Retirement Rule No. 1-Change Is Constant

July 1, 2022

I remember when I first arrived in Korea in 1986. I was a young lawyer, the first foreign lawyer to work in-house for Samsung. It was an exciting time as Korea and Samsung were rapidly changing. Samsung was expanding rapidly and Korea was in the midst of the “Miracle on the Han”. It seemed that we were creating companies left and right. The Samsung group was expanding and I was a part of it. A little cement and water and we had a new company! Growth was everywhere. Not only growth but change as well. I really didn’t think about it but Korean society was changing too. In fact, I realize now that change is constant, even in retirement.

The fact that there is change even in retirement was brought home to me recently. When I first came to Korea in 1986 I went mountain climbing with my Samsung colleagues. We climbed Mt. Soraksan. Upon climbing up one of the peaks I discovered an old lady who had climbed up with a bucket of magkeoli ( Korean rice wine) to sell to thirsty climbers. I was amazed she had made it to the top to sell magkeoli but later found this to be a common occurrence in Korea. If I recall correctly, the old lady had on high heels too. I would later joke to my friends that once I retired I was going to sell magkeoli on Soraksan. Recently, I made it back to Soraksan and to the top of one of the peaks. I expected to see an old lady selling magkeoli…but no. No one was selling alcohol at all. Why? Selling alcohol had been banned. Things have changed.

Obviously, not only people but companies and organizations have to realize that change is everywhere and must plan for it. They have to be ready to handle the usual legal and risk issues that they normally face as well as those issues and liabilities caused by the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine as well as supply chain issues. Change means of course that the normal areas of risk whether legal, operational, geo-political or financial will all of course have to be dealt with. Therefore, a company’s crisis management plan must consider pandemics such as Covid. But also, the normal everyday areas of risk that can and will result in loss of business must be addressed as well.

So, even in retirement, I have noticed changes around me. Customs change. Even laws, rules, and regulations governing our lives change. Cities and neighborhoods change as well. Whether you are working or retired, you cannot count on your life to be static as usual. Life is really never as usual. There really is no same old same old. Everything around us changes, maybe slowly and maybe slightly, but it changes. You may be too caught up in work or in life to notice the subtle changes around you. But change is everywhere if you look. Are you ready for change?

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