Tag Archives: career

Would I Volunteer When I Retire?

Ever since I turned 50, not a day passes that I don’t consider what I might want to do in retirement.

It is kind of funny because for the first half of my career, it was all about mentally preparing for the next work assignment and the next career step, hoping to strike to right balance between something I can be good at, something lucrative and sustainable, and something that will keep me happy.

At this stage in life, the hunt is still on, but not so much about the next career step as it is for activities I may be interested in pursuing in my next chapter.

Of course, there is no rush. As I suggested in my post about my retirement “gap year”, sleeping, recharging my batteries and writing for the fun of it will be my top activities in that first year. But at the same time, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking note of the activities that make me happy and which hold particular meaning to me.

Volunteering is one of those activities.

Much like with one’s career, I think it is very important to pitch in not only where the need exists but also to volunteer for causes that are close to one’s heart. In doing so, the time spent volunteering should be more fun and energizing rather than draining.

This is what I tried to explain to my dad many moons ago, when he objected to my volunteering just as I was launching my career. In retrospect, I certainly understand his point of view in that it was important to focus my full energy to my burgeoning career. But early on, there were days that I felt that my job was not tapping into my full potential, especially from a creative perspective.
That is why I was looking for other outlets. Continue reading

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Filed under 50+, Cats, Inspiring

Would I Come Back As a Contractor?

Revolving DoorAs the countdown to retirement marches on, surprisingly, the question of whether I would consider coming back as a contract employee comes up at least once per month. The question always makes me smile.

Given that retirement for me is still a few years away, I find the best answer to the contracting question is something along the lines of “Thanks for the vote of confidence! We’ll see when the time comes.”

First and foremost, I take it as an amazing compliment. I know I worked very hard to build a solid career based on quality work, strong ethics, working well with colleagues and maintaining a positive attitude. To me, the contractor question is one that fills me with validation and gratitude.

Over the years I have seen many of my colleagues retire and then come back a few years later for short contracts, sharing their vast corporate knowledge and expertise. It is always a pleasant surprise to see their smiling faces and renewed energy at meetings. Parenthetically, I wish they would stop looking so darn refreshed after a few years away from the office. It makes me very envious!

However, I think it is very natural to dream and fantasize about a time when I can truly reap the rewards of a retirement that I worked a lifetime to build. I look forward to the sense of complete freedom where going to bed promptly, getting up with the alarm, dealing with traffic, and commuting in heavy snow or freezing rain become optional. I look forward to having choices I can make, purely in the moment.

To me, my first priority when I decide it is time to retire is to do just that: enjoy the fruits of my labour: Continue reading

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Top 10 Signs That Game Shows Were My Calling

My high school years were filled with multiple visits to the guidance counselor… I guess I needed a lot of guidance. I fondly remember those chats and the several tests I did to try to find out what I might want to be when I grew up.

This was me in 2007, rehearsing for my Swedish final exam, a grocery pricing game using IKEA products.

This was me in 2007, rehearsing for my Swedish final exam, hosting a grocery pricing game using IKEA products.

Several of the tests seemed to point to the same conclusion: an actuary. Once I had looked it up in the dictionary to figure out what that was, it made sense given my affinity for numbers. But for some reason, it didn’t quite resonate with me.

I have no regrets whatsoever for the path I ended up taking and where I am today. It has been a very satisfying career. But I often wonder why the suggestion of a career in game shows never made it in the dialogue with the guidance counselor.

Let’s face it, the signs were already there as I spent most of the 1970’s watching every game show made. But even today, there are still signs I may have missed my calling.

Here they are: The Top 10 signs that game shows were my calling… and we missed it!

10- I have a playlist of game show theme songs and game show background music on my iPod… and it gets played regularly;

9- I don’t just open curtains, I pull them apart with a flourish, just like the big reveals on Let’s Make a Deal;

8- I can’t just say “yes”, it’s usually an emphatic “You’re aaaabsolutely right!”. Similarly, “no” is often replaced by “Ohhh, I’m sooo sorry”;

7- When I climb a staircase with my suitcase in hand, the Deal or No Deal theme often comes to mind;

6- The last time I did a full day of management testing, I couldn’t help thinking that the activities were like reality show challenges;

5- I still can’t open a combination lock without hearing The Price is Right’s Safe Crackers theme in my head;

4- I still use the expression “phone a friend” at least once a month;

3- I still say “final answer” at least a few times per week;

2- In brainstorming sessions, I can often be found enthusiastically clapping my hands and exclaiming “Good answer! Good answer!”

1- I love walking through multi-panel doors like on certain elevators or in shopping malls… they are just like the ones on The Price is Right. It’s too bad it doesn’t generate the same amount of applause when I walk through.

And a bonus for my Québécois friends: Quand un ami (un peu plus jeune que moi) me donne une réponse favorable, souvent je répondrai: “Deux morceaux de robot”!

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, please know that there are plenty more where that came from! If you haven’t already, you can check out the rest of my blog at andrebegin.net. From there, you can click on the “Follow” button to receive future posts directly in your inbox.
Also, don’t be shy, feel free to tell a friend or to share the link.
Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,
André

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Top 10 Things I Wanted To Be When I Grew Up

Getting_Older

I would like to think that my parents did a good job in raising me, providing all the positive reinforcement a young boy needs, including the popular statement from page 826, paragraph 7f, of the parenting handbook, “Honey, when you grow up, you can be anything you want to be”.

How’s that for a torturous open-ended statement for Libra child, facing a lifetime of weighing the pros and the cons of career planning? No pressure there!

Fortunately, life deals us a variety of hands that help shape that wide, open-ended statement into something that gradually narrows into what might seem like a career path. Factors like interest, talent, perseverance and perhaps even things like eye-hand coordination (or lack thereof) gradually eliminate a few options, bit by bit, without really trying too hard.

It is clear that hockey player, pro golfer and baseball player were never on the table for me. When it came to natural affinity, I don’t think I was cut out to be a scientist since Physics was one of my worst subjects.

However, I did inherit (if one can actually inherit these) a head for numbers from my Dad and an affinity for creativity and language from my Mom so I was indeed lucky with the doors that were open to me.

Here they are: The Top 10 Things I Wanted to Be When I Grew Up

10 – An elevator operator
Yes, I am of a vintage that remembers a time when people were hired to drive elevators. The elevators of yesteryear were not fully automated like today, as the doors needed a human to open and close them. I remember visits to a big downtown department store when I was very young and thought driving an elevator all day would be the coolest thing and that the people operating them had the coolest job EVER! I admit that I was also impressed by the very smart elevator operator uniforms. Unfortunately the fully automated elevator came in shortly thereafter and dashed those dreams… darn technology!

9 – A dentist
This one lasted for a LONG time and I believe it was inspired from Hermey, the elf in the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas Special on television. I remember my Grade 7 composition on “What I Want To Be When I Grow Up” was indeed on the theme of dentistry. To prepare for that composition I spent a few afternoons at the library reading everything available on the topic. The research was hard core (well, about as hard core and scientific as a 12 year old’s research can get) and I knocked that composition out of the park. However, I spent so much time in the orthodontist’s chair in my teens getting my bottom teeth straightened, I lost interest.

8 – A corporate trainer
As an adult, I am very fortunate in not being prone to much “stage fright” when it comes to public speaking. That being the case, when I Continue reading

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