One of the most powerful global leaders Pope Benedict XVI has indicated he is retiring as head of the Roman Catholic Church. This is the first time a Catholic pope has left his post in about 600 years. Benedict could become a role model for the awareness to recognize it's time to hang it up.
The Catholic Church has been in a period of crisis since THE BOSTON GLOBE broke the story of clergy sexually abusing children. In addition, there have been ongoing scandals about other forms of clergy misconduct. For example, in Darien, Connecticut the gay pastor of St. John's Church died in prison where he was serving a sentence for embezzling about a million dollars in parish funds for his lavish lifestyle.
Another leader of a Catholic institution has also announced she is is retiring. At my alma mater Seton Hill, Greensburg, Pennsylvania, President JoAnne Boyle has served for a quarter of a century. She is in her late 70s.
On the other hand, News Corp Chief Executive Officer Rupert Murdoch, who is in his 80s, seems to have no intention of turning over the leadership to another generation. Berkshire Hathaway's iconic investment genius Warren Buffett, also in his 80s, seems to be staying put.
Clearly, there are no absolutes on when the work we aging are doing is no longer done best by us. Sometimes we will simply leave that slot and do something else. Other times we will leave professional life entirely.