For many people, becoming a successful CEO is a dream come true. It’s the result of decades of hard work, countless hours of shrewd negotiations, and an evolving understanding of how business works. But now you’re in charge, and if you make the company money, you’ll be chief executive for years to come.
Now you look back on a very successful career culminating with a cushy corner office, access to the corporate jet, and end-of-year bonuses amounting to more than you were making in a year for the majority of your working life. Now what? The only thing to look forward to – in theory – is the day you retire. But nobody makes it to the executive level by looking forward to having plenty of free time. You got to where you are today because you never backed away from a challenge and always looked for the next big mountain to conquer. Retirement sounds less like a reward and more like a punishment.
Fortunately, those ending their tenure at the top of the corporate ladder don’t have to settle for fading away into obscurity. You can do many wonderful things once your days of running a company are over. Don’t believe it? Fair enough. We figured you’d be doubtful. That’s why we’ve provided five prime examples:
Universities are always looking for professors with real-world experience in specific professions. Those with executive-level experience are a shoo-in for business schools across the country. If you’re a current or former CEO, you should have no problem finding work as an adjunct professor at one of the many respected higher education facilities located across the country. Thanks to the rise of online learning, you can even teach the next generation of business leaders from home.#
Corporations are always trying to do the right thing. But the need to make a profit every quarter seems to always get in the way. With this in mind, starting a nonprofit is a great way for ex-CEOs to exercise their executive drive without worrying so much about the bottom line. While hiring employees for a nonprofit organization and other aspects will be a little different compared to what you’re used to, the bulk of your responsibilities will be the same as if you were running a Fortune 500 company. Name your cause, and you can launch a nonprofit devoted to it.
Being a CEO for several years has its perks. Among them, the likelihood you’ll walk away far wealthier than you were before landing that executive position. If you’re sitting on a large pile of cash, consider becoming an angel investor. Scouring the business world for a diamond in the rough and using your wealth to propel it to success is an attractive prospect for most business-savvy individuals. While you might not always succeed at making a profit, that’s a secondary concern. You want to continue to be involved in running a business, and becoming an angel investor is a great way to do that without getting bogged down by the stress and anxiety of an executive role.
After years at the helm of a major company – where the fate of hundreds or thousands of workers and untold numbers of customers hang in the balance – wouldn’t it be nice to downsize? If you’re tired of running a massive organization but would miss being a business leader, consider starting a small business. Maybe you always wondered what it’d be like to run a corner pub in your neighborhood or have a family recipe for donuts you’ve always thought had the potential for mass appeal. Sinking some savings into a modest little enterprise could be just the trick for those ready to give up the high-stakes world of running a major company but can’t bear the thought of being without any kind of business to lead.
As someone with executive-level experience, you probably have a strong opinion about consultants. While there’s a chance you hold them in high regard, odds are you view them as charlatans with little to nothing to offer private enterprise. If you think that way, wouldn’t the answer be to have more consultants with real-world experience and practical insights? Well…what about you? Former CEOs make for excellent business consultants. It can be a part-time gig or a full-time endeavor, making it ideal for those unsure of what to do going forward but interested in having something there to provide structure and purpose.
Reaching the altitude of executive management is the endgame for most business professionals. But once you’ve made it to the top level, what comes next? Retiring to some sleepy island and taking it easy for the rest of your life may sound alluring at first, but likely to drive you mad before long. Finding something to do that is fulfilling and engaging may be the answer.