It was on April 1 that I retired as the Associate VP of Facilities and Services at NMSU, so it’s been two months now. And a week.
I have thought for years that society, in general, could collectively do more to prepare our young men and women to evaluate career options as they go through high school, it was certainly true for me. Then, once a vocation is chosen, unless you’re lucky and diligent enough to find a mentor, you’re pretty much left on your own to develop a career strategy. That lack of preparation pales, however, when compared to laying the groundwork for retirement. Sure, there are a million books and seminars on financial planning, but there is very little information detailing how to mentally and emotionally manage a critical phase of your life.
Whether we want to admit it or not, most of us receive large servings of our self-worth from our employment. You may think you can play golf or go fly-fishing every day, but that gets old quickly as does any repetitious behavior. Many of the folks I talked with knew they would be following me into retirement in the years to come, and more than one seemed to be nervous about what they would do with their free time.
In my case, when I accepted the CAPPA commitment to serve on the APPA Board, I realized that the end of my term would coincide with the year that I became eligible to retire from the New Mexico and Texas institutions I had worked for. Despite numerous requests, God has never left me a note on the coffeepot about what to do; however, the intersection of the completion of these commitments was a pretty strong sign. I had been told, When it’s time to retire, you’ll know. I had thought about it for 13 months, even alerting my leadership team. More importantly, I shared my thoughts with my wife.
Many of my peers in university facilities management told me that I would be bored, that I was always working and wouldn’t know what to do. My wife still worries about this, but she’s pretty diligent about identifying issues in need of doses of anxiety. Trying to think ahead, I asked if I could continue teaching APPA Supervisor’s Toolkit. CAPPA said Yes, and we have two classes scheduled at the moment, one in South Dakota at SDSU and another in Lubbock at Texas Tech. We’re working on another at Arkansas State.
While a lot of retirees say they’ll do consulting, GHaubold Consulting had already completed a few jobs, developed a website, and we currently have a small engagement in Florida. I have a proposal being evaluated at a state agency, and along with Dave Riker just submitted another one to a university in the Midwest. The thing is, putting the packages together is stimulating, keeps me in touch with old friends, and some of these jobs may actually make a little money.
Most importantly, retiring and traveling in the RV has allowed me to reconnect with my wife. If you’ve been following along, we’re having a ball.
To paraphrase former Chancellor and Governor Carruthers:
Work is overrated.
Get out here and join us as soon as you can.