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  • Heather McDorman

Finding Purpose and Joy In a Part-Time Job as a Retiree

Older woman holding a box of strawberries at her job.

Retirement is often seen as a time to relax and enjoy life without the pressures of work. However, for many retirees, the absence of daily responsibilities can lead to a sense of aimlessness or, at least, boredom.


I can’t say I felt aimless, but, in my first two years of retirement, I did experience boredom from time to time. I would go to lunch with friends. I’d tackle a house project now and then. I traveled a little. I took part in occasional volunteer opportunities. Still, I found there was plenty of time left in most weeks to fit in something more.


After having dinner with the hubby at a local family restaurant, we passed by our hometown Hallmark which was displaying an “Accepting Applications” banner. It seemed to be kismet – since a clerk job at a Hallmark store had long been my dream retirement job – that is, if I ever decided to seek a part-time job once my official career had come to a close.


Within a few days, I was hired and getting trained!


This new chapter – as a part-time associate at Hallmark – has brought with it several blessings. As my one-year anniversary approaches in just weeks, it’s meaningful to reflect at how it has benefitted my day-to-day life and how it might do the same for others considering a part-time job after retirement.


Benefits of My Part-Time Job

Smiling woman working at a bakery

The impact of my part-time job has been valuable and multifaceted:


  • Getting Up Out of Bed and Off the Couch – Before taking this job, many of my days often began late and lacked direction. Now, a couple times a week, I have a reason to rise early, get dressed, and start my day with purpose. This simple routine has significantly boosted my energy level.

  • Gaining Structure for the Week – In retirement, every day can feel like the weekend, which can sometimes lead to a lack of routine. My part-time job provided a much-needed structure to my week, making my days more productive and my days off that much more special.

  • Getting Your Body Moving – Working at the Hallmark can involve a surprising amount of physical activity. From organizing displays, stocking cards, restocking gift items, straightening up, pricing items, and – most importantly – helping customers, I'm constantly on the move. This regular activity has helped me “get my steps” and avoid a sedentary lifestyle that retirement can sometimes bring.

  • Using Your Brain – Engaging with customers, opening and closing the store, and learning about new products keeps my brain active. This mental stimulation is incredibly rewarding and helps me keep my brain active.

  • Pocket Change – While the pay isn't substantial and certainly not my motivation, having some extra income is always nice. I’ve decided to create my own little travel nest egg. It’s fun to see my little, separate bank account grow. Don’t tell me husband – but I’m saving up for a trip for two to celebrate his retirement when that special day comes!

  • Discount/Other Benefits – One of the perks of working at the store is the employee discount. I've saved quite a bit on gifts, Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments, and, of course, greeting cards (I love to send cards!). These perks make the job even more enjoyable and rewarding.

  • Social Interactions – One of the most valuable aspects of my job is the social interaction. I've met wonderful colleagues and interesting customers. We have so many loyal customers whom we get to know and celebrate their milestones with.  The social engagement has enriched my life and helped fend off any isolation that can come with retirement.

  • Giving You Purpose – Perhaps the most significant benefit is the sense of purpose it provides. Knowing that I'm contributing, helping customers, and being part of a community is incredibly fulfilling. It's more than just a job – it's one more thing that gives my days meaning and makes me feel valued.


Tips on Finding the Right Job for You

Smiling woman working with a man at a plant shop

Finding a job that suits your needs as a retiree is important. Here are some tips that helped me:


  • Find a Company You Like or Product You Enjoy – Choose a place that aligns with your interests. If you enjoy what the company does or sells, your work will feel less like a chore and more like a passion.

  • Make Sure It Offers Hours You Want or Need – Flexibility is key in retirement. It was important to me that I still had days in the week to enjoy retirement. Ensure the job fits your desired schedule, whether you prefer morning shifts, part-time hours, or specific days off.

  • Does It Include the Level of Responsibility You Are Comfortable With – Assess the job’s responsibilities. Ensure they match your skills and comfort level. You want a job that challenges you but doesn't overwhelm you. After all, you are retired!


How to Get the Job

If you are like me, I hadn’t searched for a job in a long time (I worked at the same college for 32 years). Once you've found the company or organization for you, here’s a refresher on steps to get the part-time gig:


  • Apply – Online or In Person or Both – Submit your application through the preferred method, but don't hesitate to follow up in person. It shows initiative and can make you more memorable.

  • Don’t Be Afraid to Check Back With Them – If you don't hear back right away, follow up. It demonstrates your interest and determination.

  • Send a Thank You Note After an Interview – A thank you note is a small gesture that goes a long way. It shows appreciation and professionalism. (Hallmark is a great place to find thank you notes – when you care to send the very best!)

  • Be Open About What You Are Willing to Do, How Much You’ll Make, Hours – Honesty is crucial. Be clear about your availability, salary expectations, and job responsibilities from the start to avoid future misunderstandings.


If You Want to Leave

Leaving a job, even a part-time one, can be a big step. Remember to do it respectfully:


  • Share News Respectfully – When you decide to leave, inform your employer respectfully and privately. Provide them with ample notice.

  • Work Out Two Weeks – Give a standard two-week notice. It’s professional and gives your employer time to find a replacement.

  • Maintain Quality of Work – Continue to perform your duties diligently during your notice period. This leaves a positive impression and maintains your professional reputation.

  • Never Burn a Bridge – Even if you’re leaving, keep relationships cordial. You never know when you might cross paths with former colleagues or employers again.


Working – If You Want To – Can Be a Game Changer

Four women at work smiling

Finding the right part-time job as a retiree can be a transformative experience, offering numerous benefits beyond a paycheck. It can bring structure, social interaction, and a renewed sense of purpose to your life.


Working with people you like, in an atmosphere free from work politics and pressure, and for a company or organization that is meaningful to you, can reap tangible and intangible rewards. If you are retired and are considering this step, I encourage you to give it a try! Or have you already dipped your toe back into the workforce? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments!


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~ Heather M. and Jodi B.


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1 Comment

Jun 07

Great Post! Clarice S.

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