Sense & Sensitivity

Retiring Reader Also Wants to Quit Nonprofit Boards

DEAR HARRIETTE: I serve on several not-for-profit boards and have enjoyed myself immensely as I have helped these organizations do good work. I am now 65 years old and retiring from my job. I think it is time to retire from my boards as well. I don’t have the same kind of energy that I once had, and I think that it would be nice to slow down from so many responsibilities. I have made my thoughts known to the boards, and they all are begging me to stay. Their argument is that I will have so much time on my hands I will be bored. That could be true, but I have other plans. I don’t want to let them down, but I also want some time off. Do you have a recommendation for how I should plan out my imminent retirement? -- Next Steps, Washington, D.C.

DEAR NEXT STEPS: Your boards have a point. Walking away from all your responsibilities could indeed be boring as you have filled your life with so much work for so long. What you may want to do is look critically at each board and consider which you might remain on if you were to choose only one. Consider the amount of work that you would need to do compared to the energy you would feel comfortable giving. Resign from the others, and then see how it goes with the one board. If you still feel that you want to resign, do so. Know that you probably will have to wait to leave any boards until your term is up. Sometimes you also have to wait until you are replaced. Figure that out, too.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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