And the Transition Goes On

“Why don’t you just say it, you’re retired,” a male friend said after my layoff that produced an unemployment check and a Cobra health insured life.

“I’m not retired,” I insisted. “I’m in transition.”

At lunch with a working friend from the good old days of full employment and a certain path I shared the nascent beginning of my blog.

“I’m writing about women in transition.”

“You’re always in transition,” my male lunch partner said.

He was right. Whether in a job or not, I have always felt in transition. I prefer to think this makes me an expert on the topic rather than someone who always looks for the next patch of greener grass.

When I told my sister about the potential job offer she asked, “Aren’t you enjoying your semi-retirement state?”

Semi-retirement? Is that what my life looked like to the outside? It didn’t’ feel like that inside.

The five years that I didn’t report to an office, I still worked. Not at a corporate office doing the same thing. But I worked. From a home office or at a borrowed desk. At various things. Consulting projects. Committees. Content development. And mostly teaching.

Two hundred students–give or take a few–have sat in my classes and been mentored over coffee and during office hours. Teaching has been the hardest work I’ve ever done. By myself. In front of a room of young adults hoping to advance their careers with the material they are learning in my class. Finding new ways to fill the hours, to bring the principles and theories alive. A three-hour, one-woman show running for 10 weeks straight. Each week required a new script and the ability to improvise.

“I never want to retire,” I tell Husband, who is on the brink of retirement. Teetering so close to being able to nap at will on any one of our couches. To putter in any number of puttering spaces in the house, garage, or outside. To being able to do something else as soon as he discovers or defines else. To being in transition.

Retiring sounds old. And I reject being old, while fully acknowledging being older. So I’m rejecting retirement and accepting rehiring into a new role in a familiar field. Or as I prefer to look at it, I’m just entering one more transitional phase in my life of transition.


  1. I agree. Not old, but advanced enough to be sure your work life is more personalized than conventional. I left a full-time job in July to write full time, develop my blog and mentor writers at our community Boys and Girls club and never felt so easy and comfortable with life. Someone asked me recently how “retirement” felt and I said I didn’t think I’d ever know. Work that feels like play, in my opinion, keeps us young.

    • Julie (Author)

      Work that feels like pay or that you would do even if no one was paying you, that’s the best work there is.

  2. I am with you! 5 year plans or 10 year plans that include working are great! I have people asking about my company that I run, “Oh, are you still doing that?” What did they think I was doing?

    • Julie (Author)

      Just because it doesn’t look like a job doesn’t mean it isn’t a job!

  3. I don’t want to retire either….it sounds so boring. I am still doing the one woman show every day in front of high school students, but I am ready to transition to other things….many of your words became very personal. I hope there is something new on the horizon, but right now teaching helps to pay the bills!

    • Julie (Author)

      There’s always that paying the bills thing that needs to be considered when transition is involved. I’m sure you’ll find the right next step at the exact right time. Until then, keep them learning in high school!

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