This week I am finalizing grades for students completing the course “Career Management and Transition” at New York University.  One of the required assignments is to present a Personal Branding statement to their classmates.  I started wondering why I haven’t heard about post-retirement branding statements.

Company brands are a well-known part of our culture.  Think Apple, Coca-Cola, Donna Karan, Ford, Tiffany, or Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.

But do you recognize the personal brand of your friends and colleagues?  Too often we don’t consider our own Personal Brand which communicates in a few sentences our own unique worth.  It differentiates us from the competition and it provides something to strive to maintain, such as “I am a creative, self-starter with strong social intelligence and writing skills ready to challenge the status quo.” 

You should care about your Personal Brand – whether or not you are working.  Jeremy Goldman notes:  “beyond pure economic necessity, many workers are choosing to stay in the labor force rather than retire, finding that staying active makes them feel more fulfilled later in life. As a result, the older generation is competing with people who are up to four or five decades younger, which makes reinventing your professional identity from time to time a necessity, not a luxury.”

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/45657?searchField=All&sortBy=relevance&ft=retirement&offset=0&rpp=20&pos=3

Poem on Retirement by Song Ke (Chinese, 1327–1387)

Workplace competition aside, if you are no longer working or nearing retirement, your Personal Brand is possibly more important now than ever.  Go Tell it to the Mountain novelist James Baldwin once wrote:  An identity would seem to be arrived at by the way in which a person faces and uses his experience.  I like this way of thinking about how you can identify your unique value, interests and self-expression in post-retirement.  There is no reason not to use your Personal Brand for a foundation for the rest of your life.

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