Working Dogs Revisited

I received an email over the weekend which asked me to re-open Comments to my Working Dogs post from way back (okay, February).  He asked me this because he wanted to add to the conversation, but couldn’t.

Well, I don’t want to do that (reopen Comments), but instead let’s just use this as an extension.

So go back and read the piece and the Comment section, and if you’re one of the original commenters and have something to add, or want to post a different thought, please do so.  And if you’re a “newcomer” and want to comment, please do so too.

This is not a topic I want to let slide.

9 comments

  1. I commented, as usual too long the first time this retirement thing “Working Dog” thing came up and being five years into my last retirement, this time for good and well along into my 70’s, my suggestions for others who might want some advice. Remember advice is worth what you pay for it, so here’s some for free.

    Number one have a calendar of events and obligations besides doctor appointments so you have good things to look forward to.

    Number two have some obligations, civic or church of clubs where you are expected to show up an participate. I usher at church and I am a range officer once a month for steel challenge matches and there are a few other things.

    Number three, stay away from television, read books and get outside, work with you hands on projects and have things going on that you look forward to completing, be active and not passive.

    Number and last for now, get out of bed, make your bed, make your coffee and get the day started, for me 6:30 am, putting the dog out and later making breakfast for my wife. She cleans the dishes and does the laundry, I clean the floors and mow the grass, if you live alone which I have done in the past take care of yourself and if you have a partner share the work and alway pull your weight.

    If you have a ‘to do’ list that never get finished you have a good reason to get up every morning and not just sit in a recliner watching TV waiting to die.

  2. Hmmm… I’m only 51. I got on the scrapheap a few years ago. The local economy has yet to turn around and I’ve not found a new direction, but I have a modest income and am single. Not megabucks but enough. So I pootle around entertaining myself.

    Perhaps a key difference is that I have always been single. I’ve never – to my disappointment – had a partner. I am accustomed to my own company.

  3. As I mentioned last time, this is precisely where I am…55, but working for the Federal Government since I was 17. I could pull the plug right now and live quite comfortably. Until I got bored.

    Yes, there’s shooting…and I could comfortably spend 2 hours a day on the range just getting in needed practice. Maybe take up a new event or two. Teach some. The big headache being that competition takes not only time, but money.

    On the other hand, I could remain with the Feds and pump up the retirement…or turn my coat and become a contractor (or consultant) and make insane money.

  4. I reload, 22-250 and 6.5 Swedish and I have four nice ranges less than thirty min from my house. Shooting .22 for practice no fee and less than $5 to $10 on the other, outdoors and no time limits. I try to average once a week, plan my ammo buys and look for specials ordering online cause I am cheap. I love Texas where our parade her in our old German settled town had a Miss Kraut or something contest, and then ice cream at the fair grounds with Confederate Civil War re-enactors in uniform with proper flags shooting black powder without bullets as fast as they could reload going down Main Street where the signs say Hauptstraße and when the USA colors were presented everyone stood and took hats off. When the Knights of Columbus float hit the Plaza a trumpeter played the National Anthem and everyone sang along, I love the Texas Hill Country. My second glass of wine while my soup heats up I type too much, sorry about that.

  5. I thought I was about 10 years from retirement, but am now in the process of seeing if I am going out on disability at age 58. Being on state employee disability not retirement, I’d have a lot of limitations on getting another job, and quite frankly, if I was up to continued working I’d stay where I was.

    Fortunately (?), I’m sure the first few months will be busy with applying for Social Security disability (a requirement of the state system, don’t have to get it, but have to apply) and navigating the VA system to see what kind of benefits I might be eligible for.

    Afterwards, I’ve been getting more active in my VFW post and there is always some project there that needs to be done, and there are opportunities in volunteer public service (Ham radio, CERT, etc.).
    Of course there’s shooting (money will be tight, but .22 seems to be back). There are also several avenues of the amateur radio hobby I can pursue.

    I’m assuming since my body is telling me to punch out, I won’t (hopefully) have the issues “younger” folks have on retiring and not being ready to.

    If nothing else I can always hang around here and annoy our host! 😉

  6. I’m very fortunate to have an ongoing interest in expanding my professional knowledge, a family tradition that says “keep practicing in some way as long as you have two brain cells to rub together,” and a group of like-minded friends in their fifties, sixties, and seventies.

    Vita brevis, ars longa.

  7. We’re still not sure on the when; 2007-8 through a monkey-wrench into the 5 years to go plan we were hoping for. We’re doing the work now to see if we’re close to being able to put a good estimated timestamp on retirement again. That would lead to finally escaping ill-annoy and moving to one of the free states.

    Right now I’ve got that Challenger in the garage waiting time and space to get worked on as my major project. I still putter with coding, networking, etc and expect I would continue to do so. And shooting, finally, hopefully with close indoor ranges and good outdoor ranges less than 90 minutes away (2 hours plus for the bigger one).

    I’m not going to guess how large the unread and to be re-read book stacks are. But they are substantial despite the fact that I’ve finally broken down and started reading books on the phone and the laptop.

    I do like the idea of having a regularly scheduled outside the house obligation. I’m not sure what that should be.

  8. The key is having something to do. My father and mother retired and spent more years in retirement than working (30+). For them, reading, visiting friends and family, and relaxing after a life of long hours and little leisure.
    On the other hand, I was forcibly retired at the beginning of this year. Due to a confluence of bad things, I am out of work with no money, savings burned through and no prospects. Life is really interesting at the moment.
    So, I am not worried about retirement doing me in. 🙂

  9. I have no Magic Answers, but only a suggestion: If you intend to retire someday, have a plan, and the closer you get the more detail there needs to be in the plan. Start the plan early, examine on a semi-frequent schedule (early, annually works, later, make it every 6 months) and modify as necessary as you learn more and/or conditions change).

    Not just a money plan, although that’s top-of-the-list critically important, but a personal/social/environmental plan. Where do you want/need to live; there’s the usual “oh, we want to be near the grandchildren/parents/siblings,” the always frequent “we want lots of golf courses,” or “warm weather,” “beaches….,” “mountains…,”, “deserts,” (deserts? Really?), “south Pacific islands,” “on a sailboat,” what is offered there – recreation, work, volunteer opportunities, what are available travel resources, etc., etc. Ad infinitum. Define, examine, refine, incorporate into The Plan.

    A great many men – and it needs to be reiterated that men derive their worth from what they do while women get it from relationships – forget that “doing” is on the list right behind “money.”

    There’s an old joke about engineers, or maybe it’s just about old engineers: The crusty senior engineer is working at his desk when the staff runs into his office screaming that scientists have just discovered a giant asteriod that will strike the earth in 24 hours, exterminating all life and knocking the planet out of its orbit and into the sun. Without looking up the old engineer points to his bookcase and says “top shelf, blue binder, section four.”

    For a lot of people retirement is that asteroid. Have a plan, work the plan.

    I’m in Year Seven of The Great Escape; when I was offered an early out, I simply moved execution of my plan up 20 months, cashed the (substantial) bonus severance check and never looked back. I’m still busier than I was when working 50+ hours/week, and there’s no sign it’ll let up anytime soon. The big difference is I’m busier on the things that matter to me and that have value for me rather than someone else’s mission.

    Have a plan, work the plan.

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