REDUCTION IN FORCE. Layoff. Redundancy. For months now, the media have been running articles about technology companies shedding workers.
In October, the headlines became personal: My manager eliminated my position. It was the first layoff in my 37-year career and an early 60th birthday surprise. My last day would be in mid-December. After another year of positive performance reviews and accompanying financial rewards, the news was a shocker.
After that fateful call with my boss,
IN THE SHORT TIME I’ve been writing for HumbleDollar, I’ve noticed that most readers and writers are either on the cusp of retirement or not too far along in retirement. Some have expressed a desire to find new careers, perhaps part-time and preferably more challenging than being a Walmart greeter or Home Depot helper. As they say, 60 is the new 40—still time for new ventures.
Life coaching is a profession that’s become more mainstream and,
I’VE BEEN AN IMPOSTER all my life. In high school, I drove my silver Corvette Stingray into the teachers’ parking lot, revving the engine to announce my arrival. But once I came out from under my shades and joined the throng of students converging on the entrance, I reverted to the shy introvert walking tentatively with his head down.
From time to time, we all take on the role of great pretender to hide our fears of failure and humiliation,
I ONCE DABBLED IN the world of sales. I wasn’t very good at it. In 1997, I got a job at Schwan’s, driving one of those yellow trucks you see in neighborhoods all over the U.S. selling frozen treats, ice cream and a variety of food. I thought it would be a delivery and service job. But I found out during the orientation and training that there was an element of sales.
I read the books of motivational speaker Zig Ziglar in my free time and got some basic training in sales from the company.
BACK IN 1989, AS I was finishing the final semester of my undergraduate degree in India, I managed to bag two decent job offers. The first was from a government organization in my hometown, and the second was from an out-of-state private company in western India. I had a few weeks to make up my mind.
I was leaning toward the second offer. Not only did the idea of living on my own in a faraway town sound adventurous,
I STEPPED TO THE podium for the first time in more than three years. My presentation skills were perhaps a bit rusty, but I jumped at the opportunity earlier this month to speak at my former employer’s annual symposium. It felt great to see so many familiar and friendly faces, including old teammates, workplace acquaintances and former clients. It was also no big secret that I was curious about an open position at the company.
MY FATHER RETIRED from a 35-year teaching career in 2002, when he was 56 years old. He hasn’t worked a day since. For years, his retirement was the primary model for my retirement aspirations—until I realized my path needed to diverge.
Like many dads, he worked a career he tolerated but probably didn’t love. It provided our family with a comfortable lifestyle in the suburbs of a low-cost-of-living city. Teaching enabled him to be ever-present during my youth,
RETIREMENT IS A HUGE decision, as readers of HumbleDollar well know. Retirement from a multi-generational business is even harder, because there isn’t really a day when you can say, “I’m retired.” Like the Hotel California, “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”
I’m 65. That’s an age that carries a lot of social expectations. Age is not a continuum, but rather a series of milestones,
OVER EIGHT MILLION Americans have said “so long” to the U.S., heading overseas to work or retire. These expats—short for expatriates—most likely have eight million different reasons to leave our shores for life in another country. My wife’s cousin Chuck and her brother John are among them.
John had his eye on living abroad when he took his first engineering job with Litton Aero Products, where he helped support aviation customers in the Middle East.
I GREW UP IN a blue-collar family. When money was tight, one strategy my dad used to improve the situation was simple but effective. Overtime, time-and-a-half and double-time were all terms I heard frequently throughout my childhood.
In this Iowa factory town, those words can still be regularly heard at the taverns, bowling alley and family get-togethers. Overtime is the gift that can make a low-paying factory job worthwhile. Time-and-a-half turns that $12 job into a far more palatable $18 an hour,
I RECENTLY WROTE about taking a seasonal part-time position during the holidays. My job at the bookstore has now ended. Later this year, I’ll decide whether I want to take another part-time job. With that in mind, I thought I’d review the good and not-so-good aspects of the job, while they’re still fresh in my memory.
Let’s start with the plusses. First, the job gave structure to my weeks. My employer provided me with a work schedule three weeks in advance.
THERE’S TRADITIONAL career advice, such as clarify your goals, master essential skills, promote yourself, network and work smarter, not harder—whatever that means.
While this general advice is great, it’s no sure-fire formula. There’s no guarantee that if you work hard and smart, you’ll get a promotion and a pay raise. Traditional career advice tends to assume that you, your boss and the company are all behaving logically, and that the system reflects that logic.
I LOST A MATCH ON Nov. 12 against my former tag-team partner, Kevin Gutierrez, who wrestles under the colorful name “Corn Boi.” It was a classic Lucha Libre stipulation match. I put my mask on the line, and Kevin would cut his shoulder-length hair if he lost. Mask versus hair—or, as they say in Mexico, mascara versus cabellera.
We had many tried-and-true plot lines going for us. Teacher versus student. Old friends and tag partners who were now fighting furiously against each other.
I’M RETIRED, BUT I KEEP fairly busy. From January through April, I volunteer at AARP, helping folks file their income taxes. From May through October, our vegetable garden keeps me occupied. That leaves November and December as a slow period. There’s some volunteering that I do, but nothing that fills up large amounts of time.
This year, I thought I might try some seasonal part-time work to keep myself occupied. Retailers usually need help during the holiday season.
WANT TO BE A PERSONAL finance columnist? I can’t claim expertise on many topics, but this is one where I draw on a lifetime of experience.
And it isn’t just as a writer. At HumbleDollar, I have a hand in editing every piece that appears, plus I get to see the numbers on which articles catch readers’ attention—and which get the cold shoulder.
To be sure, popularity isn’t necessarily the best way to gauge an article’s quality.