To Work or Not To Work?

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.

5 responses to “To Work or Not To Work?

  1. As you know, I love retirement! And if you like to work, you can still do it once you’re 66 and not have any reduction in Social Security.

  2. Ya know, in Florida, your company can fire you because they want to. They can fire you because the sun came up.

    As for retirement I find it great. It’s kinda like when I quit smoking in 1982. For years I would have nightmares that I was smoking again only to wake up to the great relief that it was only a dream. Now I have dreams about working and wake up relieved that I am retired.

    I still have a lot of work to do with housework, yard work, grocery getting and meal planning. But I have many more leisure hours to do the things I never had time to do when I was someone else’s bitch. And I can read whenever I choose:)

  3. You sure about that sc? No reduction?
    pt, I love your comment about “because the sun came up”. That’s true in theory, but in practice, it isn’t true, even in Right-To-Work states like Florida. It is still true that you can’t fire people in a protected class without well-documented cause.
    I wonder if my love of work is different from your experience because I have a lot of freedom. In my first job after college, working for the State of Tennessee, it didn’t take long for me to figure out that they were more interested in what time you got to work and what time you left than what you did in between those hours. If that were still my experience, I would have tried to figure out a way to retire at 24.

  4. I am facing the same prospect. I participated I a team triathlon yesterday with my staff. I enjoy the engagement with them day in, day out whether on work or other matters.
    I certainly don’t want that aspect to end.

  5. pt, I love your comment about “because the sun came up”. That’s true in theory, but in practice, it isn’t true, even in Right-To-Work states like Florida. It is still true that you can’t fire people in a protected class without well-documented cause.

    No ma’am. If I fire you “unjustly” you are still fired because I stop your pay and bar you from the workplace.. While you are fired you have no income after all is settled and you are not working. There are some courses to appeal but you are still fired. How will you fight it? With time and money. And if you can prove sexual or racial discrimination you may get a settlement after the time and expense. But that is for younger people who have other sources of income. Truthfully age discrimination is not something the legal community wishes to pursue unless you have a pot of money. It is very difficult to prove in a short term action.

    Always remember stupid is not a protected class. So I can always claim you did things stupidly. Then you have to prove you are not stupid.

    Your company may want you to document to prevent unemployment claims, or class actions and I would advise you to do the same, but that is the main reason. I liked to document a because it gave me a clear conscience for my actions, and it is just more humane.

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