One of the things I have enjoyed about incorporating a part-time job into my retirement is the chance to get to be someone different from time to time. As with many people, my career played a large part in defining who I was before I retired. It was a major ingredient my identity. It’s the same with retirement, really. When I tell people that I am retired, the word retired conveys an identity as well. People have an image of retirement, and whether that image accurately reflects how I live my retirement or not, it certainly identifies me in a particular way.
I’ve written about how hard it is to say what I “do” when I’m small-talking with a new acquaintance. When we meet someone new, the small talk about our occupations is really just to gain context for getting to know one another. It’s a jumping-off point for conversation. Just as “finance-professional” didn’t really express who I was before I retired, “retired” doesn’t really cover who I am since retirement. Having another dimension to my retirement gives me a chance to indulge in a bit of split personality.
Personality 1: Writer/Blogger
When I first retired and would meet someone that I wasn’t likely to have an intimate on-going relationship with, I generally answered “aspiring writer” to those questions. My hairdresser and my dental hygienist, casual conversations with strangers in waiting rooms and grocery lines, those are the relationships that I chose to convey this persona to. And especially to hard-working folks that don’t like their jobs, I am usually reluctant to tell them I’m retired at such a young age.
Personality 2: Retired
For people with whom I’m likely to build an ongoing, intimate relationship, “retired” seems to be the best way to categorize my life. That’s why I can meet up with them at practically any time, why I have the time to read so many books, take so many classes, and travel so frequently. If a person is going to really know me, they will ultimately wonder how I’m able to have such a flexible life, so I might as well explain that at the beginning of the relationship.
Personality 3: Part-time venture capital CFO
I’m taking an angel investing class at our local university. I tell the people that I meet there, that I work part-time as a CFO at a venture capital firm. At the first class, we all introduced ourselves and explained why we were taking the class. I’m taking it to get more enjoyment out of the experience of my part-time consulting gig. Sometimes I resort to this persona in other situations as well, instead of the writer/blogger one.
For some other advantages of incorporating a little work into your retirement, read my post this week at U.S. News, 10 Reasons to Work Part-Time in Retirement.
This is a post from Retirement: A Full-Time Job.