Thursday, February 26, 2009

A perfect time to retire

So today I retired from the grant writing job I've held for the past three years.

This is the third time I've faded into retirement. The first two times, it didn't take. In fact, I've always been much better at working than retiring. I don't play golf or do leatherwork or putter around out in the shop like retirees are supposed to do.

What does it mean, for example, to putter around? Is this something you do with a golf putter or do you go around making motor sounds with your lips, like bddn, bddn, bddn? I just don't get it, to tell the truth.

Anyway, the two times I've tried to retire before, I got bored with retirement fairly quickly. I read the books I wanted to read, listened to the music I wanted to hear, cleaned the garage, walked myself back into shape. And then, the inevitable happed. I started reading the help-wanted ads -- just to see what was out there, I told myself. But before long I was back at it, chasing jobs.

And of course, before long I was back in the game, being productive, innovative, creative, all the things I've always been good at.

This time, though, it feels different. The tanking economy has made grant writing even more of a challenge than it used to be. Thanks to Bernie Madoff, Wall Street and the housing market, there's considerably less foundation money out there. And with so many people out of work, facing foreclosure, hunger and all the other social ills around these days, the competition among nonprofits for what's left is incredible.

And to tell the truth, I am sick of writing grant proposals. I used to be a newspaper reporter, and I got sick of that too after about 25 years. You do anything long enough, and you'll burn out on it. Even these blogs. Right now I enjoy it enough, but in a few years it could get old.

So I hung it up today as a nonprofit employee. Instead, starting Monday, I'm going back to work as a volunteer. Same nonprofit, same job -- just a new attitude.

We'll see how that works out.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what it means to 'retire'. Wasn't it Alvin Toffler who said that we would have many careers throughout our lives? You have left one arena to travel to another. Don't worry about whether or not to put 'putter' on your resume.
Congratulations on making a decision to move on to the next adventure.

Leslie said...

Congratulations on your latest retirement. May your volunteer work bring you joy.

Marnie said...

You're free to volunteer for whatever you want to work at. When you get bored with that volunteer work, move on to the next and the next and the next and so on. You won't have a deadline so you can move at your own pace. If deadlines exist, then skip that one and go to the next. Your blog was quite interesting and, by the way, don't get burned on blogs - you write one heck of a blog!