That is the question.
I have to start thinking about it, whether I like it or not. Even writing this makes me anxious. Of course, a lot of things make me anxious, so what’s new?
For the non-U.S. readers here, here’s how it works: people who work pay into a government fund called “Social Security”. The law establishing it took effect in 1935. When you work, a certain amount of each paycheck goes into the fund. When you reach a certain age (currently, 62), you become eligible to start getting that money back in monthly installments.
That’s the simplistic explanation. Age 62 is the earliest you can begin receiving retirement benefits (earlier if you are disabled, but that’s a whole other topic), but you only get a percentage at that age, currently 75%, Depending on when you were born, your “full” retirement age, at which you get 100% of your benefits, is later. In my case, age 66. And I’m almost there. And I don’t want to retire.
I know a couple of people who are recently retired, others who have been retired for a while, and many others who haven’t yet retired but are greatly looking forward to it. But I wonder, what would I do with myself? And I like the validation that work brings.
Last week I met with a bunch of contractors and a developer regarding an operation I’m about to be in charge of. It was about eight guys and me…not uncommon in my business. The contractor guys were like a bunch of chained pit bulls. Teeth bared, waiting for signs of weakness from the other guys, lots of testosterone flying around. Once the growls and the posturing died down, developer guy would turn to me and say, “Do you think this idea will work?” That was very cool. Where else would I get that?
Later, in the elevator, developer guy said he wanted to thank me because he so appreciated my advice and counsel. As long as I can continue to get that sort of reaction, and form those sorts of relationships, I’m safe.
But the reality is…I am getting older. My company can’t fire me for being old, but they can fire me for failure to perform. I’m a manager. I know how this works. And I fear that will happen at some point, but I don’t want it to.
To Work or Not To Work?
That is the question.