Three Year Retirement Performance Review

Ok, so I am now “retired” for three years and I have not had a formal performance review.  If I were working in my full time job, I would probably be writing performance reviews this weekend.  I might have been one of the few people who actually enjoyed writing performance reviews because I viewed it as an opportunity to show appreciation for hard work and a job well done, to help develop people, and to give feedback that would be valuable for course corrections.

In the spirit of annual performance reviews, I am going to do a three year retirement review on myself.  Of course, I will be totally objective.

A good place to start is with my job description.  I had done extensive journaling (essentially a pre-retirement prayer journal) prior to my retirement in an attempt to follow God’s path for me and to establish a framework for how I would spend my time.  My belief is that I would have three basic buckets:  1)  Intellectual engagement activities, 2) Giving back/volunteer activities, and 3)Family care and personal care.  These three buckets are the closest thing that I have to a job description.

I attempted to determine what percentage of my time I would spend in each of these three buckets.  Like a lot of job descriptions, I believe these percentages ended up being a wild guess.  I thought, maybe one-third for each bucket.  I believe as I sit here at my computer that it has ended up being 25/50/25.  In the world of job descriptions, that is near-perfection relative to the initial wild guess.

Here is where it gets weird.  If my math is correct, a 7 day week contains 168 hours.  When you work a full time job, you think in terms of maybe a 40, 50, 60 or some other level of work hours in a week, and the job description is likely based on a 40 hour workweek, which may or may not be realistic.  But in this “retirement” phase, you think of percentages more in the context of waking hours.  More math then.  So, let’s say 8 hours sleep per night, means that waking hours are 112 per week. This is kind of how I think of my bucket percentages, in terms of this baseline waking hours.  Let’s be clear, I only have to wear a tie about 15 days a year now, so time spent getting that knot perfectly aligned with my collar is more available time.  Time spent commuting or in airports is now more available time.

Enough with the math.  Here is my review:  I am giving myself an A on my intellectual engagement bucket – I am on 3 boards and chair 2 committee’s and I really enjoy that opportunity for intellectual engagement and my unbiased opinion is that I am good at it.  My development opportunity is to continue to carve out time for regular continuing education (which I also enjoy).  On the Giving Back/Volunteer bucket, I give myself a B.  The reason for the B is this – most of my volunteer work is emotionally draining (e.g. working with cancer patients, often within a day or two of their diagnosis).  This work is very satisfying for me, but I am literally “on call” for a lot of this work with very little structure to the day or week by it’s very nature.  Maybe I have to take myself “off call” for periods of time, not sure.  The third bucket is Family Care/Personal Care and I give myself a B+.  Most of this has gone well, but I would like to find a little better balance on the personal care side.  I work out 6 days a week (3 with a trainer at a pretty high level), so that is a good grade, but my nutrition is not what it should be .  Starting Monday, I am going on a customized nutrition plan.  It is always good to have an “opportunity for improvement” category in your performance review where you have already taken action on it at the time of your review.

On the basis of this review, I am going to give myself permission to eat a serving of dark chocolate/peanut butter today (it is in my nutrition plan), take a nap, and do some calculations to see what my merit pay increase should be.


A Boomer In Transition

The Nursing Home

My Dad is in hospice at a nursing home and each week I spend time with him.  The first couple of times I went there it seemed really depressing.  It is.  Yet, I have come to appreciate the people who are gifted in working with elderly people in the last days, weeks and months of their life.  In addition to being a physically demanding job, the emotional toll may even be higher.  I am thankful that there are people who are willing to make this job their calling, and who do it with compassion, respect and diligence.

I have also experienced some significant belly laughs at the nursing home.  Amidst this environment that I described, things happen and words are spoken that fiction writers would never be able to create in their minds.  In order to protect the innocent, I am not going to get into specifics, but if you spend more than 8 hours in a nursing home, you will know what I mean.

Yesterday I experienced once of the most profound physical acts of compassion and understanding I have ever seen and it was between two residents.  My Dad has always been very social and extroverted.  He likes to be around people and see what is going on.  On my visit yesterday, he was having a tough day and it was difficult to get him awake enough to even know I was there.  So, I decided to get him around more people and started wheeling him all over the nursing home.  After a few minutes of this, we came across two nursing assistants trying to feed a resident who is in a very similar stage of health as my Dad.  My Dad has known this resident for years and now neither one of them can even verbalize a greeting.  As we were wheeling past, my Dad and this resident both simultaneously reached out their hands for each other and held each other for several seconds.  I think they both realized they are in about the same condition in this life and wanted to provide some comfort to each other (I spend most of my time in the nursing home holding my Dad’s hand as I know it provides comfort to him).

Amidst a place that few people aspire to spend much (or any) time, there can be great joy, compassion and understanding.  One of my favorite verses is Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.”


A Boomer (now 3 years )In Transition