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Retired or still "giving it back"?
Old 05-23-2004, 11:20 AM   #1
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Retired or still "giving it back"?

Last week I spent some time with one of my spouse's Reservists. Single, no kids, he's free & mobile and doesn't hold a "real" job.

With his master's degree he's hired as a non-certified substitute teacher by any of our state's private schools. He lives about five minutes away from his favorite school and he's happy to come in with a phone call the night before (or even the morning of). He really enjoys teaching science or math to a roomful of high-schoolers but he's realized that he makes more money in three months of Reserve duty than in a full school year of teaching. So he takes Reserve orders whenever they're available (including garden spots like Kosovo or Kuwait) but he takes a break from that for several months a year and intersperses liberty with a day or a week of substitute teaching. After a few months of occasional teaching he signs up for another Reserve job and then takes off for a while.

He's financially frugal and could probably retire on his savings, even without the Reserve pension. I observed that he's enjoying his retirement in small doses and he replied that he doesn't think he could ever retire. Of course he'll be done with the Reserves at age 60 but he says that he'll teach until he can't hold onto the podium anymore. He feels that his communications & education skills make a real difference and he's happy to give back to the community.

I spent eight years teaching adult education and I enjoyed just about every minute of it. But when I consider rejoining the workforce I have to consider my wife's example. When she does her Reserve duty, by day three she's had more than enough. By week two she can barely drag her butt out of bed in the morning and stay awake at night. I doubt that my surf reports help her morale, but I don't think that I care to risk the working lifestyle again-- no matter how many happy shining faces I can educate.

I don't feel that my community's needs will overcome my workplace loathing but I'm always happy to investigate the subject in my spare time. Has anyone else had any luck with one or two days a week in a personally-rewarding occupation? Is it worth walking up the street to my local private school or should I just stick to the occasional volunteer work?



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Re: Retired or still "giving it back"?
Old 05-23-2004, 01:46 PM   #2
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Re: Retired or still "giving it back"?

Nords

On the sliding scale from income sources to unpaid volunteer - personally rewarding is an individual thing. ? Would giving surfing lessons enhance your enjoyment? In ten years I worked maybe a year plus a couple months on 2 temp jobs for good money plus 'enjoyed' some aspects of the work - but not all. After a couple years into ER - chucked landlord status which I never enjoyed from day one. My hobby stocks in DRIP plans are still 'fun' and produce dividend income - but periodically the paperwork is a pain - around tax time.

My rare volunteer work is more an opportunity to BS with my fellow retiree's than any 'mission' on my part.

My two immediate neighbors have 'full' time jobs (less than forty hours/wk) - one has seven boats(waveriders up to a 22 footer) in stages of rebuild/restore and had a shop for winter work with his son at one time. The other has three 'muscle cars' in various stages of rebuild - two to sell and one keeper.

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Re:  Thanks, Unclemick.  Good points.
Old 05-23-2004, 10:37 PM   #3
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Re:  Thanks, Unclemick.  Good points.

This board is one of the very few places reaffirming the validity of one's intuition. Thanks for pointing out that there's no "correct" answer.

I give free surf lessons all the time. My kid's Scout troop occasionally camps by the beach and one lovely day we had four separate sessions. And when the kids were tired, we dragged their parents into the surf for a refresher. Who had more fun-- me teaching, the parents relearning, or the kids watching their parents struggle to do what was effortless (for kids)? If a stranger walked up to me at the beach and asked for a lesson, we'd go right in the water. But when I imagine myself scheduling a 10:30 AM Monday lesson then it's not fun anymore!

I agree with you on volunteer work-- sometimes it's the only way to meet other retirees in person. And I enjoy the heck outta hobby stocks, even when the tax paperwork reveals that I'm not so brilliant an investor. (I just discovered Nicolas Darvas last week and my brain is buzzing after a good screening tool.) But if there's no companionship during the volunteer work then it just becomes, well, work.

After Memorial Day I'll have been retired for the two years of Paul Terhorst's "make no changes" policy. In that time I would have expected (1) a life epiphany and (2) to run across another age 40+ retiree on this island of nearly a million people.

But the reality is stranger than the expectation. Retirement hasn't hit a rut or even a plateau-- it just keeps getting better. No major lifestyle changes are imminent and I could happily plow ahead like this for the next decade. I haven't felt any urge to be "productive in the workforce" or to "give back to the community", even though Ted tried his best to challenge that thinking. I'm quite happy to explore & learn without actually having to inflict myself on the economy or on any fellow workers.

Yet I haven't run into anyone locally, under the age of 60, who's happy doing the same. Don't get me wrong-- I'm not lonely-- but I'm surprised that I seem to be alone. Even if they can afford to retire, my age group seems to need a boss (or an entertainment director) to take charge of their lives and to fill their calendars. I'm pretty good at answering "Waddya do all day?" but I haven't developed a good riposte to the "OK, sure, but waddya REALLY do on the SECOND day?" I can't tell if it's envy, confusion, or just utter incomprehension.

Hey, that's their problem. I'm relieved that there's no mid-life crisis looming in my future. And I'm done wondering what could inspire me to return to work. I'm happy enough to volunteer at my kid's activities without yearning after a volunteer career or REAL work.

Maybe I can revisit the question after we launch our kid from the nest. I just hope that all our military training & experience has prepared us to raise a teenager...
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Re: Retired or still "giving it back"?
Old 05-24-2004, 04:27 AM   #4
 
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Re: Retired or still "giving it back"?

Yep I'll admit that even the phrase "giving back"
makes me want to puke. That's about as PC/trite
as you can get and it seems everyone wants on the
"giving back" gravy train. Now, for those who are sincere (the few) I offer my solid approval. If that's
what they want and no one gets hurt. who am I to
impede their worthy efforts. So, speaking only for
myself, I have not only ERed but am permanently on
strike. I am so out of step with what passes for
"giving back" I doubt I have much to cotribute
nor do I wish to. Don't want no work; don't need no work. The world
will just have to get along without me from here on
out. IMHO, the world operates best when everyone pursues their own self interest. I truly believe that
results in the most good for the most people. It's
a concept definitely out of favor.

John Galt
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Re: Retired or still "giving it back"?
Old 05-24-2004, 06:52 AM   #5
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Re: Retired or still "giving it back"?

John Galt
Quote:
IMHO, the world operates best when everyone pursues their own self interest. I truly believe that results in the most good for the most people. It's a concept definitely out of favor.
It may be out of favor, but it is worth repeating. In addition, "self interest" does not mean the same thing as "selfish."

Have fun.

John R.
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Re: Retired or still "giving it back"?
Old 05-24-2004, 09:42 AM   #6
 
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Re: Retired or still "giving it back"?

This "Giving Back" thing, from my viewpoint is mostly about 'ego' and in reality these folks are mostly giving nothing.

I think a lot of these 'retired' folks just cannot get used to the idea that the world will get along fine without them! - Maybe even better!
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Re: Retired or still "giving it back"?
Old 05-24-2004, 10:31 AM   #7
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Re: Retired or still "giving it back"?

Nords...regarding your last post. I think you've captured and expressed a healthy ER experience and one I can relate to, except for the surfing and the teenaged kids.

Regarding the latter, most of my friends have them. I hope you kept some of your protective head gear from the military.

As far as finding and spending time with other ER's, I've sort of done this in spurts. My old company gives 3 month sabbaticals every 7 years of service. I got mine 3.5 years ago and its how I knew I wanted ER. Whenever one of my old cohorts gets theirs, and there are usually 2-3 a year minimum, I get to spend much of the time hanging out with them and showing them how to be productively and lazily unemployed. I'm usually sorry to see them go back to work because then they disappear again.

I still think it'd be fun to live in a club med type environment with other ER's. Sitting on the beach drinking cheap beer and having these same conversations. Would certainly save me a lot of wear and tear on the fingers and I could get rid of a $40 a month internet bill.
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Re: Retired or still "giving it back"?
Old 05-24-2004, 11:05 AM   #8
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Re: Retired or still "giving it back"?

RE: the concept of 'giving back', I have a slightly different view. If you are just simply pursuing what you love to do and not being a 'prick', then you are doing more for society than 99% of the poor souls out there who are heaving themselves into work they hate and trying overtime to fulfill somebody else's view of who they should be.

So to be more concrete, if you are an ER engineer who now spends his days tooling around in your shop and fiddling with stuff you find interesting, who can say whether 5 or 20 years from now, that will lead to some sort of interesting invention that people need and that no one had the spare brain-bandwidth to bother thinking about, but you did. That would be a major 'giving back' imho, and it wouldn't be ego or sappy or anything else. It would happen because by being in ER you had the time and energy to pursue what YOU want to do instead of having to do what someone else has fooled you into thinking you should do.

Of course, you might never do anything more than fool around in your shop for the rest of your life, but in that case you are probably still happy and as a result, an inspiration to kids in your neighborhood (even if you don't know them, they know who your are) and now they grow up being able to point to one grownup they know of who is not sour or phony or stressed or somehow miserable. If that isn't giving back, I don't know what is!

If you like volunteer work or part-time work, great! But if that doesn't feel right, just keep doing what you like (as long as nobody gets hurt!), maybe sharing it if people are interested, and I think the 'giving back' will take care of itself.
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Raising teenagers
Old 05-29-2004, 08:56 PM   #9
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Raising teenagers

Not quite off-topic, although certainly not ON-topic.

Anyway.

NOTHING prepares you for raising teenagers.

Just my opinion!

Anne
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Re: Retired or still "giving it back"?
Old 05-30-2004, 06:20 AM   #10
 
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Re: Retired or still "giving it back"?

Yes Anne, I agree about raising teenagers, although
the same can be said for marriage itself IMHO. The results of both endeavors can be worth the cost.
Both are expensive propositions though.

John Galt
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