I don’t normally attach much significance to a new year. No retrospective of what I accomplished. No resolutions for self-improvement. The past is unchangeable; I prefer to look forward.
But next year is not going to be a normal new year for me. I’ll be experiencing a big transition – retirement. When I graduated college in 1974, retirement was a concept so distant that it was not part of my consciousness. Finding a job and thinking about the direction of my life were the immediate issues.
I did not major in a “career” field. Since I attended a small liberal arts college, few of us graduated in a field that employers lusted after. Unlike most colleges which require students to take certain “basics” for two years, my college was selective enough to enroll only those who didn’t need a repeat of high school. So we had no required courses except for one course each semester called “Core.” Otherwise, we followed the rock band Cream’s dictum: “Do What You Like.”
By the end of my sophomore year, I had completed the courses for a philosophy degree. By the end of my senior year, I had added history and political science. Nevertheless, I did find a job during the 1974-75 recession after a relatively short five months.
The job was with the Grants Department of the City of St. Petersburg, where my college is. My boss was attracted to my three years experience with the student newspaper, where I ended as Editor-in-Chief in my senior year. He wanted to produce a grants newsletter and my journalism background put me ahead of other applicants.
That was the beginning of a 35-year career in government, all of which involved grants except for one job as a county budget coordinator for two years immediately after earning a Master’s in Public Administration. I’ve only had four professional jobs, with my current job accounting for 20 years and the job before that accounting for 10 years.
Those 30 years went by faster than I imagined. It helps to like your job. And what’s not to like about a job that involves travel and a lot of independence?
So 2013 will be transitional year for me. But I’m not waiting for retirement…
I didn’t take any vacation this year and so I’ve got a lot of annual leave (over 300 hours). I’ll be using that to work four days a week. I’ll take Wednesday off so every day is a “Monday” or “Friday.” In April, I’ll work three day a week. I’ll take Tuesday and Thursday off so every work day is “Friday.”
The “current” plan is to retire in mid-July. It had been mid-September, then mid-August. So mid-July may go by the wayside too…. 😉
Everyone I know who has retired has no regrets. I don’t expect to have any.
I can’t imagine an experience I’ve no prior experience with. But you can be sure I’ll let you know about it!
Happy New Year!