It’s the small things…
What Will I Do?


Next month my employer will offer me and 1,599 others a buyout. Not surprising in these days of declining budgets. I haven't heard the details, but it will be generous. Although leaving would not be easy for me after 28 years in an organization I love, I have to at least think about it.


At 71, how much longer am I going to want to work? Probably forever. How much longer am I going to be effective? And how much of my identity is based my work? How else can I contribute?


I know the golf course is not going to do it for me. Retirement takes planning—at least that's what I tell everyone else thinking about it. But I have not taken my own advice. I haven't planned because I don't think I am ready.


There has been some talk about who will be offered a buyout and who will and won't accept the offer. I don't participate in the talk because this is a very private decision.


A colleague I don't know all that well approached me in Whole Foods last Saturday. She reported that someone had been talking about me at work. She couldn't remember who it was, but she remembered that the conversation was on the topic of buyouts, and the person had said, "I sure hope Judy doesn't take it." Then she remembered who said it. It was someone I don't interact with all that much. But just hearing that she thinks I make a difference was very meaningful to me.


I think I'll stay.


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Bob Kusik

If you do seriously consider the buyout, I recommend that you negotiate the privilege of attending (Harvard) classes for the rest of your life. Being a student-in-retirement is wonderful, especially if you choose a field which is new to you. Attending a series of lectures simply because they're interesting, without concern about what's going to be on the exam, is a totally different experience than being a matriculating student.

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