Marti Weston (check out her blog) asked this question after reading my last post about my new job. I like to think I lead something of an examined life, but I know I haven’t fully examined my motives for continuing to work after retiring at age 68. The money is part of the equation, as Carol and I agreed before I retired that it would be best if we live on our income for a few years before we have to tap our retirement savings. In addition, I have a tendency to buy boy toys, so having some money for them is a bit of a goal.
What happened when I got my first post-retirement job is that I discovered a talent I did not know I had. I simply love working with children, and they seem to like me. I don’t think I could have made a career of it, but for a part-time job at Four Mile Historic Park I get the chance to meet people who are open to new experiences and are not yet jaded. The kids are fun, we all learn something, and after three hours they are gone! How can it be any better?
Then, winter came. Denver winters are not too severe, but it is often too cold for outside activities and lately the park grounds have been too icy for our draft horses to pull the big prairie schooner we use for wagon rides. So, there are not many school field trips until March, when things warm up.
I decided I wanted a job to fill the gap when Four Mile is slow. I got another job that uses another set of talents. In health care security, the security officers are often assigned to watch at-risk patients. Sometimes the patients are a risk to themselves; others can be a risk to themselves, hospital staff, and visitors. I have physically restrained one patient, but many patients just need compassion and an understanding ear, or to be left alone. I find I can provide, in most cases, the compassion they need. There are boundaries, of course. I am a security officer, not a social worker. I can, however, listen.
The job has a fair amount of variety, as I am not permanently assigned to a specific hospital, but fill in at several facilities. So far, I like it, and it pays more than the average nonprofit agency. I am getting new experiences in a new setting.
I guess that one of my goals in retirement was to have new and challenging experiences. I am lucky in finding two jobs that offer those experiences, and I am getting paid for them. What I now need to focus on is having more of the traditional retirement activities, such as travel and pursuing my interests in history and geology.
Right now, I am still working on establishing a routine that accommodates my work and my interests while avoiding wasting large amounts of time. I am a world class time waster if I let myself. I am having some trouble adapting to having less structure than a full time job provided, but I am not doing too badly, and as time goes on, I am optimistic I can begin to provide my own structure (with Carol’s help).