Pleased initially simply to have avoided the cut on being an ‘ older’ psychiatrist (Mears et al, Psychiatric Bulletin, 2004, 28, 130-132), I reflect that past 45, I enjoy my job, have a great team of colleagues and rarely complain about my income - only my outgoings. Having left two consultant posts behind me (happily filled), I hope to train somebody to jump aboard when I shuffle off at 55 or 56. This may be too early to retire from life, but as the old joke observes, nobody lies on his deathbed mourning that they hadn't spent more time in the office. Unless the world is turned upside down, there will be no shortage of part-time, locum, medico-legal and private work to do should I wish to continue as a psychiatrist. If I’m spared, I might prefer a life change.
The average age of the sample was 56, so it is unsurprising that those still registered and compos mentis were still working. I wonder how many of the sample with mental health officer status planned to work beyond the point at which they achieve maximum pension? Nobody I know has stayed more than a year or two. If appearances are anything to go by, most of them look 10 years younger within months of retirement. I will be surprised if your columns are full of post-retirement psychiatrists bemoaning their premature trips to the sun: they’ll all be too busy to write.