Friday, October 28, 2011

The Retirement Syndrome: The Psychology of Letting it Go

This article by Manfred F. R. Kets De Vries analyzes a problem that can be described as the retirement syndrome. In exploring the difficulties many leaders face in letting go at the end of a full career, it reviews a number of the barriers to exit: financial, social, and psychological. It looks at the physical and psychological effects of aging, in the context of retirement; examines the experience of nothingness that single-minded careerists often feel after retirement; describes the talion principle, a subliminal fear of reprisals; and discusses the "edifice complex", the wish to leave behind a legacy. The article concludes with suggestions as to how individuals and organizations can develop more effective and humane disengagement strategies.

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About Author

Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries brings a different view to the much-studied subjects of leadership
and the dynamics of individual and organizational change. Bringing to bear his knowledge and
experience of economics (Econ. Drs., University of Amsterdam), management (ITP, M.B.A., and
D.B.A., Harvard Business School), and psychoanalysis (Canadian Psychoanalytic
Society and the International Psychoanalytic Association), he scrutinizes the interface between
international management, psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and dynamic psychiatry

The Retirement Syndrom: The Psychology of Letting it Go


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