Roman had spent his career in corporate leadership positions. Now in his early sixties, he had been with his company for over a decade, longer than any of his previous employers. While on occasion he thought about making one more change, he thought he would retire from his company in three to five years.

Roman’s life changed when his wife Anne was diagnosed with a debilitating illness. Over recent years the illness had made it increasingly difficult for her to work and to travel in the ways they had enjoyed. Roman and Anne had always been a two-career couple and they were adjusting to this change.

A year later Roman’s life was about to change again. He was suddenly let go from his position. For the first time in his adult life, he didn’t have a job. His plans to retire in three to five years were suddenly in jeopardy. He worried that he may not be able to find another position at his age.

His company had provided outplacement assistance when he was let go. Three weeks in, Roman was finding it difficult to focus his energy on finding the next job. It was at this point that Roman reached out for help.

What was important now was to forge a new life together with Anne.

When Roman met with his coach for the first time he described that he was uncertain whether he wanted to continue working, and if he did, how. He wasn’t sure what lay ahead.

Roman and Anne had recently met with their financial planner and knew that Roman didn’t need to immediately find another job. They had put away money and had the financial wherewithal to weather a couple of years, potentially until he retired.

An Unplanned Retirement

Learning how to adapt to unexpected retirement and make it work to your advantage

Together with his coach, Roman embarked on the process of Taking Stock. While he wasn’t ready to retire when he was let go, he also wasn’t ready to jump back into another corporate position.

Roman’s life had changed a lot in the last two years, and he felt he was just now really beginning to look at what that meant. Together, Roman and Anne continued the process of Taking Stock, discussing what the changes meant for them and how their lives would need to change.

Over the next few months, Roman considered various ways he could continue to work in ways that would afford him the flexibility that he now needed. He investigated various contract consulting opportunities and the possibility of starting his own company. Both of which would require extensive travel which would take him away from Anne. This was an important exploration for Roman. He needed to know what was possible before he felt he could decide what to do.

Roman ultimately decided that it was time to let go of his professional career, just as Anne had done before him.

While Roman’s career had come to an end more abruptly and sooner than he had wanted, he came to accept both. What was important now was to forge a new life together with Anne.

A year later, Roman reported that his life was in some ways richer, far beyond what he and Anne could have previously imagined.

Note: To honor confidentiality and protect the privacy of our clients we do not use names and have altered possibly identifying details in this Case Study.

About Perceptive Leaders LLC

Perceptive is a boutique leadership development and professional transitions consulting firm based in Denver, Colorado serving clients in the US and Canada, since 2005. We have worked with over 1,000 senior organizational leaders and accomplished career professionals to help them recognize opportunities for impactful and substantive change and how to realize that transformational change. For more than 15 years, Perceptive has been helping leaders and their teams transform their leadership. For more information, visit

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