Retirement

My last job was at Amazon, as a QA Engineer. “It was fine until it wasn’t” is one summary. “It was a good distraction from the stress of my dad’s failing health so I could keep balance, but fell apart after other losses and health crap that made me not care about work much” is another.

The “stopped caring” was a big part for me. I tend to do my best software work when I can hyperfocus on what I’m doing and ignore everything else. Over time I got more responsibilities and was expected to keep more balls in the air…which doesn’t feed hyperfocus well.

Anyway, last day was in June.  A bit less than a week later, episode 103 of Productivity Alchemy came out.  The interview was with Star Picucci, talking about her end of full-time employment.  (This bit is about 23:30 minutes into the podcast)

I was a PeopleSoft developer until February, when due to the vagaries of government contracts I was no longer a PeopleSoft developer, and I was aggravated about it. I had hoped to retire in about 2 years, and so I called my financial advisor, I talked to my husband, I crunched a bunch of numbers, and said: Do I have to deal with this bullshit or can I just NOT work?

Star clarified she’s sort of on “trial retirement” while they see if the numbers really work.  What stood out to me, though, was how her reaction was like my reaction when I had been handed an Amazon Pivot paperwork.  Oh, if I leave you give me over 3 months’ severance and skip the PIP? Gee, let me think.   I occasionally have a nagging voice pointing out that I could’ve gone on medical leave and see how that changed things but … too much glee over the idea of leaving.  I was ready to run away.

So yeah, we’ll see how the money goes. I’ve been maxing out the 401(k) and saving a good amount each year. I’ve been using COBRA to follow up on some health things I’d been putting off. I will probably be blogging more here, and I’m sending out some article pitches. But that’s the big thing that I’m coming to terms with.

 

4 thoughts on “Retirement

  1. For what it’s worth, I hope you can manage to be retired. That’s awesome.

    And if you can manage it, you have a noble duty to enjoy the hell out of it on behalf of all of the people who are not in that position (and many who will, sadly, never be in that position).

    Best wishes.

  2. Hello, I don’t think I’ve commented here before but I’ve read this blog for years. I’ll throw some stories at you of people who have retired from engineering stuff at tech companies, did other things they were interested in, and discovered new work.

    I left my engineering job at Prominent Tech Company, burned out and no longer caring (your post sounded soooo familiar), with enough money that I could not work for a long time if I was careful. I did a masters degree in a field I had been strongly interested in for many years, decided not to work in that field, and after some failed attempts found volunteer work that suited me. One thing led to another in the volunteer work and ten years after I left paid work I was giving advice in a niche legal area (one in which you can qualify by passing exams rather than doing a law degree, as I need another degree like I need a hole in the head). I’m still doing that and finding it very satisfying. If I needed more money I could move into a different job with more hours and more pay but I like my part-time work.

    A friend of mine got a substantial payout when Different Prominent Tech Company did a reorg that make their stock go sky-high. About 20 years ago he moved to a very expensive city and worked doing acting and writing plays for no money. After ten or so years he saw that he would eventually run out of money and developed a business in portrait photography, which was excellent for him because he is good at it and he knows a gazillion actors who need headshots.

    My reason for telling these stories is that both of us retired with no plans to return to work and both of us, using the same curiosity and openness to opportunities that took us into tech in the first place, found new work some time later. Of course, having enough money that we could take our time and risk failing at new things helped a lot. And in my case it was a few years before I could even cope with the idea of working again (I was really burned out).

    It takes time to adjust to new life circumstances, and it’s not easy. But I will look forward to finding out whether in ten years you are retired, doing volunteer work, working for pay in a new field, or using your existing skills in some new way. All of those sound good to me. :)

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