Thursday, December 16, 2010
Looking Back and Looking Forward
As the time approaches for the formal beginning of my retirement, I reflect on my work life and anticipate my experiences after I stop regular paid employment. In the past my academic path went straight through to the achievement of a PhD and my first faculty appointment at Lakehead University in Ontario in 1967. During most of my adult life I have been a teacher. There are various models of teaching at the university level. The one I favour is “independent contractor”. My work has always been in a context of self decision-making regarding the activities that need to be done by my students or by my clients.
During the middle phase of my work life, after I moved to the West Coast. I spent about four years as an employment counselor. First I worked for a private company and then developed my own private practice. I always planned, however, to return to academia.
I think that my desire to be self-directed is related to my childhood. I was the first born with three years of development before my brother Rodger was born. After that I learned to do things on my own. As I grew up I developed the attitude that things would turn out best when I was making my own decisions. Most of the time, but not always, that approach has been successful for me.
During the middle phase of my work life I spent about four years as an employment counselor. First I worked for a private company and then developed a practice of my own.
I am proud of my accomplishments during my work life? I would like to have published more but for a long time the work environment did not support faculty research especially while Kwantlen was still a College. So the idea of publishing came rather late in my career. And I think that one of the pleasures associated with creating this blog is having the opportunity to share ideas with the wider community of persons who are retired or preparing for retirement.
Through the years I have also been involved as an activist, first in the Civil Rights Movement while I lived in the United States. After moving to Canada my environmental concerns led me to participate in the early days of the Green Party. I currently am happy with my volunteer work and community activism at the local senior’s centre. In a more formal sense Elizabeth and I have founded a private company that is entitled Community Building: Research and Action.
After I retire I will still need to find ways to top up my pension income. My workshops through Community Building and money we may be awarded through our non-profit ICAL (Intergenerational Centre for Action Learning) should help.
While I was resisting mandatory retirement I was allowed to teach only two courses per term. After it was abolished I could have pushed to get a full course load again but I have adapted to two courses and just having two feels right even with lower economic consequences.
I like the thought of retirement because I will have even more control over my own life. Retirement is a big transition. The challenges it presents are exciting!