in the price he was willing to pay for us – the life of his own son.

    We matter not because others tell us that we do. But because God tells us so.

    Mull on these amazing facts and let them sink in. God would have you know –

    You are unique Psalm 139.13, You are loved Jeremiah 31:3, You are special Ephesians 2:10, You are precious 1 Corinthians 6:20, You are important 1 Peter 2:9, You are chosen John 15:16, You are mine Isaiah 43:1.

    That is not the total answer to facing the loss of status that comes when work ends. But it is a vital foundation.

  • Status and doing things right

    It is important to accept the time has come to move on. To face that things will never be the same as they were. And to aim for a future that, though different, can be just as significant and fulfilling.

    Indeed, those who are happiest in retirement – according to Stewart Friedman, founding director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project – are those who do more than just relax, watch TV box sets, travel and prune the roses. They are those who, ‘look to use their talents and passions to make a contribution’.

    Whatever happens, don’t just fill your time with whatever comes to hand – or what people throw your way. Aim for some clearly defined projects and goals with outcomes you can see.

    And if you can make the change gradually – a slide into ‘after work’, rather than hitting the buffers full-on, can be better.

    If you’d like some inspiration as to what you can do, take a look at some of the new challenges you could take up.

    Finally, try not to figure out your future all on your own. Tap into others who have been this way or are at the same place you are.

Finally, try not to figure out your future all on your own. Tap into others who have been this way or are at the same place you are.

Have you found a way to cope with your loss of status that could help others? Please share it on our Facebook group. And don’t forget to Sign Up to our blog.

The word retirement is not even in the Bible. What is taught in scripture is transition. There is nothing that says you work most of your life and then get to be selfish for the next 20 years"

Rick Warren, PurposeDrivenLife