I went and talked to my boss about the possibility of retiring. I gave him the whole song and dance about how grateful I was for this job and how much I’d learned and the wonderful people I have met and the feeling of family I have here and how it was a difficult decision for me but then, you know, the cancer really began to laser focus my awareness of how I spend my time and that I think I would like to pursue other interests, but oh, I really love it here, and on and on and on.
He sat very patiently through it all and then said “you cannot retire.”
He went on about how we have have a rash of retirements in the past year and that it would be hard to lose all my historical and institutional knowledge (I think he was saying that I’m the oldest person in the building) and since I am a one person department, there is no one below me who can step up or even anyone who can be trained to do whatever the hell I do. Yes, that’s what he said “whatever the hell you do.”
But, I said, with all due respect, I cannot be expected to work here for forever. I would stay and help train someone else, but I need a finish line.
Then he asked if I would consider retiring and then coming back as a consultant.
Ding, ding, ding - we have a winner!
Under this arrangement I will retire and then work part time. Yes please!
I am now retiring at the end of February. I will then begin to collect my very generous pension and then I can then set my own hours and work on an as needed basis for an hourly rate.
Everyone wins! My employer will save a bucket load on my salary and no longer have to pay into my retirement fund. My medical insurance is already covered for life. Martha was concerned about reducing incomes before the girls are done with college but I will now be making MORE money than I do now. And I can have the best of both worlds - a lot more time to do other things while still maintaining my social and professional ties at work. Plus, I avoid having to go through that awkward retirement party thing. (I know that last thing seems petty, but it was a huge concern for me)
The only negative is that under our state pension retirement rules, I can work for the government, but there is a cap on how much I can make and this cap is rather small. So this will translate into me working an average of 12 hours a week. Which sounded awesome at first, but then I began having night sweats about how I can possibly do everything at my job in 12 hours a week!!! Of course, it is an average so that on light weeks I could work 4 hours and then when things are busy, I could work 40 hours. Plus, I can work from home, and I am only a couple of blocks away should anything weird come up. So I have a lot of flexibility. Still, it does concern me. I was the originator of this department and I take a lot of pride in it. I really don’t want things slipping through the cracks. And while I don’t mind occasionally working unpaid hours, I don’t want it to become a habit. So we’ll see.
To start the experiment, starting in March my hours will be Tuesday thru Thursday from 9 to 12.
Nice, huh? The rest of the time you will find me preparing my gardens, working on the honey-do list Martha is already starting for me, and trying to figure what just what I want to be when I grow up.
Decision #3 resolved. I do believe I am going to post about every decision bouncing around my mind. As soon as I post it here, the universe shows me the answer. Very cool.