Retirement is a week filled with Saturdays and Sundays interrupted only occasionally by a holiday.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Retirement, Work, and Technology

So…today I went to work…that’s right…work. It all started 14 months ago when my friend called to ask me to come back to the Library and work part-time in the same Training unit I worked in during the conversion to an automated circulation system in 1989-1990. Department retirees with “special skills” can return to work as temporary part-time employees as long as they do not exceed 960 hours per year. The unit was down to one trainer and my friend asked me to come back and train until new full-time trainers could be hired and trained. Since the one remaining trainer happened to be a friend and my experiences in the unit, so many years ago, were among the happiest in my professional career, I agreed to come back. It also didn’t hurt that, by working part-time, I could earn additional Medicare quarters which I need to do before turning 65.

So, for the past 14 months, I’ve been working part-time. It started out as two 7-hour days per week and, with the hiring of new trainers, it now averages approximately 14 hours per month…which is just fine with me. The pros are that I get to work with really nice people, my schedule has been made as flexible for me as possible, I get to keep my brain from totally rotting away, and I earn a little extra money for traveling. The one con is that I have to travel 40 miles one-way to Library Headquarters to do this but my schedule does allow me to miss the most horrendous commute times.

Anyway, along with my part-time trainer position, I’ve been elected to serve on one of the many committees now working towards the migration to a new ILS system sometime in 2008. Since our system is so large geographically, they are experimenting with using teleconferencing as a method of managing committee meetings. So today, instead of driving the 40 miles to our Library Headquarters, I drove the 19 miles to the library I worked in for most of my career to participate with another committee member in the teleconferencing meeting. It was an interesting experience. What I immediately noticed was how little participation there seemed to be amongst the committee members. The head of the ILS unit presented his issues and had to continually prompt participants for comments, questions, etc. I’m not sure whether this was a function of the faceless nature of teleconferencing or whether it had more to do with the personalities of the committee members. Whatever the case…I’m just glad I didn’t have to drive an 80 mile round trip for a meeting which lasted exactly one hour. Let’s hear it for technology!

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