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How long was it before you stopped identifying youself with your profession?
Old 03-02-2015, 10:17 AM   #1
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How long was it before you stopped identifying youself with your profession?

I expect that many retirees here were like I am now: in a position of some authority/prestige, doing work that was professionally fulfilling, and to some degree defining themselves by their jobs -- "I am a _________".

I have read enough here to know not to worry about missing that feeling of fulfillment after leaving work in June 2016 -- the consensus is that you move on to new things and forget about your working life and its stresses.

So how long did it take you to go from being "I am a banker/lawyer/plumber/mechanic/accountant/teacher" to "I am Betty/Joe?Rashmi/Vladimir/Julio/Patience"?
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Old 03-02-2015, 11:04 AM   #2
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Funny thing is even in retirement people will ask what you did before you retired and to some degree, judge you by your previous profession.

Guess in some ways I still identify myself that way as well.
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Old 03-02-2015, 11:11 AM   #3
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I'm not even ER'd and I don't identifiy myself with my profession. Truth is, most of the really successful people in my line of work are not people I want to be like.


I never offer, but if I'm asked what I do I just respond that I'm a small business owner.
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Old 03-02-2015, 11:16 AM   #4
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I always just say I'm retired.

If pressed, I say what I retired from, because it defines a large portion of my life and I'm proud of it.
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Old 03-02-2015, 11:17 AM   #5
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Some people ask. I don't bring it up in casual conversation. Occasionally a subject comes up where my professional knowledge is relevant. As an INTJ, I do feel the urge to correct incorrect information that may cause harm, and my credibility depends on disclosing my previous profession. An example would be the anti vaccination lobby. If someone is spouting unscientific theories that they found on the Internet or saw on TV, claiming that measles is harmless and that the vaccine causes autism, you bet I will join in the debate and bring my pediatrician's expertise to the table.
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Old 03-02-2015, 11:17 AM   #6
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I was a police officer and worked undercover the last 3 years. I was already used to lying when someone asked what I did for a living so now I say the same thing, except I'm not lying anymore. I say some version of stock trader, portfolio manager or wealth manager.
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Old 03-02-2015, 12:14 PM   #7
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I'm not even ER'd and I don't identifiy myself with my profession. Truth is, most of the really successful people in my line of work are not people I want to be like. .........
Same here, though I'm retired. I was in engineering management and for similar reasons, I tend to skip the management part.
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Old 03-02-2015, 12:28 PM   #8
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for a couple of months I would tell people that I met that I used to be ______ .... haven't done that in a year.
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How long was it before you stopped identifying youself with your profession?
Old 03-02-2015, 12:33 PM   #9
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How long was it before you stopped identifying youself with your profession?

People do have a tendency to form an opinion based on your former career. I'm fine with that and say "here's what I did:" and tell them. Then, "You can call me Al".
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Old 03-02-2015, 01:00 PM   #10
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Took me about three years to fully become "just me" instead of a "Retired ______".
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Old 03-02-2015, 01:04 PM   #11
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I don't really think about it much any more, although I don't keep it secret either. It will always be part of who I am, but it has slowly receded from my attention as time passes.

I am in my 6th year of retirement. Any expertise I may have had is becoming more and more out of date during every successive year of retirement. I have never been one to take my own professional opinions lightly, or to blabber on about them in casual social conversations, even when working. I certainly don't do that now. So, in that respect nothing has changed.
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Old 03-02-2015, 01:45 PM   #12
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On rare occasions if I am asked about what I did befeore retiring, I answer with a question, how much time you have, as I did many things. Since I never had a profession, never had to identify with one.

Funny just a week ago or so in the coffee shop a professor from a nearby university asked the question. He had time, as did I, and he ended up learning about seismometers.
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Old 03-02-2015, 01:58 PM   #13
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I always ask what people did for a living because it's a good way to find common ground and start a conversation. Doesn't matter if they taught history, tended bar or made widgets. I can always get started from there.


I've still got my actuarial certification up on my home office wall as well as 2 plaques, each of which acknowledges a term on my Society's Board of Directors. My affinity for spreadsheets, economics and investing are still a big part of who I am, so telling people I'm a retired actuary makes sense to me. I retired less than a year ago, so that may change.
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Old 03-02-2015, 02:03 PM   #14
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Athena53 +1

When I meet someone new, asking them what they do or did, is a way to start a conversation. Often they have done something I am either not good at, or have never tried. I then try to learn as much as I can, it also gets them talking.
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How long was it before you stopped identifying youself with your profession?
Old 03-02-2015, 02:09 PM   #15
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How long was it before you stopped identifying youself with your profession?

I'm the opposite. Never ask what they do or tell people what I do if possible. Do not want the conversation to be about work.
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Old 03-02-2015, 02:34 PM   #16
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I agree that the topic of former occupation is a good conversation starter. People really are interested and interesting themselves, if you ask them - it goes both ways.

For people who had/have occupations that can be hard to explain, if you really were/are as good as you think, you should be able to explain it in a layperson's terms without sounding like a snob.

I met a guy at a dinner party over the holidays who asked. His sister was there too, both from Quebec (they were nice enough to compliment my lousy French). He really was interested in my field. In turn, he is a master woodworker and I could only wish I had a small piece of his skill.

To answer the original question: I still do identify with my occupation of 20+ years in a good way. I just do something else now.
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Old 03-02-2015, 02:51 PM   #17
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I was a kept man always worked for me, no one asked for details.
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Old 03-02-2015, 03:06 PM   #18
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I was a police officer and worked undercover the last 3 years. I was already used to lying when someone asked what I did for a living so now I say the same thing, except I'm not lying anymore. I say some version of stock trader, portfolio manager or wealth manager.

Sounds like you could be a regular George Castanza "I'm an architect!"


I try not to identify with my previous "working life", but it was more than just a job...it was definitely a life style...so it's quite difficult to NOT discuss it with new folks.
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Old 03-02-2015, 04:23 PM   #19
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Never identified who I am with what I did for a living. Usually try to deflect the "what do you do?" conversations. I do a lot of different things. None of them are more than a small aspect of who I am.
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Old 03-02-2015, 04:30 PM   #20
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When asked, I tell people I'm retired. In the past 3 years I was only asked once about what I did when I worked.
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