** EDITORS NOTE: Today we finally have a guest post from our long time contributor Hansi. Go check out his blog at Hansi’s Hallucinations. He has some funny stories and some interesting drawings, all done by him. Be sure to welcome him as our newest guest Coot. He has now finally earned his degree from Coots University, this post was his dissertation. He will defend it in the comments. Thanks for the post Hansi, we look forward to more!**
I went to a memorial service for this old Probation Officer I worked with the other day. [ The service was the other day, not me working with him. That was a long time ago]. And speaking about a long time ago, I got to see a lot of former co-workers; all of whom are retired. Now that was a trip.
The talk consisted of mostly “What are you doing” or “Are you still doing…?” And a lot of typical retiree subject matter: one’s health, which Medicare supplemental ya have, and all that small-talk that confirms , Yes, you are a geezer. But when they asked me what I was doing , I almost felt guilty or ashamed ” I’m still there, I’m working part-time for probation.” Well that dropped some jaws. Some folks couldn’t believe it, others just shook their heads. The thought of going back was repugnant to many of them. But I thought, ‘To hell with em”. Most of them were the same persons that made the place so horrible to begin with.
Most beings I follow in the Blog-o-sphere are either retired or desperately wanting to be retired. That even includes my thirty year old Son. I had to counsel him. by the way, that he had at least twenty five more years of eating shit before he could retire; something that didn’t sound too appetizing to him. So I thought I’d do a halfway serious piece on retirement, and from a guy who is actually retired and not one of them fictional characters you see stories about in Yahoo Finance written by some thirty year old salesman in the Mutual Fund Industry.
I had a thirty year career as a probation officer and retired in 2004 at age fifty seven. I really didn’t consider being a probation officer as a ‘career’ so much, but more of a job I had for a hell of a long time. If you would have told back in college that I’d end up in corrections (the side that had the keys), I would a said, “What have you be smoking, and give me some?”. The only thing I really did liked about probation, was the shock value of telling people what I did for a living.. “You must like working with people”, being a standard response. Right, if you’re a PO, you don’t like working with people, you like screwin’ with them. And by the way I did met some real up-standing folks as a PO, real gems, role-model material.
Why did I retire? Cause I couldn’t stand it anymore! And I could do it. And I decided to get the hell out. Funny thing was, within nine months, after a brief sojourn doing volunteer work [that mythical source of promised meaningfulness for retirees] at Food Share, I was back! But not as a PO, but as a CSO: Corrections Services Officer. See, I used to work overtime at our old Juvenile Hall, but only cause I could make time and a half doing so (getting closer to what work is all about). And our Agency just completed work on a brand new, state of the art “Facility” [jail for kids] and needed experienced people to staff it. I could work part-time, when I wanted, and was paid at top step DPO which was now more that what I made when working.
See the secret to working in retirement is: you gotta have a good reason. Why else would ya want to go back and work for the same god-damned idiotic fools that made your life so miserable in the first place?. And that good reason was Money, for me. I got to admit though that I did kinda liked working in The Juvenile Facility. It was like those “Locked Up” shows on MSNBC; searching cells, doing extractions and all that stuff. Now that was a real contact high, working with younger male co-workers in what was a super charged testosterone laden environment with Jizz levels off the charts. Made me feel young again, breaking up fights and using pepper spray.
Most importantly, working in retirement allowed my wife and I to travel the world: Peru, New Zealand, Europe, the Yucatan and numerous side trips in the States. I was a little travel-whore: will work for airfare. But really, it was a financial opportunity that I couldn’t pass-up. Well I worked until mid 2009, when the financial collapse caused the “County” to cut back, and us part-timers were the first to go. But I’m back again, now working on massive drunk driver caseloads, sitting in front of a computer cranking out bullshit for four hours a day, three times a week [not to unlike blogging]. Probation had money again; were desperate again; and here I was…again.
The reason? This was yet another financial opportunity I just couldn’t pass up. The money is outstanding, the hours what I choose, and I’m pretty much left alone to crank out BS. And in this economy, getting good paying part-time job ain’t easy. Getting any job ain’t easy.
So what’s my point? Working in retirement can be a good thing, even if it’s for the same incompetents you worked for before [if they were competent, they probably wouldn’t have needed me back again]. If you have skills that are still marketable, use ’em (or more correctly, rent them out). My retired teacher buddy is doing something similar. Being in an elementary school classroom again would kill him, but supervising home school families once a week is sweet. Maybe everybody can’t do this, but if you can, I’d encourage to put aside all old feelings and try going back. Hey they still may be sons of bitches, but if they pay well….oh well.
Well that’s this old Coot’s story. Not a very compelling argument for working after you’ve retired. But if one sees an opportunity, for anything really, you gotta jump on it, even in retirement.