Four years ago today I swiped my FCA badge for the last time, walked out the door, took a deep breath and realized, “Crap! I have no income…but on the upside, plenty of free time.” Or so I thought.
Yes, we all look forward to retirement and I was lucky enough to pull it off at the tender age of 64. But as it turns out, I didn’t retire to a life of golf, traveling, learning needlepoint or getting fat sucking down beers on the back deck. Let’s be clear, I DO suck down beers on the back deck, but with moderation and only by alternating sensibly with the much less fattening Jack Daniels on the rocks.
What I really retired from was office life, corporate nonsense and spending too much of my little time on Earth in a glass, enclosed office, that some believed denoted a “senior management” status, but to me represented the same confinement an unfortunate puppy would suffer in the window of a pet shop. Yes..some idiots would occasionally tap my window to get my attention. I only wish I could have emulated a puppy’s freedom to respond by lifting my leg and completing the task.
I managed to be fully retire for three months before accepting a part-time job returning to journalism after an 11 year break in corporate communications. It was an OK job and helped me transition back to the career that will always be my first love. That little job lasted just under two years and ended at exactly the right time. Thanks to my great network, when I posted that news on Linkedin, two amazing opportunities were presented to me within 48 hours….and I took them both–as a senior contributor to Forbes.com and as an integrated media consultant for Franco PR–both prestigious organizations and a chance to use my skills on both sides of the fence. I recently took on another very part-time freelance gig ghost writing for executives at a financial services company.
Perhaps one day I’ll retire completely but why would I? As I tell anyone who will listen, the greatest joy of journalism is that you get to learn something new with every story you cover and then have the enviable task of telling people about it. The work on do on the PR side is equally rewarding since I’m able to use my experience on both sides of the equation to help educate and support my younger colleagues.
Amazingly, I still have tons of free time to spend with my family, go paddling, biking, hiking, desecrating my beloved 12-string Rickenbacker and yes, enjoying an array of satisfying beverages on the back deck…with sensible snacks, of course.