From boardroom to boredom


Did you see the 2015 movie “The Intern” featuring Robert De Niro? Well, if not, let me sum it up for you and I will get to my point.

Seventy-year-old widower Ben Whittaker (played by Robert De Niro), a retired executive from a phone directory company, applies to a senior citizen intern program after retirement has become too boring for him. The company in Brooklyn he applies to is a fast-growing e-commerce fashion startup, whose founder and CEO has agreed to a community outreach program through which seniors would be hired. Ben impresses everyone and is one of four hired.

So De Niro in the film went back to the corporate setting seeking fulfillment in his retirement years. Does that mean you should do the same? Not necessarily, although mandatory retirement in Ontario no longer exists. However, you may wish to set up office at home and start that business on the side that you never had the time to before.

In an earlier blog post I talked about my penchant for home renovation. Through my renovation projects I have developed an interest in pursuing a second career in home inspection.

Of course, to do this, will require a home office set up. Here are some things to consider if you want to set up a home office too:

  • Find a suitable space at home for the office—ideally this should be a dedicated space or room cut off from the noise of your household. However, if a separate room is not possible, consider a room divider that will at least allow a degree of separation and privacy.


  • Decide the needs of your business and your office. Consider the technology requirements (computer, printer, scanner, ergonomically correct chair, desk, filing cabinet…). Will you be meeting clients in your office? If so, that will require more space, seating and possibly another table.
  • Consider your home office budget. It may be more appropriate to lease office items than purchase them, or buy them second hand.
  • Decorate your office to suit your taste and reflect a professional, polished appearance. You may consider hanging your diplomas or degrees on the wall. Consider a bookcase for all the books and reference materials. Add some plants, an area rug and some art for flair.
  • Set up a storage system for your files. Scanning information will reduce your need for hard copies, but be sure to back up your system.
  • Let your family members know the rules of the office and when/when not to approach the space, cause noise or interrupt your office time.

If you work out of your home, you may be able to deduct a portion of your home office expenses. However, there are a number of rules, and the rules differ depending on whether you’re self-employed or an employee.