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Why I haven't ER'd yet
Old 11-23-2013, 08:13 PM   #1
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Why I haven't ER'd yet

I've posted before about my journey. I'm a choral conductor teaching at the University of North Texas, one of the largest (if not the largest) music schools in the world--1600 music students.

While part of my job is administrative--I'm the Chair of the Division of Conducting & Ensembles (one of 8 divisions within the College of Music)--and all that means in dealing with bureaucracy--I still love working with my students.

Just as an example, here's a YouTube video of a recent performance of Monteverdi's amazing and beautiful 1610 Vespers. Besides our students (both instrumental and vocal), we had several faculty playing and five out-of-town guests, including two players from Europe who are among the very best in the world at playing their instruments and music from this period.

It's certainly what keeps me going!

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Old 11-23-2013, 08:25 PM   #2
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Admit that I did not watch the entire video, but congrats for finding personal satisfaction above the bureaucracy of academia.
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Old 11-23-2013, 09:57 PM   #3
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When I lived in Austin (80's) I had a guitar teacher who earned his Masters of Music Instruction (I think that's what his degree is called) at UNT. He was an impressive musician & person.
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Old 11-23-2013, 10:12 PM   #4
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One of my more memorable social outings was getting together a few people and listening to a local college's performance of the full Carmina Burana, with about 70 vocalists and several instrumental pieces. Only set me back a whopping $2. Some of the best bang for the buck I ever had! Besides the incredible music, they even had a pamphlet of the entire performance with both the original German and English lyrics side by side so you could follow along. (and some of those lyrics made even me blush a bit at how....borderline explicit....they sometimes were.



(just some random link on YouTube, not the specific performance I enjoyed).

Truly amazing work.
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Old 11-27-2013, 09:52 PM   #5
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Even if you ER you can still meaningfully participate in music and interact with students. There are lots of opportunities out there for volunteer work. My wife spent over 10 yrs in a community orchestra taught by a music teacher retired from the local high school. He quit a couple of years ago at age 84. Best teacher she ever had.

You just like your job and are not ready to leave. Maybe you should consider the alternatives out there. They could be better than what you have. Heck, even the place your are currently at may keep you on minus the administrative work.
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Old 11-28-2013, 02:10 PM   #6
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You just like your job and are not ready to leave.
No shame in that!

In such circumstances I wouldn't even consider leaving, unless you find that the time demands are keeping you from doing other things (travel, hobbies, volunteering, spending time with family, etc.) that currently have greater priority. Absent such conflict, there's no need to seek alternatives.
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Old 11-28-2013, 02:17 PM   #7
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What kind of extended neck lute is that?!?!?! Never seen such a thing even in paintings.

OK - I think I found it. Archlute or theorbo used as part of basso continuo - Theorbo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 11-28-2013, 04:10 PM   #8
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when I was in my late teens and early 20s, I played in a dance band and really enjoyed it.

And, all through high school I played in both the band and orchestra. My dance band played teen clubs and weddings.....we were well paid. I've always said being a musician was so much fun I would have played for nothing......I suspect you feel the same way about your position at the University......why early retire? I doubt you would enjoy it as much as working.
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Old 11-29-2013, 06:21 AM   #9
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Thanks for sharing. I would love to have passion and enjoyment with some vocation/activity later in life; probably won't happen but I'm very happy for you and would keep doing it until you are good and ready to stop. One of my most meaningful accomplishments as a parent has been exposing my kids to music (middle child piano and flute, baby plays piano); lots of Christmas music being played in our house.
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Old 11-29-2013, 08:04 AM   #10
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If I lived and breathed classical music and had a job like yours I wouldn't be looking to move on either!
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Old 11-29-2013, 08:50 AM   #11
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I read through some of your posts and I think you do have a wonderful situation. The people you direct and your colleagues are likely all very smart, talented, and committed musicians who also love their work and classes, and in my limited experience many musically inclined folks can be a lot of fun. And it sounds like you have time for travel etc., as do many in academia, and you don't seem to be missing out on life because you are still working.

So you might never be ready to retire. Good for you.
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Old 11-29-2013, 10:08 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Milton View Post
No shame in that!

In such circumstances I wouldn't even consider leaving, unless you find that the time demands are keeping you from doing other things (travel, hobbies, volunteering, spending time with family, etc.) that currently have greater priority. Absent such conflict, there's no need to seek alternatives.
+2. Despite some members views here, FI and ER should be independent. ER is but one option once FI is reached, and not the best choice for everyone. I'd never leave a job I loved...
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Old 11-29-2013, 05:41 PM   #13
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+3 it's clear you enjoy the activity, no need to change until a reason to change makes that choice preferred, that's the great thing about FI you control that instead of conditions limiting your options. Enjoy music, your job and the peace of mind of FI!
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Old 11-29-2013, 05:55 PM   #14
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I'm not advocating that anyone who loves their job should leave. He is a member of the site though so either he has thought about ER himself or something is pressuring him to consider it. However, in my w*rk experience I've notice that a lot of people who are happy in their jobs don't look to see what else there is out there. We all know the stories of people who have had to leave a j*b and have found something better as a result. Never hurts to look once and a while.
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Old 11-30-2013, 08:06 AM   #15
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I'm not advocating that anyone who loves their job should leave. He is a member of the site though so either he has thought about ER himself or something is pressuring him to consider it. However, in my w*rk experience I've notice that a lot of people who are happy in their jobs don't look to see what else there is out there. We all know the stories of people who have had to leave a j*b and have found something better as a result. Never hurts to look once and a while.
Good observations. I'd only add that I think we're somewhat conditioned to think if we can afford to retire, we're supposed to. You certainly see it here often enough, though by no means universal. And that's reinforced by unhappy people (work if not otherwise) all around us who say they'd 'like to quit and get another job or better yet retire.' The unhappy chorus usually drowns out the other POVs, especially in the workplace...lotteries are a result.
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Old 11-30-2013, 08:44 PM   #16
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He is a member of the site though so either he has thought about ER himself or something is pressuring him to consider it.
A valid point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by martyp View Post
I've noticed that a lot of people who are happy in their jobs don't look to see what else is out there.
If someone is happy in their current situation, there is little point in running the risk attendant with experimenting with a different job; i.e., if it's not broken, don't fix it. And (sorry for the mixed metaphors) the grass is not always greener.
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Old 11-30-2013, 09:52 PM   #17
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Thanks to all for your comments!

I have thought about retirement on and off for a long time. I have a post about buying a retirement condo in Sequim, WA, which we did almost a year ago. It's not a vacation home, we're renting it out and have management in place at a reasonable price (and a tenant since last April). But it's a nice condo, plenty big enough for us, and we plan to be able to pay it off in a relatively few years and also have enough cash to remodel as we'd like. We love the area and it's a part of the "plan," as much as one can plan, of course!

While I love what I do, we always think about what other alternatives might be, from other jobs (sometimes with fewer responsibilities or more time freedom) to retirement to some sort of in-between situation.

We miss having the time to travel, although we managed a 6 week driving vacation from Texas back to the NW this summer, partly to visit family and partly for interesting professional meetings (Oregon Bach Festival, a conference in Tacoma, and an early music festival in Vancouver B.C.). But we haven't been back to Europe since 2008--although I'm doing an interim church choir position with a large church in Dallas which could lead to a tour with the choir this summer (it depends on when they hire the replacement): concerts in Vienna, Budapest, and Prague--three of our favorite cities. But extended travel (we spent a total of 3 months in two trips to Sweden in 2008) is difficult to do.

I'd love to do sabbatical replacements but the economics in most universities has made finding money to pay a full-time sabbatical replacement rare--in most cases (certainly at UNT, where my colleague may get a semester's sabbatical next year, everyone else has to suck it up and cover courses somehow). In 2006 I did a quarter's sabbatical replacement at the University of Cincinnati and again in 2009 for 5 weeks and loved it. You get all the things I love--teaching/contact with talented students/conducting choirs--without any administrative, committee, or recruiting responsibilities. But it's very difficult to know if opportunities would come up.

There's also the reality that once you lose access to the kinds of ensembles I do currently, you simply may not get those same opportunities in the future--at least not at that level.

But stay tuned! As DW and I always say, who knows what's around the next corner?!

We remain open to opportunities.
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Old 11-30-2013, 09:55 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
What kind of extended neck lute is that?!?!?! Never seen such a thing even in paintings.

OK - I think I found it. Archlute or theorbo used as part of basso continuo - Theorbo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
You got it Audrey! Quite an instrument. You can hear it most clearly on the YouTube recording in the solo movements (3, 5, 7). We were lucky to have two players--one, Daniel Swenberg, who came from NY, was our principal player and did all the solo movements. The other Hendrik Schulze, on our faculty, is a musicologist (studies music history) who edited the piece we were doing.
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Old 12-02-2013, 11:31 AM   #19
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+2. Despite some members views here, FI and ER should be independent. ER is but one option once FI is reached, and not the best choice for everyone. I'd never leave a job I loved...
Agree strongly. On this site we often lose sight that some people actually enjoy their jobs. An example would be the common practice of treating "work" as if it were a four letter word. True for many but certainly not all. FI on the other hand is a more universally accepted concept.
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