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December 04, 2012

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Cyclesafe

Chris, knock on wood, but if you look at your back in the mirror I'd guess there is a big bull's eye painted on it. If you think you're not worth the money you're getting, others are probably thinking the same way too.

So this process you're going through IMHO could be quite timely. You're now in a much more useful frame of mind than if you were unexpectedly riding down the elevator at 10AM holding a cardboard box of your personal stuff.

I'd also discus your curent thinking with trusted family and friends so if (God forbid) you do get the axe, it won't seem like "sour grapes" if you declare that you're better off without your ex-job. Believe me, this is important.

Along with driving your current thinking to its conclusion (whatever it might be), you might want to angle now for a more generous separation package. They'll want you do go with a smile on your face - difficult to do if the separation wasn't your idea.

Chris

Didn't expect to get such great psychological counsling on a blog, thatnks for the interest as I go through this same process that sounds like many on this site have already had the pleasure to go through.

Cyclesafe - Very perceptive. I've been in what I call a passive resistance mode to their recent ideas for me to relocate, one more time. And suspect you are right, if I don't play along, why keep me around? So guess that's my real issue.

Bottom line, I need to "retire". And actually want to..., Syd's a great example, despite the whole boredom thing :)>

Also intrigued by thought of angling for a seperation package. Have just been assuming I'd say I quit, and leave without any parting gifts. Any insights from anyone on how to turn that conversation into a severance package conversation, without as you say, creating a sour grapes moment?

Thanks, Chris

Retired Syd

Chris and Cyclesafe: Interesting to watch your conversation. I don't think I would have figured that observation out--that's why it's so great to have some other voices around.

There is another blogger, Sam at Financial Samurai that just retired and wrote a book about negotiating a separation package. That's not something I did, so I can't pass along any wisdom there. You might check out his posts on the subject and/or his book: http://www.financialsamurai.com.

Chris

Thanks for the link, Retired Syd. And not trying to hurt anyone's feelings, but this guy, Sam, sounds like a used car salesman.

However, this overall conversation has been helpful. I'm not actually at near term risk of having a "bullseye on my back" but the comment does point out that if I continue to overstay in a job, when what I really want to do is retire, why should they keep me around?

After 25 years of doing what I'm "supposed" to, I have reached the end of my rope. I have enough saved to live a good life without being a target for Obama's class warfare comments any longer, and am ready to move on. And I'm not going to cheapen my long standing reputation by trying to get something for nothing. (e.g. trying to guilt/threaten someone into giving me a severance package). That would actually make me just like one of Obama's followers and although I bet I could make it happen, it would destroy my self respect, since in my heart I know I didn't "earn" it.

Thanks again for the discussion.

Chris (aka soon-to-be Retired Chris)

Cyclesafe

I think that an employer may want to incentivize an x-executive to continue to behave in the employer's best interest. And this can be "angled" to be good for both parties.

For example. They may want to be assured that you will refrain from going into direct competition for a period of time. Or, they may want you to not exercise vested stock options right away. Or they may want to lock you into a confidentiality agreement - stockholders will even call you at home hoping for the "straight scoop". there are many "win-win" reasons an employer may want to give you money when you quit - don't disregard the possibilities...

Chris

Cycle-Safe. Really appreciate the perspective. But it just seems so much more "honest" to say I am moving on with no hard feelings, etc. How do you "ask" for a severance (when its my idea to leave) without looking/feeling like a schmuck?

Chris

More ramblings....I promise will stop once I reach closure....

So just sold (almost) all of my stock options today. And I am legitimately "Free"!

But I still have to "tell them", which I seem to be really dreading...And then when I throw the idea of asking for severance into my thought process, seem to dread it even more. Somehow the severance idea has me kind of "molding" my reasons for leaving from the simple truth that I want to and am able; to the more complex idea that I might wind up at the competition so they better think of me as the enemy...Guess I don't want to naively leave something on the table but it feels like a stretch to go this route...Stupid?

The truth is,
1) I have enough (why confuse myself asking for more?)

2) I have definitely had enough. The mere thought of one more year in this corp circus makes me want to crawl into a hole.

but as for #3) Will I have enough to to do....? Hmmmm, this seems to be where I get stuck...And perhaps more importantly will friends/family suddenly assume I need their "help" finding something for me to do....Kind of surrenders my excuse to have my own space if don't have the job to complain about.....

Has anyone else already solved all these riddles...?

Tamara

Chris, truly, the world is made up of so much more than the time we humans spend wrapped up in our corporate America working lives. I can understand you not yet having clarity on where or what it is, but trust me, it's out there.

If I could wrap up my 18 months of post-retirement self discovery into a single paragraph I would, but it's a process, and there is no rushing it. All I can share is that my life has expanded to a degree of richness I never could have imagined 18 months ago. Each area of interest I ventured into led me to two or three other areas of interest to consider, until I literally ran out of time or energy to add anything more to my schedule and life.

The key to building a dynamic, stimulating "new" life is to stay engaged, and keep seeking out new interests until you find that thing or things that resonate personally.

I'm just as Type A in retirement as I was when I was working, just a whole heck of a lot happier.

Rick

I have enjoyed the comments. Chris -- good luck, and keep us posted. The parachute doesn't have a chance to open unless one jumps into the void.

I'm 53 and transitioning January 1 after many years of thoughtful preparation. I'm confident it will be a great adventure, including some exciting highs and some bloody falls. I'm fortunate my best friend (wife of 30 years)is sharing the journey with me.

Chris

Very inspiring, Tamara!
And nice to meet you, Rick.

Would be interested in your answers to Syd's 3 questions I attempted above...?

Rick

1. Have enough? Yes, although who knows what the future may hold. Like most people our age, we have a couple of financial backstops -- we are willing and able to spend less and/or work more if we choose (I am selling my interest in our firm but retaining an office and relationship so I can work on projects and generate income as desired).

2. Had enough? Yes. Professional and personal goals achieved, and ready for new adventures. As a sidebar for Chris -- I affirm your intentions to transition from your current post (whenever that occurs) in a way that makes you believe you did it the "right way."

3. Have enough to do? Yes, but it is not yet scripted so I'm looking forward to the process. I'm not looking just to fill time for the sake of being distracted. I expect that that there will be a learning curve in this new paradigm, and some confusion and uncertainty along the way. I've had a lifetime of concrete goal oriented activities and I'm ready, at least for the near term, for a different path. I'm fortunate that I already have many activities that I will continue, such as community involvement, church, close and active family, golf, health club (strength train, swim, cardio, yoga, etc.), reading, house projects (20 years of deferred maintenance leaves a pretty healthy "Honey Do" list), etc.

On a practical level, we have also worked through the health insurance issue, which I think is rightfully often a significant consideration for those transitioning prior to medicare eligibility.

Tamara

1. Have enough? Yes. We tried on our proposed budget a year before we completed our retirement transition to make sure it fit. (I went first, at 48, and my husband followed a year later at 56.)

2. Had enough? Yes. I had achieved everyone of my career aspirations and no longer felt mentally, spiritually or intellectually fed by my job. I was apparently ready to make the leap to Self Actualization on Maslow's hierarchy of needs chart.

An interesting side note - my company was doing a layoff two weeks before I planned to give my notice. When I learned of it, I thought, wow, wouldn't it be great to get called in and given a nice severance package instead of resigning on my own without one. On the morning of the layoffs, when I say the first set of people being called into the HR offices set up expressly for the layoffs, I felt nauseous. In that instant I knew I wanted to go out at the top of my game, on my terms, not somebody else's.

3. Have enough to do? Yes, then no, then yes. Although I was immediately busy, because I had spent time setting up activities to step right into, they weren't all necessarily good fits for the long haul. I kept at it, however, until I found things that did fit, and that's when my retirement really took off. My calendar is now full of opportunities each day that I deeply enjoy and find either stimulating, challenging or just plain fun. Every so often I just relax, but relaxation in and of itself doesn't really excite me, so that's not how I've structured my retirement.

BiknMike

My early retirement journey was similar to Chris' where I had stayed in one industry for many years and earned "lots" of money (perhaps not as good a gravy as his but...). I came to the point of realizing that I had hit the point of having "enough" money and that to continue working because I didn't know for sure what would follow afterwards didn't seem the healthiest approach for me at that point in my life.

By "letting go" of the job and career (and commute etc.), I freed up time and space in my life to explore things that I knew that I wanted to explore (relearning how to play bridge with my wife) as well as to be open to things that I wasn't even aware of wanting to do at the point of retiring (e.g. learning another language).

And I suspect that I am going to continue to grow and change in retirement as well as have life throw things at me that are unplanned surprises. I have come to realize that if things change in the future and if I need to jump back on the treadmill - I would be able to do that. The desire hasn't surfaced even once over the past 6 months since I retired (in fact, I'm so busy and enjoying everything that I do each day that I don't know how I ever had time to work in the first place!)but....if life happens, I know that I could go back and find something of interest that would pay me "enough".

Defining that point of "enough" on all of these points is a very personal journey that each of us takes and must come to that point of knowing when it is "right" for ourselves based on where we're at. But from this vantage point of having taken the leap in 5/2012...it was the right move for me at that point in time! Hope this helps!

Cyclesafe

I don't think I've mentioned it, but I am 58YO in my 13th year of retirement. I have busied myself with (insert long list of cool stuff), but frankly the thrill of doing these same sorts of things again (and again) is pretty much gone. After my last couple of trips I couldn't wait to get home.

So whether it's hedonistic adaptation or lack of an imagination, my boredom is very real and it was the google search for "boredom in retirement" that brought me here.

Positive solutions to boredom must be found before one succumbs to the ethereal solace found in drink, drugs, and rock n' roll.

Chris

All very interesting...and helpful as I try to get calibrated on what it would be like to take the leap and retire young (sort of)....Thanks!

Also, another thought related to the whole boredom subject....

Is boredom a function of whether you "feel" wealthy...?

Found a couple of stats as interesting background for the question:

- In a 2012 Fidelity investments survey (see link below), 74% of millionaires (averaging $3M) feel wealthy. The 26% who didn't feel wealthy said they would need $5M to feel wealthy.

(Interestingly, these results are different from a similar study conducted in 2011 that revealed millionaires who didn't feel wealthy would would need $7.5M to change their perspectives).

https://fidelityinstitutional.fidelity.com/fi/campaigns/mobasi/index.html

Tamara

For the life of me I can't figure out a correlation between the two. In my younger, less enlightened years, I assumed one needed money to have fun and alleviate boredom. In my older, more enlightened years, I understand boredom is a state of mind having nothing to do with the amount of money one has. My best days are spent outdoors hiking somewhere gorgeous with nothing but a backpack bladder full of water and a sack lunch.

Cyclesafe

If one spends money always bearing in mind the sacrifices one once made to earn it, one will NEVER feel wealthy. Anyway, fortunately (?!), just throwing money at boredom has a diminishing marginal return....

Rick

Are we bored, satisfied, distracted, happy? The dialogue reminds me of a statement from an address Jesuit Michael Himes shared with college students on discernment. I enjoyed it and perhaps others may find it profitable as well .....

The 20th Century poet Marianne Moore claims, “Satisfaction is a lowly thing. How pure a thing is joy.” Contentment is an obstacle. Joy always pushes us forward. It’s a impulsion, a pressure to move forward, to do more (think Magis), to expend oneself more deeply, more richly, to open ones talents even more widely than one had before.

Best to all ....

Senior Dater

For me boredom is something positive. As mentioned creativity can be fostered from boredom. And when I think of most of my good ideas were born in that way.

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