“When people use the term retired, I prefer to use the term refired. I’ve refired myself, not in the sense of termination. I just have a new fire for what I do. I’m out to change the world.”
Russ Minary has lived a varied work life. He studied anthropology and art history in college but did not continue to graduation when he realized that these interests were not likely to lead to a financially viable career. An expert in martial arts, he worked as a bouncer and bodyguard for Denver’s iconic Feyline Productions, where he once spent three days with Robin Williams.
Russ became a car salesman and a sales manager. In the 1990s, frustrated by his repeated failures to hire the right people for positions in service and sales, he discovered job-fit assessments. “I had hired a lot of people for various roles, customer service, sales, etc., and I would get really excited because I would think that this person was going to be fabulous, and then they weren’t fabulous. I mean I did everything I could to properly vet an individual, I would ask all the right questions, look at their resume, did a good interview, all that kind of stuff and I’d hire them, and it just baffled me why they failed to succeed in this position.”
Russ met organizational psychologist Dr. Roger Birkman, creator of the Birkman Method, one of the early computer-based psychological career and job fit assessment systems. At that time, Dr. Birkman was in his 80’s and still very active in his career. Russ subsequently became involved with the assessment company Profiles International, and along with Randy Austad developed another career assessment tool, The Call, for Focus on the Family. He summarizes “What got me interested in assessment stuff is I wanted to do a better job for me, for the clients I was working with, and for the people who were being hired. That’s what launched me at that.”
Russ’s interest and expertise in the use of these assessments have been a theme throughout most of the rest of his work life. He was head of sales for Career Track. He was co-founder of Creative Alliance, a firm that helped catalog and direct sales companies increase their marketing effectiveness. He was a founder of Cellular Solutions, the first aftermarket product seller for the cell phone industry. He later served as the first executive director for a private foundation established by Joseph, Jr. and Gail Coors.
While Russ is a person who transcends work labels, I would venture the closest description of his current work would be mostly retired business consultant. When he worked full time in this most recent career, he would have 5 to 10 active clients at a time. Today he has one client, a foundation searching for a new executive director. A 2019 bout with two types of cancer has brought increased focus to his life mission. “I’m officially retired. I still work for clients I like and who pay me.”
He continues, “When people use the term retired, I prefer to use the term refired. I’ve refired myself, not in the sense of termination. I just have a new fire for what I do. I’m out to change the world. I’m interested in working with people who want to change the world, who have the ability to think not just outside the box, but who have the attitude to say ‘What box? I don’t acknowledge the box!’. I want to look at things with fresh new ideas. That’s where I’m at right now with my career. It’s not a career, it’s a passion. I’m willing to take my God-given gifts and apply them in such a way that it helps change people and as a result the world.”
“I’m a follower of Jesus Christ with a Biblical worldview. I believe that we were created to work. I believe that we need to have a role, a purpose. Most people today, especially men, you ask them ‘What do you do?’ and they describe their job, 80 or 90% of their answer. It should be 50%. I am a husband, a father, a grandfather, a minister of the Gospel, and ambassador of Christ, somebody who likes to help others have a better life, and I like to have fun. Here’s why: In 2019 I had two forms of cancer, skin, and prostate. Every single day is a blessing. God only gives them to you one day at a time, so you need to enjoy this one.”
I ask Russ what he plans to do in the next 1–3 years. “I plan to spend time with my kids and grandkids now that the world has freed up [from COVID]. Other than that, I’ll keep my dance card open.” Russ was an original member and founder of a 6 am men’s Bible study with John Bandimere, Jr., the head of Bandimere Speedway in Denver, and now meets weekly with men in his neighborhood for weekly Bible study. “I’ve gotten pretty good at leading and being part of men’s Bible studies. Discipleship is one of my priorities. To lead people to Christ and disciple them.”
This interaction with Russ Minary has given me a lot to think about. Like many great marketers and influencers, Russ as the ability to simplify and distill complex ideas and problems into simple actionable ideas.
Russ Minary and I are close to the same age. Our careers, though in different industries, are very similar. Russ speaks of being “refired.” I like that. I speak of being semi-retired: retired from most of the work activities that annoy me (by delegating them to my staff), while focusing on the work activities I find interesting and exciting, and getting more done in less time at work. The better I do this, the more energized and refired I get.
Here are some questions I will be asking myself, based on this interview:
· When someone asks you ‘What do you do?’, how do you answer? Is it just work?
· What matters more than work, to you?
· What matters more than money, to you?
· Who matters more than money or work, to you?
· Are they getting the necessary amount of your time to thrive optimally?
· If you had a health scare this year, something that might kill you but left you in good shape, is there anything you would do differently? Would work get more, or less, time?
· What job functions, if they got more time, would be energizing and fun for you? What functions should be delegated to someone better suited?
If you have career choice concerns, Mr. Minary currently recommends the assessment at www.jobtomize.com. He says “Jobtomize helps both individuals and businesses make better career and hiring decisions, and it is FREE.”
Do you know someone who is working or volunteering past age 65? I would love to meet them! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org