Sunday, September 28, 2014

Maybe I don't want to retire

I just turned 60.  Since I turned 55, internet ads, spam, and snail mail have been full of tips about how to retire.  And I had generally expected that one day I would be able to retire.  Not for a while, but eventually.

I didn't consider whether I actually wanted to retire.  When Joan Rivers died, lots of attention was given to the fact that at 81 she was as busy as ever.  She had no desire to retire when she was already doing what she loved.

Retirement started out as a way to get old employees who could no longer handle the physical labor to get out of the way of new and younger employees.

Well, I work with my mind.  As long as I can think and can type, I'm good.   And when I started with the company, they had a 78-year-old developer.  Obviously, the company isn't averse to older employees.

I sat down to consider what I would gain if I retired?  What do I want to do when I retire?

Read?  I do that now.  I could read more, but I already read a book a week.

Travel?  I could do that now.  I don't because I don't like to leave my fur babies behind.  So logically, travel isn't that important to me.

Sleep in?  I can set my own hours now.  I don't sleep in because I don't like the later morning traffic.

Volunteer?  Sure, I could do more, but Bogie and I volunteer now.

So far, there isn't an overriding reason to retire.

What would I lose if I retired?  Well, income, of course.  But more importantly, the interaction with people and the challenges that keep my mind sharp.  I look forward to my weekends because they are different than my weekdays.

For now, I think my focus isn't going to be on retirement.  It's going to be on enjoying my job for as long as I can.

Update -
Apparently I'm not the only one not hurrying to retirement.  Washington Post

Saturday, September 13, 2014

inadequate career counseling.

I like my job.  I'm a software engineer.  I've been either in development or quality assurance for the past 15 years.  I keep going from one to the other.  Right now I'm in QA, but mostly writing code.

It's a good fit for me.  It's creative, challenging, educational, and satisfying.

I stumbled into this line of work.

Computer engineer was not a path suggested to me in high school career counseling.  The idea that computers would be a viable career hadn't been accepted yet. And would probably not have been recommended to a girl, anyway.

But there were a lot of other things that weren't offered to me in career counseling.

I didn't know that Linguistics was a profession.  That might have been cool. I did well in Spanish class.  But I didn't even know the job existed.

I didn't know that I could have become an archaeologist, a museum curator, a genealogist. Maybe I could have been a private investigator, or a spy for the CIA. (No, too nervous.) 

Writer was suggested, since my Dad was a writer.  But I knew I didn't want to be a free-lance writer.
The pay was sporadic at best.  I knew I couldn't live like that.

The only jobs my school counselor suggested were doctor, lawyer, or teacher.  Things might have been different if I had been aware of all the options there were.

I don't know if she saw no potential in me, or if she lacked imagination.  Did living in the middle of Iowa corn country seem to limit my options?  We're talking 1972, so maybe she thought my true calling was simply wife and mother?

That said, I haven't suffered from the oversight.  I've had an interesting life with a variety of jobs and it has brought me here to a happy place.

Still, there is a little bit of me that says, What if I had known about that?  Where would I be now?  Would I be just as happy?

Why didn't someone tell me?