Flexibility comes in many different forms and means different things to different people. As we move to a more flexible world, one where work and life are more integrated and where we are expected to remain in the workforce for longer it’s important to understand the ways flexibility can be used and one such important use is in transitioning to retirement.
We asked Phil Jones, Technical & Specification Service Manager, in Parchem to share his experience as he transitions to retirement.
Phil started with Fosroc-Nonporite in 1984 and whilst the business has undergone many changes and owners, before being bought by the DuluxGroup in 2012, Phil has remained dedicated and loyal to the business, to the customers and to the products.
He has enjoyed a variety of different and challenging roles throughout his impressive career, initially starting as a Specifications Manager, before moving into a State Sales Manager role, then a Product Manager which lead him to the Technical Services Manager role and the Application & Training Manager position, before being appointed the National Specification Manager until his current role today. This tenure in a technical business has meant that Phil enjoys a deep and unique knowledge and understanding of the business and its products. Phil has enjoyed many career highlights but imparting knowledge and training are the two that Phil cites as being the most rewarding.
Three years ago Phil decided to approach the business with a request to work flexibly. Then in his early 60s, with both kids living overseas, Phil and his wife decided the time had come for her to return “home” to New Zealand. Phil wasn’t ready to retire but he was ready for a change. He approached his manager with his plan about working part time. He knew of others that worked part time so he thought why couldn’t he? At that stage he wasn’t even thinking of it in terms of “transitioning to retirement”. In approaching his manager, his manager suggested he review the transition to retirement material and work through his plan. Having done that Phil went back to his manager with his plan in two parts:
1) Cut back to 3 days per week, initially working on getting the technical data sheets (over 250 of them) in order as well as providing the technical support and training to customers and staff. With that agreed, Phil then went ahead with part 2.
2) Moving to and working remotely from Nelson, New Zealand.
Both were agreed to with a trial period to see how it worked out. Adjustments would be made if necessary.
Phil notes that essential to this arrangement working is the trust the business had to have in him. And it has worked out really well. Phil now spends 3 days per week working for Parchem, predominately on technical data sheets and working with the Brand Managers on New Product Development projects, but he also provides technical advice to the team and has a few customers to call on in New Zealand, just to give him some variety.
On his non work days he goes fishing, plays golf and rides his motorcycles. He also has 4 acres of land, planted with olive trees, to occupy his time.
Has Phil enjoyed the change? Absolutely! He has a role that keeps his brain active, a bit of money coming in and more time for himself. He does more travel now as well. For him the structure of 3 days’ work, 4 day weekends works well. He sees the situation as a win win – the business gets to retain his immense knowledge and experience and he gets to work at a capacity that suits his needs in life. He is not looking to grow his career but wants to contribute in a meaningful way to the business. In the next year or so he may look to drop back to 2 days per week.
Phil recommends anyone thinking of following his path to have a clear plan and know how they are going to spend their extra free time. Make sure they have thought through their finances as well but overall transitioning to retirement has meant he can stay active and keep working whilst having more time to spend on the things that really matter!