Unbundled Retirement

“You’re failing at retirement.”  No one has said that in so many words, but many people have teased me affectionately about an apparent inconsistency between my alleged retirement and substantial level of activity.

Let me harmonize.

Some people may think of only two options regarding work and retirement:  complete indolence or working like crazy.

On reflection, it is clear that there are many intermediate options. Indeed, starting with my first post and in another one last year, I have described my plan as semi-retirement.

I officially retired as of last September.  This year I have been teaching half time as an adjunct, one course per semester.  I will not teach regular courses next year and perhaps not ever again.  I didn’t attend any faculty or committee meetings this year and I certainly don’t plan to attend them in the future.

This year, I have been very busy, finishing up several writing projects and other commitments I undertook.  Part of this involves organizing Missouri’s annual DR symposium next fall and writing a piece for that.

Going forward, I plan to select parts of full-time academic employment and abstain from others.

I feel so fortunate to be part of our community and I don’t want to let that go.

First and foremost, I plan to regularly write for a blog called “Indisputably.”  I will continue to maintain the DRLE website and participate in some activities of Missouri’s DR Center.  I will do some talks, CLEs, short courses, or other discrete activities.  I will generally continue to be part of our community, attending the annual ABA conference and other events for the foreseeable future.  I plan to continue to support, celebrate, and sometimes nudge.

One of the great benefits of retirement is the greater freedom to decide what to do (or not).  I will figure this out and improvise along the way.

In sum, my semi-retirement is a work-in-progress.

3 thoughts on “Unbundled Retirement”

  1. John, I found people’s comments to you that, “You’re failing at retirement” to be quite amusing. I wonder what their concept is of “retirement.” I have been retired now since early 2011 when my disabilities overcame my ability to work at a steady job. Aristotle said, “The end of labor is to gain leisure.” The one definition of leisure that I like is, “opportunity afforded by free time to do something.” For me, it is to explore my passions. This was virtually impossible when I was employed – demands of the job. And, I loved my jobs. It was actually a blessing in disguise to be forced into retirement. Retirement for me has been the achievement of leisure time where I have the freedom to allow my passions and dreams to burst forth into the world. For me, this translates to my ability to help others achieve a more meaningful, peaceful, and happy life. It most definitely does not mean, however, that I slow down and sit in my rocking chair.

  2. Thank you for articulating this new phase of you life John! I am in a similar place and people raise one eyebrow when I use the word “retire”. I am now retired from a full-time staff position at Mediate BC but I am not retired from the field or my interest in justice reform, innovation. I just intend to pursue those interests in a different, more selective, way. I love your use of the term ‘unbundled’ in this context. I am glad that you remain active and engaged on the things you choose – we are all better for it! Your fan, Kari

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Kari. It’s neat to hear that you are doing something similar. I assume that quite a number of people also do so, though it may mostly be under the radar. This is an option that academics and others in our field might consider as they approach the end of the “normal” phase of their careers.

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