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  1. #16
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    Feb 2005
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    I was lucky, Dogmama. I did take out a 60K loan, even though I didn't have to; my choice was take the loan out and not cut my lifestyle, or take the loan and pay it back quickly. And, I waited to change careers until we could afford it with no drastic changes. DH makes a very,very good salary and bonuses, so the loan will be paid off in February. I don't know how others do it, as I am making doo-doo money now. Yes, the difference in social work and counseling is how you get those hours. I need 3,600 hours after my degree, but at least I am getting paid! I also had internship requirements, which I got credits for. Only one is required, but I did 2 internships, as I felt as a career changer, I needed as much experience as I could get. I was employed within a month of graduation. I am glad I went to Lesley University, as I see the differences in those who went to other schools.
    Taking out loans and going to private colleges is par for the course here. Not so, in AZ. Hey, when I went to ASU, I paid 340 dollars a year...
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  2. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogmama View Post
    I'm relieved to hear about people who also flounder in retirement. My working friends roll their eyes at me. I used to think the same thing and I do enjoy my freedom. But I would like to have a purpose. I've done lots of volunteer work and will continue, but it's not the same as a job where people expect you to be there & depend on you.
    I can totally relate, Dogmama! I retired last August (2011) a week before we moved down to Belize. Since then I've been blogging, and we have been traveling whenever finances allow, but I have been bored a lot of the time. Not used to that! I recently volunteered to be the webmaster for the local humane society, but the amount of time it requires is minimal (5-6 hours a week or so). I am not "officially" allowed to work or volunteer here since we are not permanent residents, and the government does not want anyone on a tourist visa to take away work that a local might be able to perform, even on a volunteer basis, which is so strange to me. But no one thinks they'll notice or care about a behind-the-scenes webmaster role, so I was willing to take that on.

    It's definitely a very odd-feeling transition to suddenly not be working after working my entire adult life. I was used to being "needed", being a part of a team, drawing a good paycheck, having insurance through my job, and all those little perks that come with it. I was also very, very tired of the politics and even of the work, which, by the end, was just changing so fast and becoming less and less engaging for me than it had been in the earlier years. I was a software engineer in the telecom industry, and it's really a job that is geared more towards the 20- and 30-somethings who are willing to put in the killer hours and are up on all the latest technology. In my last five years or so on the job, I felt old and out-paced by the younger folks being hired. I was ready to leave and overall don't miss it, just certain aspects of it. If I were offered my old job back, I wouldn't take it.

    I read a lot of articles online and found that it's incredibly normal to feel a real loss of "self" when you retire from a career you've done for years or decades. It's not just us. It takes time, too, to find that next identity. I am still working on that part. But I do know that even though I miss the structure of work and many of my co-workers, I don't miss having to go to work every day, having to get up with an alarm clock, the politics, or being told what to do all the time. I can't imagine ever going back to that.

    I hope you find your way, whatever it turns out to be. From what you've told us, I think working with dogs would be a fabulous niche for you. Once we are no longer traveling much, I would like to volunteer to work with a Boston Terrier rescue group myself. There are so many opportunities to make a difference that do not involve drawing a salary! I don't think I'd ever go back to school or start another paying career unless I needed to financially. I feel very fortunate that I don't "need" to work for money as I was able to earn a good salary and sock a lot of it away over the years, and DH and I have lived below our means for our entire marriage (27 years so far).

    Best of luck as you figure this all out!
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
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  3. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
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    On my bike
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    2,505
    Does anybody ever feel the least bit guilty? Somedays I feel I should be thanking my lucky stars that I don't have to work - and believe me - I do NOT miss the alarm clock, constant pressure etc. as Emily said. I do like my freedom to go to yoga in the middle of the morning or take an extra long bike ride. But my still employed friends are really envious that I retired so early (age 54.)

    To my defense, I worked 36 years in a job that became increasingly more difficult. There were days that I'd burst into tears as I pulled into the parking space because the pressure was enormous (budget cuts, demanding faculty, out of touch administrators, lackadaisical staff). I always felt that when I retired, I would remember that I earned it.

    But there are times that I feel like I'm too young and I should still be in the mill (slowly being ground to a pulp?). One of my huge goals was to become more centered and calm. I thought it would happen a lot sooner.
    To train a dog, you must be more interesting than dirt.

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  4. #19
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    Jul 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogmama View Post
    Does anybody ever feel the least bit guilty? Somedays I feel I should be thanking my lucky stars that I don't have to work - and believe me - I do NOT miss the alarm clock, constant pressure etc. as Emily said. I do like my freedom to go to yoga in the middle of the morning or take an extra long bike ride. But my still employed friends are really envious that I retired so early (age 54.)

    To my defense, I worked 36 years in a job that became increasingly more difficult. There were days that I'd burst into tears as I pulled into the parking space because the pressure was enormous (budget cuts, demanding faculty, out of touch administrators, lackadaisical staff). I always felt that when I retired, I would remember that I earned it.

    But there are times that I feel like I'm too young and I should still be in the mill (slowly being ground to a pulp?). One of my huge goals was to become more centered and calm. I thought it would happen a lot sooner.
    Yes, I feel a bit guilty at times. I am "only" 51 and most of my work peers are a little older than me, so I was one of the "younger" ones and retiring before them. But our life circumstances were different. The majority of them had children to support through high school and college. We are childless (not by choice, but infertility). And some of them had vacation homes or much more expensive cars, clothes, etc. than we did. Most went out to eat a lot more than us, got regular massages, hair colorings, and had fancier toys (iPhones, etc.) We were down to one car, biked whenever we could, and I took the bus to work my last year there. So, in some cases it was their choice to work longer to support their lifestyles. In some cases they really needed to work to put kids through school. So I don't feel that guilty, just fortunate that I was able to get off the treadmill. Especially when a bunch of them got laid off just 8 months after I left voluntarily. I was so relieved that I got to walk out of there on my terms, with two parties and a cake, rather than be shown the door 8 months later. I know I would have been devastated to have my long career end that way and taken it very personally.

    I mostly feel like I earned my early retirement. I did work hard, shed tears as well, and I scrimped on many things over the years to be able to retire early. And it's not like we're living like kings now. We do live in what many would consider an enviable location, but we live simply, don't have a car, and our expenses are quite low. Our only splurge is travel, and even that we do on the cheap, taking local buses whenever possible and staying in inexpensive places. We can start drawing on my DH's 401K next year and over time more of our retirement funds will start opening up to us, but for now we're living very carefully. So do I really feel guilty -- not so much. Guilt is certainly no reason to continue working if you don't want to or have to!
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    Although I "retired," went back to school, and now work in a career where I make less than my 30 year old son, I do not feel guilty. Why should I feel guilty when our money has been earned through our own hard work and education?
    Although teaching is not thought of as a high paying career, I was making a high five figure salary when I quit. Believe me, I did have a problem giving that up. Not because it meant changes in my lifestyle, but because mentally, I knew I could damn well take care of myself. And that was very, very important to me. For the last five years or so of my teaching career, I never thought once about spending money on something for myself. All of a sudden, I felt dependent on someone. I am over that, now, but it was a very big deal at the time. Like Emily, I was bored all of the time during the one semester I was doing nothing, and that played into my whole illness thing which happened at the same time. I even went back and did a long term sub job the next semester, which really solidified my decision to go back to school. I went on the interviews and got accepted into the program while I was doing this job.
    If people want to be jealous because we can live the way we do on my DH's salary, so be it. His path to a highly paid professional career was very untraditional and involved owning his own business when we met (a lunch truck), going back to school at the same time we were young marrieds, had a baby, and a nice new house. The semester before he graduated, he sold his business to finish school and stay home with DS #1, Financially, it set us back for years, but it was so worth it. When he got his first professional job in 1983, I was making more money, as a teacher! Things were good, until we moved back here in 1990, where it again, took us years to catch up, and involved living in a community with schools that weren't so great and definitely feeling like we didn't belong. Finally, in the late nineties, things started coming together. By the time DS #1 went to college we were debt free, which was our goal. We sacrificed so our kids could be brought up the way I was brought up, and this played a huge part in the decision for us to move back to MA. Life was very easy for us in AZ, where not every person has a masters degree and family money.
    I see my career as my "giving back" career. Although teaching falls squarely in the human services area, I spent a lot of time taking classes, away from my young kids, to maximize my salary when I needed it. And, I definitely would have burned out if I had been counseling as a young person. I don't see how a younger person could do this without some life experience perspective. I've had several clients verify my thoughts here, too. While they don't know how old I am, they know I have adult kids.
    I am so much happier having a flexible schedule. I can ride my bike during the week, go out for coffee with a friend, and schedule a hair cut on Monday mornings. I work very hard 3 days a week, and just a little 2 days a week. It's perfect for me.
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  6. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
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    On my bike
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    I also did the "scrimp & save" for many years so that I wouldn't be cash strapped in retirement. We don't live in a big house, have fancy cars or go to dinner often (one exception - my Project One Trek but I road my last steel bike for 17 years!.) AND, I have to remind myself, that unlike so many of my peers, I hung in with my job because I had a pension coming at full retirement - called "golden handcuffs." We did pay off the house & the car loan shortly after I retired so we could be debt free. Our vacations are not frequent. The only reason I don't clip coupons is because I don't eat sugar puffs, boxed mac & cheese, etc.

    Many of my friends jump from job to job & now at ages 50-60, they have very little savings & their retirement will come mostly from their social security check. Believe me, there were days/weeks/months that I wanted to say, Screw You and walk out, but I didn't. At the University, if you aren't faculty or a student, you are on the bottom of the food chain. I was considered management, had the fiscal and human resources responsibilities for a school but yet if Joe Blow Faculty member was trying to get a grant in on December 24, (because he procrastinated until the last minute) I had to be there, crunching the numbers & putting it together for submission (it happened - and then the jerk decided at the last minute to NOT submit!) So, yeah, looking back, I did earn it.

    OK - so how do you handle the jealousy? I'm riding today with a friend who believes that I sit around all day long & do my nails. I get the "Gee, it must be nice!" comments. Maybe I need to get different friends. Yet, I do volunteer work and keep really busy with the things I always wanted to do when I was doing the 8-5. DH is a cancer survivor and diabetic, so I spend time cooking because I'm a huge believer in food as medicine. I actually have time to work with my dog in obedience & agility. And it goes on. So, my nails are usually fairly ragged & certainly not as nice as when I was working. A computer keyboard is much easier on cuticles!
    To train a dog, you must be more interesting than dirt.

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  7. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    1,162
    in my circle of friends, I am referred to as a Star Fish - when a starfish loses a leg it simply grows a new one. The economic changes of the last five years hit me full force so I have learned to grow "legs"

    Not to rain on the career changing ideas as I went from being a Social Worker into many careers related to the real estate world. What I discovered is going back to the world of social services (at least in Idaho) has not panned out for me - I am 56. I have not "worked" for someone other than myself and my DH since 2008.

    On a positive note, I love my "job". We scaled down our lives dramatically and live above our little bike shop. Our business model is such that we can take long weekends to do what we want, and we should be able to "work" for many, many years to come.
    On the down side, we did have to kick the kids to the curb and they have way more school debt than we intended but when life throws lemons I do my best to make lemonade.

    Good Luck Dogmama, go where your heart takes you and vow for no more careers that leave you sobbing in the parking lot.
    Sky King
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  8. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
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    As for dealing with other's jealousy, Dogmama, you just have to choose not to internalize other people's issues. When they say "it must be nice, just smile and say "yes, it is". You owe no apologies or explanations, and you certainly shouldn't feel guilty. Who cares what they think you do all day? If someone in your life becomes obnoxious about it, confront them. But by the same token, I'd examine your own reaction to the more innocent of the comments. By your own admission, you have mixed feelings about your own retirement. Try not to feel defensive about it when someone expresses a bit a harmless envy.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
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    +1, Indy.
    I haven't encountered any jealousy, just my one friend (the one who I have written about here, that I can't tolerate much anymore) who told another mutual friend that she couldn't understand why I would choose to go back to work/school when I didn't have to. In a way, she's jealous, because she always talks about what she is going to do, but then says she "can't."
    My dad worked until he was 85 (he's almost 88), mostly to supplement his social security, but also to keep him busy. He's going a little nuts now, being at home. My grandfather worked until the day he died, at 91, from the after effects of a car accident. His colleagues were constantly asking him when he was going to either retire or die (), as they wanted his customers. He sold scrap metal although he had gone to law school, and he actually was not that financially successful until he was well into his 60s.
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  10. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogmama View Post
    OK - so how do you handle the jealousy? I'm riding today with a friend who believes that I sit around all day long & do my nails. I get the "Gee, it must be nice!" comments. Maybe I need to get different friends. Yet, I do volunteer work and keep really busy with the things I always wanted to do when I was doing the 8-5. DH is a cancer survivor and diabetic, so I spend time cooking because I'm a huge believer in food as medicine. I actually have time to work with my dog in obedience & agility. And it goes on. So, my nails are usually fairly ragged & certainly not as nice as when I was working. A computer keyboard is much easier on cuticles!
    I get this sometimes too, though the vast majority of friends and family seem to be genuinely happy for us (though I am sure there are a few who talk behind our backs). When I do get "comments", though, I usually say something like "Yes, it is nice. But it's also a little scary not having a regular paycheck, only having catastrophic health insurance, and to be living on our savings rather than continuing to sock money away. There are pluses and minuses to either way."

    That usually shuts 'em up. We gained a lot in retiring early (and in our situation, we're both retired, so I am not living off my DH's salary or benefits), but we gave up certain things that most people in our society value as well. So it's a double-edged sword, and once people think about it, many are not yet ready to retire on the kind of terms we were willing to retire on.
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
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    14,501
    I don't think I get any serious jealousy. People make comments, sure, but it doesn't really interfere with my friendships with people who are still working. Come to think of it - any more, most of the people I know are retired or semi-retired, just because I do weekday bike rides and daytime yoga classes.

    As far as guilt, it goes the other way for me. I would really prefer to be pulling in a paycheck just because of the relationship dynamics of being supported by DH. I could never come close to his income, but at least I could feel like I was contributing. But in this economy, I don't feel like I have a right to take a job that someone else needs.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Sillycon Valley, California
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    4,870
    Quote Originally Posted by malkin View Post
    Ok...a little OT here... I was just being bugged by my job, and read this thread, and shouted to Brewer (in the next room) Maybe I could become a fitness instructor! and he replied enthusiastically, "I think you'd make a fine chicken inspector!"
    Awesome.

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Black Forest, CO
    Posts
    26
    Quote Originally Posted by malkin View Post
    Ok...a little OT here... I was just being bugged by my job, and read this thread, and shouted to Brewer (in the next room) Maybe I could become a fitness instructor! and he replied enthusiastically, "I think you'd make a fine chicken inspector!"
    Hah! Never thought about being a chicken inspector, but thanks for all the great posts ladies. I'm retiring next month and I appreciate reading all the different perspectives. Lots to think about.

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    866
    Taking a big risk and changing directions is scary, but it was one of the best things that happened to me career-wise. I was laid off from my college administrator job, floundered for a year and then eventually listened to my heart which kept yearning to be set free from the office setting and to train my hands to help people through massage. I'm six months into school and have never felt so fulfilled and eager to start each day.
    Girl meets bike. Bike leads girl to a life of grime: http://mudandmanoloscycling.com/

  15. #30
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,023
    I know I'm a little late to the party here, but I have a few thoughts to contribute as the queen of career change.

    Many of you are familiar with my story. I started out with a BA in Sociology, spent 7.5 years in retail management and then quit because I was dissatisfied. I ended up back in school (in my early 30's) to take some math-related courses (since I'd applied for my MBA years earlier and was wait-listed for 'no proven math abilities"). Somehow, one class let to another and before I knew it, I was thinking about an engineering degree instead. I had to take so many back classes that I ended up with a BS and an MS in 5 years. I started my career as an electrical engineer before I'd defended my thesis. Oh, and I got straight A's in math, so those other schools missed out!

    As an engineer, I've worked for three companies, doing essentially variations on the same job. While it was challenging enough for me, I never found it truly fulfilling at all. I began to flounder. This was about a year and a half ago. I loved my current company, where I currently lived...but I was pretty much never going to be the star-pupil engineer that I was capable of being because I just wasn't that interested in the job. I seriously considered vet school at that point. I was investigating the remedial classwork that I'd need in order to get in and was trying to figure out the finances when my current role got created at my company. I'm now the College Program Manager and I get to use both my technical background AND my business background to create a college program for our company (the company I love!) and have a huge impact. The timing couldn't have been better and I am 150% happier now. I am on campuses and interacting with students, professors, post-docs and the like all the time. Do NOT let age deter you. In fact, since I do all the recruiting for recent grads for my company, I can tell you that a candidate with life experience AND a relevant degree is significantly more in demand that the young person with just the degree. And this is in an extremely high tech, cutting-edge industry.

    In addition to all of the above, we bought and fell in love with small farming and animal husbandry aobut 5 years ago. I spent my whole life ignoring the idea of 'retirement' because I had no idea what I would do with myself. I couldn't even imagine not working, not being career-driven, etc. Until I found what I loved...which is this farming. So my husband and I have taken some pretty drastic steps lately to change our lives and plans and retire in 10 years so that we can farm again. For the first time in my life, I'm looking forward to retirement!

    What is funny is that I might mention our plans to do the farming thing after we retire to people, but I never mention that the goal is to do it in 10 years. I just let people think we are crazy enough to want to do this at 65. ;-) You are right that retiring younger is often viewed as decadent or privileged and it's sometimes a bit uncomfortable. I get that. But you've worked hard to get to where you are now, so don't let others rain on your parade!

    So what is my point? Let's see.
    1) do not let age deter you from furthering your education or choosing a new career.
    2) making a career change is challenging but certainly in my case, completely worth it.
    3) do what you love.
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

 

 

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