By Steve Kelman

Blog archive

The Lectern: Tempted to retire?

I recently saw Dave Litman, the respected senior procurement executive at the Transportation Department, and learned that he will be retiring shortly. FEMA’s Dee Lee, one-time OFPP Administrator and senior procurement policy official at DoD, will be retiring. Retirements of senior government managers in procurement and IT have been getting a lot of attention from a government management perspective, because the government is losing a lot of good career people.


But another conversation got me thinking about retirement from a different perspective. I was talking with a long-time friend from the IT industry just yesterday, and he noted that, now age 55, he was thinking of getting out of the industry in a couple of years. He didn't plan fully to stop working, but he was thinking of going off to a beach resort area and setting up a small business in the maintenance area -- in other words, a complete career change, and a very different lifestyle from his current self-described 80 hour weeks.


Baby boomers in my generation are beginning to confront the idea of retirement. A nephew of mine, a twentysomething, asked me at a family event a while ago when I planned to retire. I said the thought of retirement hadn't even crossed my mind. He was surprised: He said most of his friends aimed to retire by the time they reached 45, having made a pile of money. Of course, many blue-collar workers are physically exhausted by the time they reach 60, and ready for retirement. I suspect that for other boomers, thoughts about retirement are a proxy for how much one likes one's job.


Very few academics I know are even considering retiring, a sign that (despite only modest salaries compared to people in business or law) we have pretty good lives. I enjoy what I do a lot, and I couldn't imagine wanting to do anything much different, so why retire? I would also say -- and this is probably becoming more common in the boomer generation -- that I don't feel I have any less energy or vitality than I had when I was 25.


Readers, particularly boomer readers -- what are your thoughts about retirement?


***


Post a comment (registration required) or send us an e-mail at [email protected] and we will post it for you.

Posted by Steve Kelman on Jan 18, 2008 at 12:09 PM


Featured

  • Government Innovation Awards
    Government Innovation Awards - https://governmentinnovationawards.com

    Congratulations to the 2020 Rising Stars

    These early-career leaders already are having an outsized impact on government IT.

  • Cybersecurity
    cybersecurity (Rawpixel/Shutterstock.com)

    CMMC clears key regulatory hurdle

    The White House approved an interim rule to mandate defense contractors prove they adhere to existing cybersecurity standards from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Stay Connected