Archive for writing

I am a serial careerist!

What is retirement? Am I now retired? The question arises out of my most recent action, in which I chose—a key word, I think—to stop doing what I had been doing in favor of other work that has occupied only a portion of my waking day, but numerous dream nights for several years.

Ruminating about my experience, and that of others who’ve had similar adventures, convinces me that I haven’t retired. Rather, I’m simply in my newest career.

Think about it: in my parents’ and grandparents’ time, they often began a career and ended it in the same business or occupation. If changes occurred, it was to climb the ladder from a junior to a more senior position. But they continued to be defined by that same occupation.

Among my peers, a different pattern has emerged, what I prefer to think of a serial careering. We began our working lives slinging hash or selling souvenirs at a summer job and went on to our first “real” job; that is, one that had at least an inkling of a future that included more pay and benefits and a climbing of the corporate, or similar, ladder. Whoohoo!

Many of us, however, also learned—often, the hard way, as we endured recessions and cutbacks—that working for the same employer was unlikely to be our life experience. Some of us began second, third, or fourth jobs with other employers, often in occupations unrelated to where we first began. And still others of us decided to create our own futures in our own businesses, one of the reasons why small business is the rule rather than the exception in these United States.

So, where does that leave us? With serial careers, which we will continue to enjoy far into the future, well past the usual retirement birthday of sixty, or sixty-two, or sixty-five, or later.

I now count myself among those who have enjoyed a series of occupations. I’m on my fifth and am happy to report that each of my career experiences informs my view of the world. A bonus: my fictional characters’ occupations are often ones I, too, have enjoyed at one time or another!

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Travel – the ups and downs of it

My recent trip to Chicago was wonderful for the time it provided to spend with my writing cousin, catching up on all her activities, oohing and ahing over her new e-books and her plans for others.  But it also reminded me that I need to plan better. Someone once said a “failure to plan = a plan to fail.”  How well I now understand what was meant.

It’s been about 15 years since I was in Chicago and the road system is much changed. As a result, I got lost going from the rental car parking lot–in the dark and rainy evening traffic–to my cousin’s home in one of the western suburbs. Two hours and two phone calls to her finally resulted in my arrival, exhausted and far more stressed than I had anticipated.

Five days later, I climbed in the car and headed back to O’Hare, only to miss the turn-off (or was it not marked?!) and having to travel many miles out of my way before being able to exit the tollroad, call for directions and then follow the phoned instructions of the person who kept assuring me I WOULD make my plane.  I had my doubts. Thank goodness for securing my boarding pass on line and not planning to check my luggage.

I finally arrived at the correct kiosk with barely ten minutes to spare.

Decision time: my next visit will involve using a limo service!

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