Cloak of Invisibility


"Shortly after I retired, I became invisible. The "work friends" that I'd built up over the years were suddenly too busy for my calls. I no longer controlled the big budget so they needed to court my successor"

- ex Group Hr Director of a Major Global Business.

A few years ago, I started researching (in a very informal, not a “university” way you understand) the psychological issues facing people who’d been in quite important roles as they entered retirement.

One particular conversation has stuck in my mind and I’ve since recounted it to various others who have nodded in agreement.

The individual was the recently ex Group HR Director of a very well known global brand, a multi-billion dollar business. As such a senior HR type he’d taken advantage of many of the psychology related programmes that his business bought into. And the believed that he was as well prepared for retirement as anyone could be.

But after a few weeks it hit him.

Nobody who was vaguely “work related” had the time to chat, or was available for the relaxed coffees that they’d vaguely planned during the preceding months.

He’d become invisible. Because he no longer held the title of “Group HR Director” and no longer controlled the big budget.

He’d been almost totally defined by his work and his role. He went through months of depression.

Luckily he is now happy, having discovered some new passions and taking in some non-executive directorships.