I had a casual conversation with a colleague recently over dinner, and he discussed that even though he is in retirement age, it’s unlikely he will take this option because he wife loves to spend. Now, to be fair, the conversation was between two guys, which usually means that bravado will come into play.
Before I forget, I was about halfway done with a Mai Tai, and I remember he was on his second Rum and Coke. This knowledge might explain some of the discussion.
Jack: How’s life treating you?
Me: All seems to be good. I have a few project management seminars scheduled, which means I need to prepare.
Jack: Nah! You’ve been doing that stuff for a long time. You should be able to walk in and wing it!
Me: I tried that before! It didn’t go too well!
Jack: I guess you’re right. It does help to be prepared.
Me: I think very few people know more than you about project management. You have volunteered for your chapter in Nevada for nearly 30 years, right?
Jack: At least 30 years! In the early days, I was asked to train professors from UNLV to pass the PMP exam. I did say “volunteer,” right?
After training them, they could teach the courses at UNLV. They were PMP-certified, which meant that the course enrollments increased. I didn’t get paid for the training. I did the work as part of my “knowledge to the profession” that is part of PMP’s professional development units.
Me: I guess you could have charged for it.
Jack: I agreed to do it for free, wanting to be Mr. Nice Guy! Before long, everyone assumed that I would do the work gratis, and I was nervous about bringing up the issue.
Me: Jack, when do you plan to retire? I know you look young, but isn’t it time for you to take it easy? I know you are retired military. Can’t you get on those military flights where you fly standby for free?
Jack: My wife retired from her accounting position several months ago, and I mentioned to her that I needed to get out of this engineering gig. I told her that for me to stop working, she needs to stop her shopping sprees.
Me: What did she think about that?
Jack: She told me that it was best for me to keep working.
Me: Go figure!
Jack: I guess it’s probably good for both of us. I’m not much into golfing or fishing, and being around the house together is probably not recommended.
Me: At least you like what you do.
Jack: I like the work, but the drive is getting to me!
Me: You could ask your employer about working from home – the telecommuting thing.
Jack: Remember what my wife said about being at home? I can’t imagine getting up in the morning, driving two miles to the Starbucks, working all day from one of those uncomfortable tables, and driving home around 4 p.m. No go, my friend.
I’m sure Jack was joking about his wife not wanting him around. I share this story because Jack is one of the few people I know who has a passion for his career. He is considered a leading expert in project management, and is asked to share his knowledge worldwide.
When chocolate cheesecake dessert arrived, Jack decided to take a picture of it with his iPhone, and sent it to his wife with the following subject line: Retirement Never Looked So Good!