This is the second in a series of columns featuring retired educators who have chosen to pursue very different paths in their retirements. In the last issue of the magazine, the respondents shared information about their career backgrounds and current ventures. In this issue they provide pertinent information about why they chose this particular pursuit once retired and whether this pursuit was a new idea or one they had been planning for a long time. And finally, they will tell you what preparations, if any, they made while still involved in their primary careers. Roger, Judy, Gordon, Jean, Brent, Geraldine, Barbara, Tony, Bala and Carol had very different reasons for choosing their new pursuits and each prepared for their retirement in a way that suited their needs. This diversity of choice and planning will provide you with food for thought.
Why did you choose the particular pursuit or pursuits you did?
- I didn’t choose my current pursuit as a Bed and Breakfast owner/operator; it was my wife’s idea!
- I decided that I needed to find a pursuit that truly fulfilled a different piece of me than teaching had, and that is why I went into the field of interior design.
- I thought that by working in Africa the opportunities to go on safari, to take beach holidays and to visit exotic places of local or international interest were more possible, and could be taken in greater luxury if desired, with my pension arriving each month.
- For personal reasons, and as a career educational counsellor and administrator, I had become involved in the Mental Health Association of Canada over 40 years ago, so I decided to devote more time to it and related groups during my retirement.
- I chose my pursuits for a variety of reasons—first, the field supervision work has allowed me to keep a finger in the education field and so given me an opportunity to use my experiences and expertise. My second choice of working in the area of electronic sales was chosen because it allowed me to stay current and involved in technology, which is something I’d become passionate about during my career, as well as allowing me to learn about the business environment. Finally, woodturning was a hobby I’d never had much chance to pursue, so after my skills improved it became another satisfying outlet.
- I didn’t have a particular reason for choosing my post-retirement pursuits. I just wanted a continuation of what I’d always done to relax by enjoying a variety of leisure activities, volunteering and crafts, such as making stuffed bears from old coats.
- For many years I was fascinated by advertisements and programs featuring Tai Chi but had never been able to take advantage of any courses as they never seemed to fit into my work and home schedules. When I started taking Taoist Tai Chi, I had no plans to teach, but the more familiar I became with the moves and the techniques, the more I wanted to share them with others.
- Having chosen to become involved in several different post-retirement pursuits, the reasons for choosing each one is also different. All, however, were chosen because of a personal interest or longtime involvement.
- I had always been interested in nutrition, so writing and speaking about the topic seemed to be a natural thing to do.
- I chose to set up a gardening business because I have had a lifelong interest in horticulture and I felt an increasing need to be outdoors after spending my career within four walls.
Was this a new idea or had you been thinking about it for a long time?
- Setting up the B & B was a completely new idea.
- I began to consider a career change during the last five or six years of my teaching career, because of my perception that I had to make an emotional commitment to be “everything to everybody” in my teaching profession and this was taking its toll on my energy and resilience.
- I have always had a fascination with change and the way people and societies adapt to new circumstances but like many young people of my generation, I got caught up in the responsibility of career and family, so that the idea of working in the developing world was only a vague and remote dream. A few years before retirement the possibility became a reality; but I put off the decision until retirement rather than interrupt my primary career in its twilight.
- No, it wasn’t a new idea, simply a continuation of a 40-year long interest in mental health issues at both the provincial and national levels.
- Field supervision of education students seemed a great extension of my previous work without the stress that went along with working in the school system. The electronic sales job was done on an impulse and the woodturning gives me an opportunity to pursue something creative that I never had enough time for while working.
- I had decided quite some time before retirement that what I wanted was to spend more time doing the same leisure activities I’d enjoyed as a way of relaxing prior to my retirement.
- It was a new idea, because it was only after taking the Beginner Course for four months and then starting the Continuing classes and realizing the benefits that I decided to pursue teaching Tai Chi.
- I was already involved in selling software while still working and had been a sailing instructor in the past. Only my involvement with insurance was new although I’d been interested in investment management for some time.
- Deciding what to do after retirement had been part of my retirement planning.
- I had been thinking about what I would enjoy doing when I retired for some time.
What preparations did you make for your new pursuit while still at work?
- I didn’t make any specific preparation because our decision to open a B & B was done on the spur of the moment.
- I made no particular preparations for a career change while I was actively teaching. I simply completed the course work in interior design, taking it as a 20% per work week diversion from my teaching. I also attended a seminar on setting up a small business, although I did not find that experience particularly helpful.
- Most of the important preparations for working in Africa happened while working and were accidental and unintended. As an example, the accumulation of knowledge and experience were valuable assets. Knowledge gained on the job through experience, reading and in service was important, but nothing compared to the events that occurred on an irregular basis, which I had to deal with as a teacher and administrator.
- Because of my longtime involvement in the area of Mental Health, I did not need to make any specific preparations to work more fully in the field.
- I had kept in touch with university personnel while working and I started doing the field experience work for them as soon as I retired. The rest just seemed to happen.
- I didn’t make any preparations because I was just continuing with my leisure activities and crafts.
- I made no preparations whatsoever while still working. I had no time, what with career, home and family to look after; it all happened after retirement.
- My preparations were mixed. I had made some halfhearted attempts at strategic investing while still working, but they were relatively unsuccessful, so an entrepreneur friend spent some time educating me on the finer points of investment management. I had let my Canadian Yachting Association certification lapse so I had to get re-certified. The business opportunity came about after I persuaded the School District to purchase educational software, and to allow me to set up an alternative learning centre. When the School District policies would not let me take in adult learners who were coming into my centre in the mall, I purchased the software licence through my company, and established a center for adult learners only.
- While still working I began to write newspaper articles and talk to seniors groups about nutrition.
- To prepare for my new career, I signed up for a Master Gardening course to begin immediately after retiring so that I would have credibility as a gardening professional.
As you’ve read, the reasons why and how these retirees came to choose their new pursuits vary greatly, as did their preparations. Following new interests or pursuing long-held dreams, each one was able to move forward after settling into retirement with positive results. In the next article, you will learn about their hopes and dreams as well as the concerns they had about the paths they had chosen to follow.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Carol Baird-Krul & Enise Olding
Carol and Enise firstname.lastname@example.org are the creators of a series of pre-retirement and post-retirement planning workshops: Transition to Retirement: The Uncharted Course©, Recently Retired: Charting a New Course© and Ideas… Enhanced and Advanced©, and authors of Transition to Retirement: The Uncharted Course.
This article is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s November 2009 issue.