Thursday, December 16, 2010

RetiredSyd's "Most Enjoyed in 2010" List

When I read Sydney's blog, Retirement – A Full Time job, it often feels as if I am reading my own thinking. In her clear manner, she explores the same topics that I am intrigued by. She was recently interviewed by NPR, and has a blog in US News called On Retirement.

Here is her response to my post request – her list of the things she has most enjoyed in 2010.

Sydney's Most Enjoyed in 2010 List:

1) Baby Luca (after my friend suffered several heartbreaking miscarriages, her dreams finally came true),
2) A month in Manhattan on a home swap (and in particular, learning to love baseball with my husband at Yankee's Stadium),
3) And just in time to watch our own SF Giants win the World Series!
4) Enjoying three trips to Las Vegas with incredible friends (and icing on the cake, coming out a few hundred dollars ahead)
5) Knowing that 30 million uninsured Americans will be able to get health coverage,
6) The chance to meet wonderful new readers through an opportunity to blog for U.S. News,
7) Enjoying a little part-time work for fun people that I admire,
8) Ram's link to HBR's "How Will You Measure Your Life?" That article made a huge impact on me.


If any of you do create your own list, do send me a copy and I will be happy to post it here.

Related Post:
Requesting your "Best of 2010" List

Monday, December 6, 2010

How Irreversible is the decision really?

When discussing early retirement with friends and acquaintances, I sense that in their minds this decision feels irreversible. As in, if you choose to give up your work and take up early retirement and it doesn't work out for whatever reason, you are completely done for.

I know this feeling well. This feeling of going down a one-way street. But this thinking is not fully correct. Sure, there are certain aspects to quitting a regular job that have long term consequences. But that is not the full story.

Let's tackle the biggest fear that comes up in any discussion first. What if one runs short of money? The fact that you won't be earning a salary, but might need some money (for unforeseen circumstances) can be scary. Fortunately, this can be mitigated with some planning and foresight.

People who have only worked full-time don't seem to fully appreciate the range of options that are available. Options like taking up part-time work or consulting or freelancing. It will initially take some time, but these can be a real possibility if you keep your skills fairly current (always with an eye on staying employable).

There are, however, certain things that are difficult to get back, if you do quit mid-career. Irreversible is too strong a word. What I really mean is "difficult to reverse." For example: If you were progressing rapidly on a career-path, it might be difficult to regain that if you take a long break. Or, say you are part of a great team that is doing excellent and engaging work. If you quit that, you may not easily find that sense of camaraderie and purpose again. Also, if you are currently very well compensated, it won't be easy to attain comparable compensation after a 2-3 year break doing something else. (Individual cases vary, of course)

So there are both aspects to the decision of quitting a full-time job. What feels scary is not really the irreversible part. But the difficult-to-revert aspects do have to be considered before any decision regarding early retirement can be made.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Requesting Your Personal "Best of 2010" List

This post is a request. This is a request for you to send me your Personal "Best of 2010" list, so that it can be shared with others. Reading your list might inspire someone, remind them of something they too enjoyed.

Now that it is December, we can expect to start seeing lots of "Best of 2010" lists in the media. For over 10 years now, I have been creating my own personal "Things I most enjoyed this year" lists. I have also been encouraging my friends to do the same. Those who do take the few minutes it takes invariably say that they are very glad that they did. (And it is always a pleasure to review these 'most enjoyed' lists I created a few years back.)

This year, I thought I will ask here and see if any blog readers want to participate. Just open your notebook (or open a new file) and jot down things that come to your mind about what you enjoyed in 2010. If you keep adding to your list, you'll be surprised at how many things you can think of in just 2-3 days.

The Rules are quite simple:
1. Just create a list of whatever it was that you most enjoyed this year. Some sample categories could be Movies, Events, Books, Concerts, Places, Travel, Sports, Hobbies, People, TV shows, Blog articles, Websites, Courses… pretty much anything you enjoyed in 2010.
2. Feel free to create your own categories.
3. These have to be things you enjoyed, so for this exercise leave out any negative experiences.

Simply type up your list in a Word document or as an email and send them to me at Include your name (or make up a pseudonym) which I can use when posting your response. (If you don't want your name publicized, then indicate that in your email and I'll post the list without your name.)

Yes, it takes a bit of social courage to share our personal list, but I feel that it is important to share them anyway. Even if you don't wish to share your lists, please consider creating one for yourself, and sharing it with your close friends and family.

I look forward to getting at least a few "Personal Best of 2010" lists this year. If I receive any, I will post them here. I will also post my own list here as well.

Related Post: Creating A Year in Review Document