View Full Version : work and or retirement decisions

3-14-11, 1:12pm
I am faced with making a hard decision and thought some objective input from fellow simpletons might shed some light on things. I have worked for the state for 15 years and will qualify for full pension in about 10 years at the age of 66. A few months back, I and a few others on our team were asked to move to windowless offices far removed from the core offices. I have never had to deal with that situation before and it is driving me over the edge to be in a small room by myself with little social contact day after day. It is affecting my sleep, personality, marriage, you name it...I have applied for other positions at the university where I work but so far have only had one really good interview. I will continue to apply. So, I have come up with a couple of options. Take early retirement (about $600 a month plus health coverage) and try to find something in the private sector, go to 20 hours where I am with reduced pay and benefit coverage at retirement, or see if my boss will let me telecommute one or two days a week (not likely). Or grin and bear it since many folks of my age would be happy just to have a job. What would you do in this situation?

3-14-11, 1:42pm
Anything you can do to make more social contact? Get out of your office and make the rounds occasionally?

Of you could talk to the boss, I mean assuming your still on good terms with the boss and they still like your work (and frankly in some situations even if you are not), maybe explaining the situation to him could lead to some changes?

3-14-11, 3:57pm
Hold on as best as you can. Crunch your numbers to see what you need to get by with or without full pension. Meanwhile, investigate the labor market to see what other income you can come across. Start developing outside interests that get you the social contact you crave, to start re-balancing your life again.

My suspicion is, if you are not already a job hopper, you are not likely to start being a successful one now.

3-14-11, 5:23pm
The question is.... how much of a difference in pension between now and 10 years? If it is just a matter of the pension.. if the difference is just a few thousand you could work to make that now. If, however, you need the salary you make now... ?

3-14-11, 5:32pm
Grin and bear it. I have worked in such offices most of my career. One office in particular was in the interior of the building with nothing but two doors in the walls. I made the best of it and now have retired with 35 years.

Make sure you have enough light, items to enjoy at your desk, and you get out for breaks and lunch. Perhaps continue to apply for new jobs. I did that and got a job closer to the windows so I at least could get up and walk over to look out.

At 56, job hunting is harder, if not impossible, in this new economy.

3-14-11, 5:38pm
Boy, a lot of questions to ask yourself:

1) Are you out of debt?
2) How much do you need a month to live on?
3) What skills do you have to enable you to move over to the private sector?
4) What do you value?
5) Do you have a lot of responsibilities? (kids, parents, etc.)

I'm thinking I wouldn't move until you are pretty certain you can get something. I do know how crummy it is to be in a concrete cell all day--been there done that. But you have to look at the big picture.

I consider myself to be unlike most of my peers in that a) I have very little savings b) I won't stand for a work situation that is making me unhappy. c) today I have enough so who cares about tomorrow.

But what's good for me is probably not good for most. However, I would answer some tough questions as honestly as possible, and not let a possibly temporary situation derail your future.

3-15-11, 8:06am
How about putting up a poster or large picture in your cubbie that symbolizes the goal that you are working towards... I am literally scared _____ about losing my job too soon so I'm pretty big on keeping the job you have. I'll be 59 next month.

3-15-11, 5:00pm
I have four lamps in my windowless office, pictures of natural scenes, mirrors, everything I can think of to brighten it up. I take two walks a day and also make the rounds of the building to visit with other staffers when I have the time. I will continue to mull through all my options. My goal is to get out of this room within six weeks so that gives even more motivation to initiate change. I was perfectly content when I had a windowed office and never gave leaving much of a thought...who would have thought something so little could make such a dramatic difference.

3-16-11, 9:38am
I read a study within the last year that said that plants elevate the mood of office workers more than windows! I took it to heart and surrounded myself with plants at the office. I've got 11! Wouldn't say the boss likes it, but I sure do!

If I were you, I'd grin and bear it. There may be a more positive change down the road, you don't know. Can you get to see other people at coffee breaks? Is there a way to detour around to visit people on your way in or out of work in the morning/afternoon? Can you get out at lunch time and walk somewhere that there are people? Or find a walking partner or lunch partner?

Good luck!

3-18-11, 3:59am
I would say grin and bear it - it gets somewhat more bearable in time though you may never enjoy it. Plus, you never know but that down the road they may move you again. Or maybe you can ask for an opportunity to move when someone leaves and vacates a spot, etc.

I envy you the opportunity to bring lamps and mirrors and plants - would be huge "no" in my office. They are very strict.

3-18-11, 9:29am
There are actually many wonderful things about my job situation - I was given a $500 decorating allowance by the boss but thus far have only spent a small fraction as I don't want to have him think I want to be "settled" in this space. I have decided to put myself on his calendar for a discussion next week. Here is my offer: I currently work four days (34 hrs) a week. I am going to ask for three days in office and one day telecommute or stay at four days in office and add one day telecommute for full time (40) hours. At 40 hours, my healthcare premium is paid entirely and I would also receive longevity pay which I miss out on by working part-time. I think I could tolerate the windowless room if I got the full time benefits of doing 40 hours. He loves to negotiate so I hope to turn this situation into a positive. We'll see...