Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Opportunities of Early Retirement

When I retired as an elementary school librarian in December, I was looking forward to leisurely days of reading, gardening, learning and writing of all my experiences. I wanted to sit by the wood stove with a cup of hot chocolate and watch the snowfall.

 I intended to continue working 19 hours a week at a public library, handling social media,writing newsletters and creating adult programs, but in no way did I imagine I would be doing what I am now:

  • Working almost full time at the public library, informally supervising teen and children's programs, and being an event coordinator, in addition to my other responsibilities;
  • Teaching short-term classes in technology at the adult education center;
  • Teaching productivity software professional development at a Fortune 500 company; and
  • Creating or revising courses for online teacher professional development.
I have a couple additional projects (job opportunities)on the horizon, and I have been nominated as secretary of our state library association.

While I didn't plan on any of this, I am extremely excited about all the opportunities that have come my way. It has been interesting viewing librarianship and teaching through these different lenses.  I am very proud to see that my degree and skills are indeed marketable in other areas than the school library.  It is gratifying that my curiousity about all other work experiences are being sated.

By doing this,  my growth as an information professional continues. Professional growth should be an ongoing goal for all of us. I believe these opportunities have opened up for me because of my ongoing professional development experiences.

To my colleagues contemplating retirement, I would say that other opportunities are available, if you so desire, but to be offered these experiences and opportunities, one must step out of his comfort zone and be seen and heard as an information professional, a change agent and a leader in your present position.

One has to believe that his professional opinions have value. One must articulate these opinions and take the lead in negotiating change. Choosing to be a leader opens many doors of opportunity.

As a colleague told me, don't wait to be asked to the table.  Grab a chair and sit down. Get your name out there.

As a school librarian, I did not advocate to call attention to myself.  I advocated for best practices in school libraries and for equality among the counties in my state.  I would like to think this is what got me noticed.

Probably in three to five years I will really retire.  In the meantime, I am learning more everyday and enjoying these opportunities.  If the snow falls heavy one day, I most likely will have the flexibility to sit by the fire and enjoy that hot chocolate.  I hope you can, too.

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