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Switching gears in retirement
Old 06-29-2009, 04:11 PM   #1
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Switching gears in retirement

I've been retired about 6 years. Retired at 58. Been in my current location about 4 years and brought with me some of the retirement activities I started in my old location and added some new ones. But, during the last year or so, I decided that I'm getting bored/burned out on some of them.

Specifically, I've been doing adult literacy/basic math tutoring 1 - 2 fairly full days per week for about 6 years now. Although it has been very satisfying, I've decided I'm getting a little sick of it. So, I gave "notice" at the place I do the tutoring that I won't be back in fall. (I always took the summers off anyway.)

I've been the Service Officer for our local American Legion Post for 3 years. What this mainly means is (1) giving out medical equipment like hospital beds and walkers from our garage full of donated equipment to folks who need them and might not be able to afford them; (2) getting color guards together for funerals of deceased members; and (3) helping people apply for VA benefits and do other government paperwork related to veterans' or survivor benefits. I decided not to stand for reelection this year, but said I would continue doing (3) but not (1) or (2) (since the guy who is succeeding me isn't a great paperwork person.)

I've worked out from Sep - May at a local physical therapy center (which has a small amount of fitness equipment) twice per week for about 4 years (in addition to the fitness stuff I do on my own.) As with the tutoring, I've taken the summers off because I get plenty of exercise outdoors during the summer between yard-work, hiking, paddling, running, etc. But I won't be returning in the fall.

I decided that most of these things have gotten old and - you know what? None of them are "jobs" that I need to keep doing to earn a living. So, I'm currently researching other volunteer activities that will be a change of pace and keep me interested. The nice thing is I have that option and when you're a volunteer, you call the shots, not a boss. I've also taken on a couple of new responsibilities with my church - different from the other volunteer things I've done and sure to keep me interested for a few years. There's also travel and, on the fitness side, I think I'll join a fitness place that maybe has some classes (as opposed to doing the weights and machines.) I've also started going to yoga classes once a week with my wife (who goes more regularly.)

So my point is that even if you're doing things in retirement that are fun and satisfying, they, just like a job, can get old after a while. But it's a helluva lot easier to find some new things to do from the myriad of things out there than it is to go looking for a new job.
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Old 06-29-2009, 07:04 PM   #2
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Old 06-30-2009, 06:29 AM   #3
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...So my point is that even if you're doing things in retirement that are fun and satisfying, they, just like a job, can get old after a while. But it's a helluva lot easier to find some new things to do from the myriad of things out there than it is to go looking for a new job.
And it is an excellent point.
I've also been doing volunteer activities for the 2 years I've been FIREd.
I am finding that the activity is fun, but the inevitable people politics are not.
I found an excellent fit with a once-a-month food bank. The lady who organizes it is very down to earth and straightforward.
My newest venture is serving on an advisory committee for helping 3-2 Engineering Program students find j*bs after graduating college (my alma mater). Right now it is only email contact, feeding specific j*b leads to the dept chair, until college restarts in the fall.
I'm learning to filter better...
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Old 06-30-2009, 06:34 AM   #4
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I've also been doing volunteer activities for the 2 years I've been FIREd.
I am finding that the activity is fun, but the inevitable people politics are not.
Yep. I tried a couple of volunteer gigs and abandoned both after a year or two. My capacity for tolerating BS is almost totally used up. What little I have left I save for this forum.
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Old 06-30-2009, 08:58 AM   #5
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Yep. I tried a couple of volunteer gigs and abandoned both after a year or two. My capacity for tolerating BS is almost totally used up. What little I have left I save for this forum.
My experience with the politics/people problems/BS of volunteering has been different. I've tried really hard to focus on the mission of what I've been doing as an individual and not get wrapped up in anything having to do with the organization itself. For example, at one learning center I was invited to start attending the weekly staff meeting. I politely told them that when I gave up working I also gave up going to meetings. When people (staff) start talking about other people, I just won't participate. At one place I volunteered, I started eating lunch with the staff on the days I was there. I quickly determined that lunchtime was just a bitch session, so I started eating lunch alone and going for a walk.
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Old 06-30-2009, 09:25 AM   #6
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So my point is that even if you're doing things in retirement that are fun and satisfying, they, just like a job, can get old after a while. But it's a helluva lot easier to find some new things to do from the myriad of things out there than it is to go looking for a new job.
Great insight (entire post), great post IMO, thanks.
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Old 06-30-2009, 09:37 AM   #7
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My experience with the politics/people problems/BS of volunteering has been different. I've tried really hard to focus on the mission of what I've been doing as an individual and not get wrapped up in anything having to do with the organization itself. For example, at one learning center I was invited to start attending the weekly staff meeting. I politely told them that when I gave up working I also gave up going to meetings. When people (staff) start talking about other people, I just won't participate. At one place I volunteered, I started eating lunch with the staff on the days I was there. I quickly determined that lunchtime was just a bitch session, so I started eating lunch alone and going for a walk.
Sounds like you've mastered the art of looking good in a set of Teflon coveralls. Congratulations.

Unfortunately my fashion sense is less refined. I had the unpleasant experience of having to work directly with a most unpleasant set of lead volunteers (married couple) and could find no way to avoid the atmosphere they created other than to decline to volunteer the following year.
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Old 06-30-2009, 10:34 AM   #8
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Yep. I tried a couple of volunteer gigs and abandoned both after a year or two. My capacity for tolerating BS is almost totally used up. What little I have left I save for this forum.
I find that I enjoy the first year, tolerate the second, and spend the third locating/training my relief. (Sorta like being on active duty.) Hard to believe it's been over two years since my last volunteer gig.

Spouse volunteers for a non-profit that doesn't actually let her do the job implied by the nouns making up the title of her position. Between the lowpaid employee's incompetence and the ricebowls I can predict how this will end in 18-24 months. But she gets to work with veterans & families and she enjoys the social aspect, while the administrivia & office politics reminds her of why she retired in the first place.

The only volunteering I've done lately is voluntarily remaining unemployed. There are a couple other nonprofits out there that I wouldn't mind working with, but I'm going to wait a few years before I destroy more of my cherished illusions.
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Old 06-30-2009, 01:36 PM   #9
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Thanks guys , You have all confirmed my fears about volunteering .
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Old 06-30-2009, 05:38 PM   #10
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I inquired to volunteer teaching basic computers to seniors . At the egging on by my in laws. The amount of hoops they wanted me to jump through astounded me. Thanks but no thanks. Might not be for me .
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Old 06-30-2009, 06:41 PM   #11
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I inquired to volunteer teaching basic computers to seniors . At the egging on by my in laws. The amount of hoops they wanted me to jump through astounded me. Thanks but no thanks. Might not be for me .
You have to be patient and detail-oriented to teach anything, but teaching "computers" to people, who have been avoiding them for decades, verges on masochism, IMHO....it is just too hard to explain every little bitty intuitive step that we all take for granted. I liken it to teaching someone to ride a bicycle, if the bicycle were very, very complicated, and unexpected things kept happening every time you got onto the seat....
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Old 06-30-2009, 06:48 PM   #12
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You have to be patient and detail-oriented to teach anything, but teaching "computers" to people, who have been avoiding them for decades, verges on masochism,
It's not much easier with much younger students. I taught basic computer use to K-3 for a year - it was like herding cats. I've coached kids in sports, and that was much easier than trying to get them to sit still and use a program for five minutes.

I'm starting to like some of the volunteer gigs my city has. Like passing out brochures and stickers to warn people about washing hazardous materials down the storm drains. Much more my style - give me a handful of materials and tell me where to go and I'll see you'all later. Meet nice folks for a few minutes and then move on.
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Old 06-30-2009, 10:58 PM   #13
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I started volunteering at my local help center one year after retiring...in 1999. I stayed there five years then left in 2004 as I had my volunteer gig at the p.d. (started there in 2000). I let most situations slide at the help center, but over time the depressing stories started to take a toll on me.

Now, I still volunteer at the p.d. and for the past several months have been working at the court as well. Someone mentioned politics........but I love what I do. When I no longer find fulfillment there...I'll move on to somewhere else. In retirement, I have the freedom of choice.
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Old 07-01-2009, 03:51 AM   #14
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Yep. I tried a couple of volunteer gigs and abandoned both after a year or two. My capacity for tolerating BS is almost totally used up. What little I have left I save for this forum.
Rewahoo is being very diplomatic on this point.
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Old 07-01-2009, 05:40 AM   #15
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I'm still working, but I volunteer for the certification board of my profession - it's easy, one meeting a month and minimal paperwork. Plus I enjoy it - as for politics - well, there are some, but it's usually over substance and not people.

What's interesting is that I've been working a bit here in my military capacity - wow - my tolerance for BS has gone way down, too. I've noticed I don't let things ruffle me so much anymore and when I'm not on status, I don't go near the place. Unfortunately, my husband works there, so I have to go there every now and then when off status, but you better believe he hears about it :-)

When I retire, I don't think I'll volunteer much - I've done a lot of free work while pursuing my careers, and I'd just as soon write a check if I find the cause worthy versus deal with the personalities.
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Old 07-01-2009, 08:58 AM   #16
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Every now and then my alumni group does some Saturday gig, usually a cleanup somewhere local. I sometimes do these things. It's a bit like a fraternity activity, but with women along. Absoluely no politics, since their is no staff or ongoing operations.

I respect people with the "I want to give back" attitude, but I don't seem to have that gene.

Ha
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Old 07-04-2009, 03:34 PM   #17
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You have to be patient and detail-oriented to teach anything, but teaching "computers" to people, who have been avoiding them for decades, verges on masochism, IMHO....it is just too hard to explain every little bitty intuitive step that we all take for granted. I liken it to teaching someone to ride a bicycle, if the bicycle were very, very complicated, and unexpected things kept happening every time you got onto the seat....

The professional teacher I was supporting doing adult literacy tutoring in Baltimore had a really good technique. He had one computer lab period a week and everyone was assigned an "email pal". The idea is that the students would learn to use computers/email and develop their skills in communicating with someone, asking questions about them, telling the email pals about themselves, etc. He (the teacher) did a couple of orientation sessions on computers and set them loose. He and I did "over the shoulder" assisting with the students as they were using the computers.

I've found I have a pretty high tolerance for students who are having trouble when we are doing one-on-one tutoring and they don't "get it." But that virtue doesn't extend to helping people with computers. I wanted to scream,
"No, idiot! I said RIGHT click!" and similar things most of the time. When I moved to Vermont and volunteered at a learning center here, I was asked if I had the knowledge to teach basic computer skills. I said I had the knowledge but not the temperament and declined to help in that area.
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Old 07-04-2009, 05:49 PM   #18
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The professional teacher I was supporting doing adult literacy tutoring in Baltimore had a really good technique. He had one computer lab period a week and everyone was assigned an "email pal". The idea is that the students would learn to use computers/email and develop their skills in communicating with someone, asking questions about them, telling the email pals about themselves, etc. He (the teacher) did a couple of orientation sessions on computers and set them loose. He and I did "over the shoulder" assisting with the students as they were using the computers.

I've found I have a pretty high tolerance for students who are having trouble when we are doing one-on-one tutoring and they don't "get it." But that virtue doesn't extend to helping people with computers. I wanted to scream,
"No, idiot! I said RIGHT click!" and similar things most of the time. When I moved to Vermont and volunteered at a learning center here, I was asked if I had the knowledge to teach basic computer skills. I said I had the knowledge but not the temperament and declined to help in that area.
I did some computer training and assistance at w*rk. You are so right.
What's really bad is that they lie to you when describing what they did to reach the error message.
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Old 07-04-2009, 07:40 PM   #19
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He and I did "over the shoulder" assisting with the students as they were using the computers.
I've found I have a pretty high tolerance for students who are having trouble when we are doing one-on-one tutoring and they don't "get it."
I spent 1994-97 at a training command teaching sailors & officers how to use a computer system for tracking contacts. (Variously known as JOTS/NTCS-A/JMCIS/GCCS-M.) Monstrous Sun workstations with custom keyboards & trackballs. We had front-row seats watching computer skills take hold on a new generation of users.

At first we'd ask the class who had a computer and whether it was a PC or a Mac. In 1994 it was about half the class and about evenly split. By early 1996 most of the Mac users had disappeared (or they kept their hands down) and by 1997 we stopped asking the question.

When we started the lab at 2 PM we'd tell students that we'd be there until everyone had finished the worksheet, no matter how much time we needed. Until the end of 1994 it regularly took until 5 PM with a few students staying past 6 PM. By 1997 the lab would be empty at 3:30.

Skills weren't divided by rank or military specialty as much as by age. The younger they were the more familiar they were with hardware and with following specific directions. The older users tended to think left-clicks and right-clicks were functionally the same, or else they'd be terrified that they were going to break something if they did it on their own. We learned to have an instructor practically standing behind anyone over age 35.

The two worst students came in late 1997: the 19-year-old junior enlisted who "knew" how to shell out of the Navy software to the Sun OS, and the 45-year-old commodore who would peck his way one finger at a time as he switched among donning his reading glasses to look at the keyboard, taking them off to look at the screen, and donning them again to read the next step on the worksheet. (Then start all over again with frequent questions.) The first got to stay late for some hands-on training on reloading the operating system with a senior chief (remember tape drives?) and the second finally gave up at 7:30 PM.

I was a neophyte investor then, and I never really understood why everyone was so excited over a piece of hardware called a Cisco router…

Today there's no way I'd volunteer to show a classroom of students how to do anything with a computer. The flashbacks alone would keep me up all night.
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