My First Month of Fridays

In January, I began working only three days a week as part of my transition to retirement.  The main reason for this schedule is to use up 45 vacation days I can’t be paid for if any of it remains when I retire because I was already paid for the maximum (six weeks) when I entered the deferred retirement program in 2010.

But I also think it’s a good idea for both me and my co-workers to become accustomed to my not being around the office. Working every day right up to retirement and then just suddenly disappearing (which a co-worker retiring in March is doing) would be a form of “cold turkey” when gradualism is usually more successful.

I didn’t even consider taking Mondays and Friday off for a four day weekend. What would I do with all that bunched time?

I’m taking Tuesday and Thursday off. That makes every work day a “Friday” since I’ll have the next day off.  Since my workload is coincidentally decreasing as well, I’m not having to work harder to “catch up” on the days I am at work.

And I sure am enjoying partial retirement!  Before my reduced work schedule, my Saturdays were busy because I like to stay home on Sundays.  Now that I have two days during the week to do things, my Saturdays are more laid back.

Taking care of personal business during the week has many obvious advantages. Less traffic.  Easier parking.  Shorter lines.

And there are some discounts to be had.  Many restaurants have special lunch prices but are crowded with working folks between 11:30 and 1:00.  Since I don’t have to get back to work on Tuesday and Thursday I can avoid the hassles of a crowd by taking a late lunch and still get the special price.

Also, I can see a movie for $5 during the week.  I don’t have to worry about finding a good seat; and fewer folks in the theater means a reduced probability of sitting near boisterous types or easily moving if I do encounter them.

We’ve not started grocery shopping during the week yet but plan to start doing so. That should address the “temporarily out of stock” issue I sometimes experience with popular sale items.  I don’t want a rain check; to borrow from the TV commercial, “It’s my sale item and I need it now!”

At home, I like being a little productive without turning my day off into a “work day.”  There’s always some “manly” outside job I can do for about an hour. Recently, I got on the roof and swept off all the pine straw that somehow accumulates even though no pine trees overhang the roof.

I also like to spend some time on “inside” projects, many related to the Internet. The draft of this post was composed on Thursday and I let it “percolate” until Saturday before finalizing it.  I’m webmaster for my high school alumni organization and an alum from the late 40’s sent me a good two dozen student newspapers from those years to scan for the website.

After just a month of Fridays, I know I’m gonna love being fully retired…!


13 responses to “My First Month of Fridays

  1. In 2011 I went through a partial-retirement as you described, and it was great. After I ended work completely I spent about 3-months in a manic burst of activity doing all kinds of things that I had always dreamed of doing “in retirement”, and it was great. After a while – though I am embarrassed to say it – I ended up spending a lot of time just sitting around doing nothing, and that was very unsatisfying. I suppose that I could have fixed that by applying a little effort, but instead I went back to work full-time after about 11-months of “retirement”. I went back to work because a) it was “the perfect job” for me; b) one can always use a little more money, but “having something to do” was also a part of it. I think that the perfect environment is to work maybe 2 or 3 days a week. In my next swing at retirement I will be sure to line up some outside commitments for myself right at the start, even if they are just volunteer gigs.
    Good Luck

    • Fortunately, I’m very comfortable with “leisure.” My high school senior yearbook quote, which I selected, was: “every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler.”

      However, I do have enough interests to keep me occupied for a while, including scanning a lot of travel photos taken before I had a digital camera and converting lots of old rock and classical music LPs to MP3.

      One of those interests will be returning to a “hobby” I had: computer war game “simulations.” In fact, I just bought a simulation of the entire Pacific War. A hex map of the entire Pacific theater (land and sea) at 40 nautical miles per hex and every land combat unit and ship, modeled to their historical characteristics. You decide what types of ships and aircraft historically available to produce in the factories. The 7″ by 4″ instruction manual is 300+ pages.

      I can play opponents by e-mail. Many years ago, I played an older, “slimmer” version of this game with a guy who at the start of the game was a PhD student in history at Johns Hopkins. The game took four years, by which time he had graduated, was teaching in Oregon, and had a son.

  2. Wow, I would for sure have picked Thursday and Friday. Have they named a replacement for you? Not that you could ever be replaced 🙂

    • No replacement but it will likely be one of the folks in one another section in our office whose jobs are “time limited” because their program is funded from non-recurring federal disaster recovery funds from all the hurricanes some years back.

      I’ll have “consulting” opportunities if I want them but I’m thinking the hassles of that are not worth it: reduction in Social Security if I earn too much (about $15,000 now I think it is); tax reporting, etc. If I did anything, it’d be one day training workshops, limited to about 30 folks at $350 each, paid from their federal grant funds as an “administrative cost” for capacity building. I could do this any where in the country since the regs are national and of course my first choice outside Florida is…Vegas! We’ll see…

  3. I used to work four ten-hour days and have Thursdays off. With my companies transitions over the past few years, that’s no longer an option. I sure miss those days off. I know exactly what you mean about weekend days turning into work days. My Saturday or Sunday (or sometimes both) or often so filled with things that I couldn’t get done during the week that I feel like I had no down time.

    I’m glad to see you’re not one of those who is going to be at a loss during the retirement years.

    • We have the 10-hour option and also a 9 1/2 hour option. Between those two, Friday afternoons are very quiet because half the staff is off, which is one of the reasons I work Friday. Even with so many folks gone, I don’t get a lot of calls because the local governments and consultants like to take it easy on Fridays too!

      Maybe you’ll get at least a 9 1/2 hour option in the future…

  4. Must be nice. I think I’m going to do the gradual thing, too, (switch to part time in exactly 19 years and 1 month). I’m told that after years of getting up going to work during the week, you get bored real easy (unless you’ve got money to do a lot of traveling and such).

  5. I meant minus one month, actually minus two months. Very important that I get that right. My birthday is in November.

  6. You hit on some of the cool points. Of the ones you mentioned, I really enjoy doing all business between 10 and 2. There is almost no traffic at all. I rarely go into a retail store on the week end…….ever.
    Traffic is a real bitch in Tampa (and Tallahassee) during rush hours. I’m sure you have calculated the reduced fuel consumption as well. I can go a month on a tank during an average non travel month and that’s with a SUV that I have to nurse to get 22 mpg..Sometimes it means going to Ace instead of Home Depot, but it saves me 20 miles round trip.

    Mostly I enjoy being free to do wtf I want to do when I want to do it.

    • > I enjoy being free to do wtf I want to do when I want to do it

      That’ll of course be the coolest part…! Along with getting money deposited into the bank account each month without working a day that month…

  7. That’ll of course be the coolest part…! Along with getting money deposited into the bank account each month without working a day that month…

    Roger that! AND………….watching a good day on the dow and looking at the IRAs grow without doing anything. Making money with money without having to work(again) is really cool.

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