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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Academics Preparing for Retirement

        I recently received an article produced by the Preparation for Retirement Committee at the University of British Columbia UBC. The material is interesting and I will make references to some of the things I specifically am interested in.  For those who may be interested in getting the full meal deal Judith G. Hall’s email[i] is at the bottom of this blog entry. There was a whole committee involved in preparing this document. They are William Bruneau, Mackie Chase, Nicole Hyatt, Cheryl Neighbour, Brenda Peterson, Christine Pickering, and Kenneth Reeder.
         The first comment that grabs my attention is that retired professors may “…choose to explore alternative ways to use the skills, knowledge and wisdom they have acquired.”  Good point, that is why I have established this blog and will continue to develop workshops to take into the community, some to earn money and others “give back” without charging.
          The authors acknowledge that retirement can be examined through the model of stages of adult development.  The comment that “Accustoming or ‘adjustment’ usually includes developing plans for the next 10 years…The decision to retire begins long before one signs the papers indicating the wish to leave. That is interesting to me because, at 71 years old I have been struggling against mandatory retirement since I was in my early sixties.
         They also indicate that one characteristic of academic life is that its provides us with “…skills, experience and wisdom that can be used in many additional types of endeavors.” Which helps us “…take up new social and emotional roles after retirement.  In my case I have started early. For instance I have been on the board of the local senior’s centre for eight years.
         One key factor in confronting retirement is increased longevity. “Never before in history have academics (and almost everybody else) had a reasonable expectation of 10-25 years if life after ‘retirement.”
         The authors then provide a list of things it may be helpful to consider.  There are 12 categories, each with at least four sub-factors’.  I will just mention some of the ones I find particularly interesting.
1. New and continuing social contacts with friends, colleagues, and family. For instance I am remaking connections with other faculty members who have already retired
3.  Maintaining characteristics of aging well. Daily living such as          exercise, healthy diet, and mental activity

5. Memory – scheduling and ways to use your time. Ways to enhance my memory—exercises For instance I can several hours with PUZZLERS GIANT BOOK of WORD SEEKERS 34. I much prefer it to Crosswords.

6. New Technologies.  I love my laptop and my wife, who is a Boomer and knows what to do when I screw up.

10.  Volunteer vs. work for pay.  My workshops include both. Besides my work with the Senior Centre, I canvas for the Canadian Cancer Society.

12. Be sure you arrange for your (University) Kwantlen Polytechnic University benefits. I will soon apply to the library so that I can continue to access research articles.

Do these items make sense to you? Even If you are not an academic, do these reflect you prepare for or abide within retirement?  I will continue the discussion of this Preparation for retirement paper in my next blog.

[i]  Judith G. Hall, Chair of the Preparations for Retirement group Professor Emerita UBC

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