Working In Retirement - Jan's Story

As sometimes happens, working in retirement can be more gratifying than the work we did before retirement. This is a story by someone who found new enthusiasm after leaving a long career.

Being Retired Means Never Having to Say "I'm Done."

My name is Jan, and I live in California near the busy and overcrowded city of Sacramento. Perhaps my retirement experience will benefit the reader; at any rate, I hope that it will give you a little perspective on life after the 9 to 5 is over.

I retired about a year ago on a fairly meager pension provided by my long-time friend, the State of California.

It was a decision I made partly for negative reasons: After 30+ years in the clerical field, I had simply had enough.

I no longer felt that I was making a very positive contribution to my field; in fact, I had to admit that I was past my prime, in many respects, particularly with regard to my attitude about my employment.

I started work as a clerical back in the mid-seventies when all there was to clerical employment was the ability to type quickly and accurately, possessing a pleasant manner and telephone voice, and the ability to set up meetings. Oh, and also the ability to read any chicken scratch article, letter, or report that crossed your desk for final editing and typing. I miss those days.

Creativity was still possible – I got to make most of the choices as to how the assignment was set up (font, margins, paragraph style, and I even got to actually write some of the material on my own). But nowadays, every staff person at every level has their own PC and I find that my previously sought-after skills are not so sought-after any longer.

In the late 90's, I was to make this discovery during an interview for potential employment with a personnel agency. I commented to the interviewer about my pride at being a good writer and editor – her only response was, "Well, there's not much call for that sort of thing anymore." And she was right, particularly now that every document that leaves a state office has to pass through a rigorous review via a lengthy style guide and correspondence instruction manual.

Well, that's the negative part of the decision to retire – the flight or fight instinct that set in during my late 50's that told me, finally, and firmly: "Run, don't walk. Your career, as you knew it, is over."

Working in Retirement - A New Direction

new career CNA

But not everything is really over, I have discovered. I have found, at age 60, that a career as a Certified Nursing Assistant has piqued my interest and I am very excited about starting a course at a local community college in the fall semester of 2012. Skills required?

Really not much, as compared to all of the complexity of today's clerical employee who really has to be a technician rather than just a typist. I'll be changing bed pans, serving meals, taking vitals, and dealing with old crotchety folks like myself and seeing life from the other side of the bed. And I'll probably have part-time hours that will start at around 6 am which should prove interesting.

I'm really excited about working in retirement! Who knows; I may be in that same bed myself one day, hoping for the services of a kind, conscientious, and considerate CNA. And I hope that I can be that kind of CNA in the very near future.