Do you ever find yourself counting the days until you can retire? I remember times I hated what I was doing but had no choice but to persevere, take it on the chin, grin and bear it, you know the drill. The promise of a day when I would be free from my toils shined brightly in my mind. Oh to do what I wanted when I wanted, answering to no one, no longer just existing and calling it a life but instead really living. I looked forward to retiring.
And once I got there although a bit ahead of schedule it was good. I never missed work. I kept myself busy with hobbies – old and new. I exercised, gardened, read, played piano, blogged, and when the mood hit me napped.
Then one day all those activities and interests that had filled my days began to feel a bit less interesting. The nice routine that kept me occupied until just about happy hour each day began to feel a little old, boring even.
It’s not that my retirement was a failure, but more it needed a kick in the pants, a little fine tuning to be all it could be.
My salvation came when the owner of a nearby (like one mile away from home) winery called and asked if I would like to join them pouring their lovely Pinots and Chardonnays. Prior to “the call” my wife and I had been members of their wine club for about two years. We explored all of the local tasting rooms (how about 24 in a half-mile radius) and settled on Mercy as our favorite. Not only were the wines amazing but the owners and fellow wine club members were great – fun to spend time with and never a dull moment. These days I walk to “work” three days a week where for five hours I share wonderful wines with wonderful visitors from all over the world.
When I left the working world I had no plans of ever returning to work – not one, ever. Live free, stay free was the way I saw Dave experiencing his golden years.
But I realized I was not limited to doing the same thing I had during my career. There were many avenues to explore, many alternatives to what I had done. I can honestly say I never saw myself pouring wine at a tasting room. But now that I am here I love it.
My wife recently tested the retirement waters for the first time. She lasted about six months. Sure she enjoyed no commute and no job stress. But she quickly felt she was wasting her time. She likes to get things done, to feel productive. Her solution was to sign on with a temp agency. They find part time opportunities across a variety of local companies. My wife enjoys moving from place to place where she meets new people and gets to explore different roles. When one gig is done she is available for the next. Her only challenge is she is so good at what she does the companies want to hire her full time. Even if tempting, I remind her retirement is her top priority. We are in this together!
Some are blessed to find themselves immersed in a career they love. Imagine looking forward to each day on the job rather than dreading the harsh alarm clock ringing in another trip to the grind. For those who love what they do there are seldom thoughts of retirement. My folks worked with the same estate planner for the past 40 years. He genuinely loves what he does describing his role as helping others prepare for a more secure future. Staying current with the changes in laws and regulations keeps his mind sharp. Although he has reached “the right age” he has no plans to retire anytime soon. Why search for something to replace what you already love?
If you consider adding a part time job to your retirement here are a few takeaways from my personal experiences:
Be picky – this time you get to choose where you work. Make sure you are doing what you like.
If at first you don’t succeed… should your part time gig fall short of expectations you can always exit and try something else.
Think outside the box – your retirement career does not have to be related to your earlier career. Take a look at everything out there. This time you get to follow your heart rather than your wallet.
Stay engaged – when you leave your job behind, you also leave the people you interacted with. I believe staying socially engaged is critical to a happy retirement. Good moments are even better when shared. And bad moments can feel less daunting with the support of others.
Set your own schedule – you’re not working full time so arrange things according to your wants and needs. I find Thursday/Saturday/Sunday works quite well.
Have fun – why else work if you don’t have to?
Part time work has been a wonderful addition to our retirement. We engage with people, learn new things, get out of the house and even make a few bucks. But our real job is being retired. That is the career we are committed to and happily pursue each day.