Sunday, January 7, 2018

Working Again

     I saw an old colleague from work at a holiday party a week or so ago  -- the last of my friends who is still working full time. He came up to me, drink in hand, and we made some polite conversation, and then he told me he had a job for me, if I wanted it.

     He is 69 years old. And so after dodging the question for a few moments I asked him, "So, when are you going to retire?"

     "Oh, I don't know," he shrugged. "The job keeps me busy; and besides, the money comes in handy."

     His wife, who's about his same age, maybe a year younger, is also still working. They have only one child, a grown daughter who is married with a job of her own. So I don't get it.. He can't need the money. Some people must just be built to go to work.

     Then the day before yesterday the job came in -- and of course, I said I'd do it. (Okay, I get the irony . . . I'm the guy who can't stop working, either.)

     But at least the work I'll be doing is nothing permanent. It's an assignment that will take about a month to complete -- and what else am I going to be doing with several inches of snow on the ground and the thermometer reading, literally, -3 degrees this morning?

     Besides, we all know that retirement is not necessarily an all-or-nothing proposition. And neither is financial independence. And even retirees who are truly financially independent, the experts tell us, need to find pursuits that engage their interests.

     Nobody can expect to be happy sitting in front of the TV for the rest of their lives -- especially at this time of year if you're not a football or basketball fan. We need activities that stimulate our imagination, connect us to other people, and help us develop a commitment to something more than our own self-interest.

     I do enjoy working, now and then, because it gives me some focused activity; it brings in a little money; and it makes me feel good to be engaged in a project that's important enough for someone to actually pay me for it. A job takes me out of myself, and makes me feel like I'm worth something beyond my own little life and my own family.

When do I get to retire?
     I've been freelancing and consulting for more than ten years now. But honestly, in the last year or two, the work has been drying up. I think there's probably plenty of work out there, if I was willing to go out and get it. But now that I've actually gone ahead and applied for my Social Security benefit (which I won't see until the third week in February at the earliest), I don't feel as if I still have to be beating the bushes, pounding the pavement, networking and cold calling people in order to find a job.

     But now one comes along, and I can do it mostly on my own terms. I have the time to spare since B and I have completed our move, and at least the first phase of our home renovation is over. I am leaving for Florida in a week; but this is the type of job I can take with me and do on the road, working on my computer.

     Besides, I could use the change of pace, as well as the few thousand dollars I'll get for a month of employment. So I'll be working for a few weeks, and may be posting less often. Somehow I think the blogosphere will survive my partial absence.

     See you around . . . and if I'm looking a little frazzled, it's because I'll be blogging in my off hours, with my other eye on the paycheck being dangled in front of my nose.

18 comments:

DJan said...

After I retired, a decade ago now, I reluctantly took on two temporary assignments and it was enough to tell me I am definitely done with work. I can barely find the time to keep up with my commitments here without it! Good on you for taking on the job, Tom. I'm sure you'll enjoy it. :-)

Rian said...

I think occasional or part-time work suits some people well in retirement. It seems to help ease the transition... and the money is always a boon! It's probably the one thing that bothers me about retirement (and I love it for the most part) - the fixed income part. There are times when 'a little extra' would come in handy. So I say, go for it... and enjoy the fact that it is a choice.

Jennifer Koshak said...

I remember when my father retired back in the 1980's, he had a whole to-do list that he thought would keep him going for a bit. The list was every house project he'd been putting off for the last few years and he completed the list in three months. After three months, he found a part-time job.

Anonymous said...

My brother in law is still teaching high school at age 71. He has no plans to quit, and the students love him. My DH retired in April, and did a two-week consulting gig already. He may be asked back in the spring. It puts extra money in our travel fund, but he can take it or leave it.

Sheila

gigihawaii said...

You have only one life. Enjoy it.

Barbara said...

I think any kind of part-time work in retirement is perfect and yes, it does keep the bank account freshly filled.

Sue Loncaric said...

We all need a purpose in our day when we retire. For some that might be nothing to do with working but a hobby or other interest. For some of us, I believe we need to have some kind of work in our life but to remember that we are retired so it needs to be on our terms.

retirementallychallenged.com said...

Good for you! I have no desire to work (or maybe that perfect job just hasn't been offered to me yet) but I can understand why someone might want to... especially with all that snow keeping you inside anyway. We'll miss you in the blogosphere for a while, but I'm sure you'll be collecting a few post ideas along with your paycheck.

Jono said...

I plan on going until I'm 70. The wife is older than that and works about 1/2 time as a bookkeeper for a few small businesses. She likes it and the income is handy. Who am I to tell her to stop?

retirementreflections said...

Congratulations on your new (temporary) position, Tom. I agree that variety is the spice of life. Please don't forget about us in the blogosphere though. I love your posts!

Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com said...

Hi Tom! I'm not at all surprised that you are "wanted" in a work field. I am just finishing up the book, "The Longevity Economy" that reminds me that us baby boomers and even older have LOTS to offer and that the world is better off when we all continue to share and offer the experience, expertise and knowledge that we hold with the world. We are far too valuable just to sit back and do nothing for the rest of our lives and the good thing is that we have more options that we usually consider. Good for you. Do what you want and take advantage of the choice! And yeah, most of us will be waiting for your words of wisdom here on the net when you return. ~Kathy

Carol Cassara said...

Like you, I just can't sit around. I wish I could, but no....have fun!

Still the Lucky Few said...

Having variety is all part of a successful retirement. It sounds as if this is temporary, and it shouldn't take over your life. Good for you for contributing to the economy, and staying active and involved!

Bob Lowry said...

I was so done with my career when I shut down my consulting business 17 years ago (really?). But, that didn't prevent the itch to keep myself involved and make some walking around money. I did some tour guide work for a few years, enjoyed it until I didn't, and then hung up my working spurs. Except for the little bit that trickles in from my blog, I am content to leave that part of my life in the rear view mirror.

That said, I do understand the satisfaction that people get from working, either full or part time. The freedom to do either is a blessing. Have fun, Tom.

Rebecca Olkowski said...

I think it's great that you keep busy and having extra money is always good. There's nothing worse than a man sitting around in his bathrobe all day with nothing to do. LOL

Anonymous said...

I agree that an occasional or part time job can be a good thing for those of us who are retired. However, I have learned to consider the tax effects as the small amount of income from my last very part-time job pushed me into a higher tax bracket--higher taxes on all my income. That won't matter in Pennsylvania or other states that don't tax retirement income.
Arlene

Sally Wessely said...

Good for you. I couldn’t agree with you more about working once in a while during retirement. I still think about doing a little work here or there, but the last teaching gig I had nearly did me in after only a week.

My husband continues to work 20 hours a week after retiring from putting in over 40 years in education. He loves working at the Apple store. He loves the way it challenges his brain, keeps him involved with people, giving him purpose, allows him to buy toys (technology), and he likes the money. He is one of those who may never really retire. He is 74 years old. He keeps saying he wants to go five more years. Knowing him, he probably will.

Caree Risover said...

A former lawyer who retired early, I jumped at the opportunity to act as Parish Clerk for our village. It's only 10 hours a month, dreadfully badly paid but it makes use of all my pedantic skills and talents (!) and I love it, although the bonus (as with your assignment) is that for much of the time I can work on my laptop from anywhere.