From Fire Inspector to What?

by Brian
(WI)

I worked for 25 years as a Fire Inspector for a community of 70,000.00. With significant public responsibility and identity.


I was planning on retiring within the year however was unfairly positioned for a forced retirement this last week. I never even got closure with all my contacts for 25 years. It almost feels that my world was stripped way from me.

My wife and I have been very blessed, I am confident that my state pension and financial.portfolio, which includes no debt. owning a home and condo and significant savings has preped us well for retirement I am just having a difficult time already with the loss of my identity.

We are blessed that my wife has aways been a stay at home wife, so we are now already retired together. Sheri is 48 I am 51. Even though I had to leave about 8 months early, which impacted my financial goals some, I believe we are still very well fiancionally positioned. I am very disappointed that this has actually created anxiety and depression in the first week.

I guess I allowed my work over the years to create the person I was, and now it seems like that person has been stripped away.

Do you have any suggestions that you can offer me so that I can appreciate the fact that I am in a position that many individuals

at our young ages would love to be in our situation not having to work and simply enjoy life together. If have any suggestions that you can offer Sheri and I and if you know of a pen pal that I could connect with with a similar forced early retirement situation please let me know.

I would so much appreciate it.

Thank You so much.
Brian <><+

Comments for From Fire Inspector to What?

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From Fire Inspector to What?
by: Leigh

Through your words I can feel your pain, but I can also feel your hope and desire to move forward.

It's unfortunate that so many jobs are ruled by politics and greed instead of loyalty, job performance and experience. We have become a disposable society. Politically it's less expensive to hire someone young and pay them half of what you are making after 25 yrs., and that becomes their justification. It seems the way of the world now.

It takes time to grieve the loss of a job you loved and the plans you made for your retirement pulled out from under you.

If there is only one thing I can impart, it's that you are NOT your job. As much as you identified with your job, it was still JUST a job.

We seem to all get caught upwith the idea that our job is our identity, they're not. People change careers mid-life all the time. Our self worth comes from doing whatever we do well and taking pride in its accomplishment.

My husband has not retired yet, he is older than you, but he has been faced with the "forced retirement" issue for years. I agree that you are in a blessed financial position, and that you have each other to lean on, that of itself great.

You would probably be a wonderful mentor with something like Big Brothers or even using your experience (life, job or otherwise) to teach others.
Again, give yourself a little time, it really does help with moving on.

Time offers a better perspective.

Thank You
by: Brian

What a great group of friends.
Thank You for such great advice.
Brain
<><+

Thank You
by: Brian

I want to thank everyone for responding to my post. I feel very blessed that I have received such great advice, compassion and understanding from such great friends that I have never even met.

It is so reassuring to hear from individuals that have been there, knowing that sometime I will beable to provide positive encouragement also, for those in need.
Brian
<><+

I agree with Wendy
by: Nancy

51 is too young to retire, at least it was for me. I started a new job at 51 and another new job at 58, and like you, it was out of necessity that I left my previous jobs.

My husband retired at age 55. He worked for the highway department and could no longer tolerate getting out in the middle of the night to clear roads in snow. He started a part-time business mowing yards for people. He never planned to retire fully at first.

You have a lot of skills and could find something, I'm sure, if you want to. Of course, this is your decision.

When I retired at age 62 almost 63, had a hard time adjusting. Everybody knew what was best for me and had "useful" advice (sarcasm intended). What I wanted was my old job back which wasn't going to happen and which wasn't best for me anyway. I was "just" grieving over my career. And that is a huge thing, losing your career and your identity.

Wendy is right, you need to allow yourself time to grieve and do it in your own way. As for your wife being 48, this isn't intended as advice, but when I started my last job, there was a lady who started the same job in another part of the state. She was 48 and had been a stay at home mom until then.

Hope this does not sound like advice giving.

This is a great website and you will get lots of help here. This website saved me when I found it. Literally.

Identity Crisis
by: Mark, Cambridge MD

Hi Brian,

First know that most people your age would literally kill for the opportunity you have. I retired at age 60 after some significant health problems but it truly has been the best decision I have ever made.

Americans seem to uniquely define themselves by what they do as opposed to what kind of person they really are. So if you find yourself at a party now and someone you don't know asks what you "do," tell them you are an explorer and watch their reaction. It is so much more interesting than almost apologetically replying, "I'm retired."

Then by way of further explanation tell them you now explore all those incredibly interesting and challenging activities you never had the time for when you worked full time. And you and your wife now have the perfect opportunity to actually do it.

You are indeed blessed my friend!

Give yourself a little time to process
by: Leigh

Through your words I can feel your pain, but I can also feel your hope and desire to move forward.

It's unfortunate that so many jobs are ruled by
politics and greed instead of loyalty, job performance and experience. We have become a disposable society. Politically it's less expensive to hire someone young and pay them half of what you are making after 25 yrs., and that becomes their justification. It seems the way of the world now.

It takes time to grieve the loss of a job you loved and the plans you made for your retirement pulled out from under you.

If there is only one thing I can impart,it's that you are NOT your job. As much as you identified with your job, it was still JUST a job.

We seem to all get caught up and feel as though our jobs are our identity, they're not. People change careers mid-life all the time. Our self worth comes from doing whatever we do well and taking pride in it's accomplishment.

My husband has not retired yet, he is older than you, but he has been faced with the "forced retirement" issue for years.

I agree that you are in a blessed financial position, you have each other to lean on and that, in itself is great. You would probably be a wonderful mentor with something like Big Brothers or even using your experience to teach others.

Again, give yourself a little time, it really does help with moving on.

Retired at 51!
by: Dean

I feel for your loss of identity. I know that it is something that happens to some people. 51 seems way too young to retire.

Thinking back on my career I just started a new job, built a new house and had two kids in college when I was 51. However, if you are financially able to do that then more power to you.

If you are truly ready to retire then there are tons of volunteer opportunities out there for you.

Who knows? Maybe you will re-invent yourself!

Good luck!

This is a challenge....
by: Wendy

First, many are forced out (layoffs, downsizing, disability) without financial resources.. but you already realize you are really fortunate there. The media is full of the financial aspects of retirement -- but the psychological remains.

Brian, YOU and only YOU can figure it out. I can help you, guide you through the maze, as a Retirement Coach, but its really you that needs to take it step by step.

Even if you had worked through retirement and voluntarily retired, I would bet you'd feel the same loss of identity and emptiness. It happens... especially to those who are so invested in their jobs, as we both were. a speaker at my Pre-Retirement Planning workshops, years ago, always told attendees to give themselves time to grieve.

Give yourself some time, join a gym and do lunches OUT with the wife or guys you worked with. Just get OUT of the house some... sooo important!

Let your mind play with the possibilities on your next move. At 51, you really can't retire-retire... you need fulfillment in life, you need some responsibility and to help people as you've always done. You can work part-time, you can volunteer or contract your services out, or you might build a small home based business.

Maybe you start a website for Fire Inspectors, or for homeowners on what to look for, continue on with your career knowledge and share it with the world, in some manner, like I did with retirement-online. OR maybe you have a hobby or interest that you and the wife share and you both might work on a site together. (just a side, I am attending a conference in Atlanta, 3rd weekend in March... you'd learn so much there on online business. Maybe you and your wife should consider attending? It would certainly open your eyes to the possibilities online.)

Maybe you open a small franchise like windshield repair, something that you don't have to do full time. OR start a snow removal/grass cutting business, and hire students to do the work... you would do the community stuff and sell your services, as you've always done.

It looks dark now, I know... been there, done that. BUT I can assure you it does get better. You just need some time away from them.... to let your body slow down a bit, get some peace and contentment in your mind. It feels sooo good!

Finally -- 1) join my newsletter so you get updates from my site. You'll see plenty of stories like yours, and also read the many comments people get. It's awesome to know you are not alone. http://www.retirement-online.com/free-retirement-newsletter.html

2) Pen Pals: join the retirement community (right column of site). Lots of retirees to chat with there.

3) I just published a book, quick read, if interested. Go to Amazon and search for Retirement Planning: Ready to Retire?

4) My newer site is for boomers seeking Home Biz... www.justbusinessideas.com -- you can read about Online businesses, or look for other ideas. Search on the site for NAMS -- the workshop is what I am attending next month, and NAMS Insiders, I just love. Have grown so much online due to their help... and yet, I am called the Butt Kicker there! :) Too funny. I love encouraging people to grow!

Hope this helps some... I wrote too much!

Best Wishes! Wendy

p.s. will add this to the site, no last name, so that others can comment back to you and you'll get more feedback.

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