Monday, July 17, 2017

A Funny Thing Happened On My Way Through IBM - Retirement

"If you work for a living, why do you kill yourself working?" - Tuco the Ugly

I was 43 years old when I joined IBM back in July 2000. Having already worked full-time for 25 years I had worked only 1 job exceeding 5 years of continuous employment. You see, I get bored easily and so my singular goal when I walked into IBM on July 31, 2000 was to stay at least 5 years before seeking my next "green pasture". To turn the words and paraphrase an old adage, retirement was the rest of my career history.

 Simply put, as I progressed through my nearly 17 year career at IBM, I realized that there was profound truth in the immortal words spoken by Tuco the Ugly in, "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly". In large part, I was truly blessed to be able to retire at age 60 thanks to the grace of God and my employment at IBM. In that time I worked 8 different jobs, traveled the world nearly 3 million miles through the air, lived briefly in Dubai and in Brazil, and most importantly, met literally thousands of wonderful, exceptionally talented people that made the journey both bearable and worthwhile. In the end, I chose my retirement early because I was "killing" myself working. Frankly, I was not curing cancer, nor any other significantly noble pursuit. 

Tuco the Ugly
In most of the world outside of America I have seen first-hand (especially in Italy, Spain and Portugal) that people work to live, while most Americans live to work. These differences are diametrically opposed to one another and provide a compelling argument for your evaluation and thoughtful consideration for personal change. I have now learned that life is meant to be full of meaningful experiences versus the acquisition of stuff. Life IS short and the older one gets, the shorter the runway of life stretches (thank you Captain Obvious!).

Reality Check: Sadly, I know the truth is that a large majority of Americans (all humans really) cannot retire now, nor maybe ever. But I do know this, it is never too late to change one's trajectory if one truly desires a different path. Today, may I implore you to:

  • Protect first yourself and your family's health and well being
  • Help those in need, starting with yourself
  • STOP living to and for work
  • Remember that NO job should EVER be your first priority
  • Fervently plan for YOUR better future including retirement before death
  • Want less, need less - Give more, love more
“You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.” 
-- Vernon Howard (1918)  

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