Friday, July 13, 2007

Gearing Up For Retirement


I've worked in consulting for over 10 years now, and with retirement looming within 5 or 6 years, I've decided to start taking time off from work when I'm between projects.

Test Retirement
Having just finished working on a project, I'll be taking off the next three months. Fortunately, I have a lot of accrued vacation that I can use, and also fortunately, my company will allow me to take this time, unless some critically important project comes up for which they need me.

I'm hoping this will give me a sense about what it will be like when I won't have to work anymore.

It will be different in a couple of ways. First, what I call retirement, really means not having to work any more financially. Despite lack of financial need to work, I will probably do some work nonetheless. Not consulting...perhaps a small web business, or working at a local yarn store, or working part-time for Liza at her fabric business (if she'd have me). During these three months, I won't be working.

Also, when I retire, there will no longer be a need for me to keep in touch with my bosses and my work network (except possibly socially). During this time off, I will still have to keep in touch with some folks, in case I'm needed. I have also said that I will continue to do a couple administrative items while I'm off, such as performance reviews and time/expense account approvals.

But other than that, I will be relaxing, knitting, blogging, reading and Thaddeus and I have a vacation scheduled in Martha's Vineyard in August.

Current Knitting
For those who didn't believe me, I really have been working on an Aran pullover. Here's the proof.



You'll note I haven't made a boatload of progress this week (or maybe you won't, since you've never seen a picture of it before). The final weeks of a work project often keep me quite busy, even in in the evenings, so being disabled by having to use a coffee stirrer for a cable needle, and having a lot of last minute cleanup to do, I didn't have a whole lot of knitting time.

But I was also able to finish another one of these.



I have a feeling these will be big sellers, so I will be making another one at one point before any craft show comes up.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Donna writes, "Although my favorite "cable" needle is a short dpn, when I need a substitute, I use a crochet hook"

I also use a five inch DPN for my cable needle. I have a bazillion of them in many different sizes, but I just didn't have one with me...nor did I have a crochet hook.

Kathy writes, "Honey baby sweetiepie, get over yourself and just knit the cables.
You don't need a cable needle. It's nothing more than repositioning the stitches that get twisted." (I left out the "grow up" part at the end)

I can cable without a needle, I just go quite a bit faster with one. Kathy certainly knows that I understand the composition of a cable transfer. If you've ever made cables on a knitting machine, it makes it even more obvious (I think). So, even with a coffee stirrer as a poor substitute, I was still able to cable faster than not using anything...especially on the 4 over 3 cables.

12 comments:

FiberQat said...

So far the folks I've talked to who have retired have found themselves busier than when they were working for someone else to make a living. But the difference is they choose to do all those things.

My favorite emergency cable needle is a paper clip, preferably vinyl covered. Thanks for the Aran p*rn pic.

Marilyn said...

Cabling on a knitting machine is usually done with a transfer tool made for that purpose, and it's pretty fast.

Retirement to me means nothing. I don't want to retire, in the sense that I would only knit or maybe teach/work at a yarn shop. I would rather do freelance writing and still make money. I don't trust the government to supply me with Social Security, either. I took a year off a while back and found that although I was able to do what I wanted, I missed the daily interaction with people.

The Aran looks good so far. I like the flow of the cables from the rib into the body. Do you have Janet Szabo's book on designing Arans? It's on my list of books to get.

ted said...

I think "practice retirement" is a very good idea, Joe.

I work with clients who can't wait to retire, and when I ask why, they give me a list of everything they won't have to put up with. That's what they're "retiring out of" or "retiring away from". But when I ask what they'll "retire into", what they'll have when they retire, many go blank. And a lot retire into boredom, and start looking around for a job of some kind.

I've watched a couple of recently-retired men self-destruct, because without the job they have no idea who they are or what they should do on a day-to-day basis. Typically, it's been worse for men than women, because men's identities have been so heavily dependent on their jobs, job titles, and workplace environments. (Women have their own set of identity traps to deal with.)

One of the things I always advise people to do is, when they're asked about their professions ("So what is it you do?"), to answer by saying what they do, rather than answering with a job title. ("I work for a company that builds computer software programs for Industry XYZ." vs "I'm a software developer.") It's surprising how it can change people's understanding of themselves, and of each other.

Long comment, sorry.

calamity rach said...

That's so foreign to me. I go much slower when I use a cable needle.

Angel said...

Joe you have infected me.
After seeing all those Boteh scarves on your blog, I bought Interweave crochet and made my own out of some Malabrigo I bought. The scarf turned out awesome, and it is an addictive project. Plus everyone who saw me working on it on the plane admired its clever design.

A big cheer to Kathy for an awesome pattern. And a big cheer to you for promoting it on your blog as that is where I saw it first.

Andy's Crafts said...

Retirement is an illusion. I have been retired for the past 4 years and I am as busy or busier than before. I just have more time to dedicate to the ones I love and to do what I love.

You will be fine!

Knit Mongrel said...

Oof. I read the words "Martha's Vineyard" and my heart skipped a beat. My dad, stepmom and little brother were year-rounders on MV for five years, and I miss it so much. The community that exists on the island once the summer folks have gone home is just stunning - so many crafters! I don't know where on the island you're staying, but I'm so incredibly jealous. I haven't been back since they left. There's a shop in Edgartown full of hand-crafted wood... I can't remember the name, but ask someone and I'm sure they'll know. Have a blast!

Kathy Merrick said...

Oh, foolish man, we kid because we care.
And thanks very much, Angel, for the lovely compliment.

Tabitha said...

After 30+ months on a software implementation, often working 70 hour weeks, I am planning to take a month off. I have had a minimal amount of vacation these past 3 years, but just prior to the project I did go to the UK for 3 weeks - the longest vacation I've ever had. Although retirement is more like 10 years off for me, it will be interesting to see what a month away from work feels like. Also, this fall the youngest will be starting college, so that's going to be quite the change. I plan to travel solo to attend a weeklong workshop, maybe doing some sightseeing along the way. I do a fair amount of travel for work, so that's no big departure. Other than that I don't have many plans yet. I'm easily distracted on the one hand, and on the other I can sit for 5 hours at a stretch intent on what I'm doing. I'm kind of concerned that I'll waste my time off flitting from thing to thing and just putzing around or that I'll have too much structure and won't fully relax. I guess a balance of the 2 will be the plan. Do you have any specific things you know you'll do?

sean said...

oh lucky you! i am sooooo ready for retirement!! me too!!!!! pick me!!

:-D have a wonderful time on the beach....

Jacquie said...

I just finished my very first year as a teacher. If summers off are any indication, retirement is going to be glorious. All of the sudden your creativity has room and TIME! You'll be surprised how soon you forget your work number.

handknitbyafailedfeminist said...

Good luck with the time off! I hope you have strong work lighting for the aran sweater. The last time I did an aran in color it really strained my eyes but I was too young and dumb to change the lighting. It put me off knitting for quite a while!