EVEN BEFORE COVID-19, I was no stranger to working remotely. From 2011 until I retired in 2018, I worked for a major bank from my home office. I started working remotely a few days a week and then, in 2013, requested to work fulltime from home. This was met with skepticism from friends, colleagues and supervisors.
They had concerns that working remotely would make it difficult to connect with others and to get promoted.
WHEN I WAS A KID growing up in the 1940s and ’50s, I didn’t get an allowance. In my family, we had to earn our spending money—and earn we did. My childhood included working at all kinds of jobs, some of which kids today wouldn’t even recognize. Shoveling coal and hauling ashes? Please.
My recollection of my childhood jobs goes like this:
At age eight or so, I operated a lemonade stand in front of our apartment building.
I HAD SOME GOOD bosses and some bad ones over my 35-year career. The worst was Joe. He tried to intimidate you. I once overheard him tell another manager that he likes to ride his employees and dig his spurs into them.
What was so terrible about Joe? It wasn’t that he was tough on employees. It was that he was unfair. You incurred his wrath whether you deserved it or not.
I remember the first time I attended a meeting held by Joe.
EVER SINCE COVID-19 disrupted our lives, I don’t go to the gym that often. I usually work out on my own. When I go, I sometimes see Tony. Tony is still Tony. He’s a chronic complainer. It’s usually about little things.
The other day, he was chatting with a woman at the gym. While Tony was talking, she gave me a smile. It was her way of warning me that Tony was complaining again.
THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC has disrupted so many aspects of our lives. I was reminded of that recently at, of all places, a bar in the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, airport.
My wife and I were returning from our 40th wedding anniversary trip to Charleston, South Carolina, and Sunset Beach, North Carolina. Our evening flight was delayed, so we decided to get a glass of wine at a small kiosk bar in the terminal.
The bartender was a young woman in her early 20s.
WHEN I WAS GROWING up, my mother thought the best way to relieve my boredom during summer vacations was to get a job. She was a valued employee at a local business and she knew the firm was hiring.
I asked if part of the job was to calculate change for customers when they made a purchase. That terrified me. My mother said she wasn’t sure, but that I’d learn to do it if it was required.
IT SEEMS ALL MY LIFE I’ve been obsessed with one thing: not being average. It would be nice to be the best or the highest rated. But I have been happy simply to avoid average.
I grew up in a very average family. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. Throughout school, I was very average. But in my first job as a mail boy, I went to work wearing a dress shirt and tie.
HALF OF THE COLLEGE students I taught last semester just graduated. A few are going on to graduate school, but most are starting accounting, finance or other business careers. For my classes with a heavy concentration of seniors, I reserve the last five minutes of the final class to give them a few career tips. In keeping with my overall teaching approach, I keep the message simple: Do what you enjoy.
Now, this isn’t the usual “follow your passion” pitch you hear in so many commencement addresses.
I RECALL PAYDAY IN 1961, when I was at my first job. There was a paymaster who would deliver our paychecks. At break time, we would be off to the nearest bank to cash our checks. I deposited most of mine in a savings account, plus $2 in my Christmas Club account. But many of my fellow workers took the whole check in cash.
I always thought taking cash was a bit risky. I once got up the nerve to ask a few friends why they took cash.
RECENT NEWS ARTICLES have noted the sharp increase in early retirements, many triggered by the pandemic. Just over 50% of Americans age 55 and older are now retired, a two percentage point increase from 2019, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.
I have several friends and colleagues who are bucking that trend and instead delaying their retirement. They’re financially set but concerned about the transition from fulltime work to “doing nothing.” Yet some of these same workers are also struggling with changes in their companies and industries.
THE SIREN SONG of a side hustle is alluring in theory—but not in reality. We’re beset by platitudes such as “to become wealthy, you need multiple streams of income.” Many folks, I suspect, take on a side hustle without fully understanding the costs. They imagine it’s an opportunity to monetize their hobbies or interests and achieve their financial goals faster.
Let’s face it: “Second job” just doesn’t sound sexy, so financial bloggers and the media favor “side hustle,” an apparently more glamorous term.
I LET MY EMPLOYER know last week that I’m leaving. It’s a strange feeling to think I’ll soon be saying goodbye to the daily routine I’ve followed for more than two decades.
When I began working at the college, I was 31 years old. If I wore my blonde hair up in a ponytail, I was often mistaken for a student. But working at a college provides a unique perspective on aging. Every year,
IN PROFESSIONAL sports, superlatives are often overdone. Even the GOAT designation—greatest of all time—is sometimes applied prematurely. But love him or hate him, Tom Brady is arguably the GOAT among NFL quarterbacks and perhaps among all NFL players. For proof, look no further than his collection of record-breaking statistics, Super Bowl rings and most valuable player awards.
Could it be that he has added another GOAT designation with his epic fail at retirement? Brady reversed his retirement announcement from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after just 40 days.
BY THE TIME WE GET to middle age, we all supposedly have a book inside us. (Maybe that explains the weight gain.) We have a wealth of experience we want to share. Perhaps it’s about money. Maybe we want to tell the family history. Perhaps there’s a great novel we’ve been writing in our head for years. We finally sit down and hammer it out and, of course, edit and rewrite, rinse and repeat,
THE LATE JOHN BOGLE, in his book Enough, tells a wonderful story about Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller. At a dinner party, Vonnegut asks Heller what it was like knowing that another guest made more in a day than Heller had ever made from his bestselling book Catch-22. Heller replied that he had something that the other guest would never have—enough.
I had forgotten my own story of enough,